Everyone loves the sight of cheerful birds fluttering between the plants in your garden. For maximum bird appeal, try adding some of the plants we’ve listed here, choosing ones that offer something to birds at different seasons so your garden will be a year-round bird destination.
Plants You Can Grow to Attract Birds
1. Aster (Symphotrichum)
Birds love to feast on the seeds of aster flowers. These relatives of the sunflower produce blooms similar to daisies in shades of blue, pink, purple, and white. Learn more in our article How to Grow Asters.
2. Birch Trees (Betula)
Birds are attracted to the seeds and buds of birch trees, but that isn’t where their wildlife appeal ends. Beneficial insects of all kinds tend to take up residence in the white, peeling bark, and the leaves bring in flocks of pollinating moths and butterflies.
Learn more at the USDA Forest Service article How to Grow and Maintain a Healthy Birch Tree.
3. Blackberry (Rubus)
The rambling brambles of blackberry bushes provide convenient housing for local birds, and the plants tend to entice beneficial insects to come by the garden as well. Just be aware that your family may be sharing part of the tasty harvest with your feathered friends.
Learn more in our article How to Grow Blackberries.
4. Black-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta)
These wildflowers resemble sunny yellow daisies with black centers that offer high contrast. The seeds that come from the center of the flowers furnish an attractive food source for birds once the blooms are spent.
Learn more in our article How to Grow Black-Eyed Susans.
5. Cherries (Prunus avium)
In addition to providing food for the caterpillars that will transform into vitally important pollinators, cherry plants also offer a feast for your neighborhood birds. Try to find a variety of cherries that is native to your area to bring in the most birds, since they’ll already be familiar with the fruits as a food source.
Learn more in our article How to Grow Cherry Trees from Pits.
6. Coneflower (Echinacea)
The centers of coneflowers are stacked with seeds that birds find tasty enough to visit over and over. Not only will these flowers draw in lots of birds for you to watch—the blossoms make a long-lasting display in the garden and are used in herbal medicine as well, so you’ll benefit from them, too.
Learn more in our article How to Grow Echinacea (Coneflowers).
7. Cornflower (Centaurea cyanus)
While you enjoy the sight of these cyan-colored blooms throughout the garden, the plants will be giving birds something to enjoy as well. They don’t only feed on the seeds—birds also eat the foliage, nectar, pollen, and sap of these plants, as do helpful pollinators like bees and butterflies.
Learn more in our article How to Grow Cornflowers.
8. Daisy (Bellis perennis)
A stand of daisies in the garden makes a cheerful sight throughout the spring and summer months. Your yard will be cheered even further by the birds that are drawn to the seeds of the daisies, which are an important food source for species like cardinals, finches, and sparrows in the winter.
Learn more in our article How to Grow Common Daisy Flowers (English Daisy, Bellis perennis).
9. Dogwood Tree (Cornus florida)
When dogwood trees are in bloom, they’ll attract flocks of fluttering pollinator insects. In fall, the trees produce berries that bring in crowds of birds. If you can find a dogwood that’s local to your area, you’ll have even more of a draw on the local wildlife.
Learn more in our article How to Grow Dogwood Trees.
10. Elderberry (Sambucus canadensis)
The striking, colorful berries of the elderberry shrub are an enticing treat for birds like vireos and brown thrashers, while the blossoms attract beneficial insects. If you want any fruit for your family, you’ll have to compete with the birds for it.
Learn more at the Missouri Botanical Garden profile on elderberry.
11. Holly Tree (Ilex)
These evergreen trees are a valuable source of shelter all year round, so smart birds are known to nest in them year after year. In the late fall and winter, the ripe red berries offer a food source for birds that prefer to visit instead of move in. Note that while birds enjoy eating holly berries, they’re toxic to humans and our pets.
12. Juniper Shrub or Tree (Juniperus)
The berries of juniper shrubs and trees are a proven way to entice birds to flit by your yard. Because they’re evergreen, the branches also provide protective cover or a source of shelter that the birds can access all year long.
Learn more in our article How to Grow Juniper (Juniperus).
13. Marigold (Tagetes)
Get the best of both worlds with marigolds in the garden: although these blooms are known for repelling insects that can harm your plants, the seeds invite birds to fly by for a snack. Be aware that grackles and crows like to rip up the blooms, however, which can prevent some from ever going to seed.
Learn more in our article How to Grow Marigolds.
14. Mulberry Tree (Morus)
Springtime blossoms will draw in clouds of pollinators to benefit the entire garden. Then, in summer, the flowers will give way to fruit, which brings birds by to take advantage of the free meal.
Learn more in our article How to Grow Mulberry Trees.
15. Oak Trees (Quercus)
Birds aren’t the only wildlife that appreciate the resources oak trees have to offer. Your yard is bound to see an uptick in animals like squirrels and chipmunks as well, which love to feast on the acorns and find shelter in the tree branches.
Learn more at the Mississippi State Extension article Growing Your Own Oak Seedlings.
16. Raspberry (Rubus idaeus)
The thorns of raspberry brambles make them a self-defending habitat for birds to make their own. Not only will birds use the bushes as cover or shelter, they’ll also feed on the sweet berries in the summertime.
17. Shadbush/Serviceberry (Amelanchier)
These small trees and shrubs are some of the most impressive options when it comes to plants that will bring in birds and other wildlife. Not only do the birds come in to partake from the flavorful berries—they use the folaige as cover or shelter, and many pollinators are attracted to the blooms as well.
Learn more at the Piedmont Master Gardeners profile on serviceberry.
18. Staghorn Sumac (Rhus typhina)
You’ll love the striking scarlet spires of the blooms on the staghorn sumac shrub. The neighborhood cardinals, catbirds, chickadees, robins, thrushes, and starlings will love the fruit it produces in fall and winter.
Learn more at the Missouri Botanical Garden profile on staghorn sumac.
19. Sunflower (Helianthus)
When the heads of your sunflower blossoms hang heavy with seeds after the flowers have faded, they’re a compelling source of food for local birds. Sit back and watch as birds and squirrels feast on the huge amount of seeds these flowers produce.
Learn more in our article How to Grow Sunflowers.
Whenever you grow plants that birds enjoy, whether they find shelter in the foliage and branches to build their nests or stop by for a visit to feed on berries and other fruit, you get to enjoy seeing birds in your garden more often. The real bonus is that most of these plants that are so attractive to birds are attractive to pollinators as well, so there’s no reason not to add several of these to your yard and see just how enticing they can be to the wildlife in your area.