Planting for birds and butterflies

Get our list of the flowers and creature comforts winged visitors love most

Plants for birds and butterflies
Photo: Bob Wigand

Winged wildlife look for the same things in a garden that people seek in a B&B: good food and drink, a bath, and a cozy place to bed down for the night. Provide these amenities, and birds and butterflies will flock to your garden ― perhaps even stay awhile.

This happened quickly for Steve and Donna Brigham, who installed a new half-acre demonstration garden for butterflies and hummingbirds at their nursery, Buena Creek Gardens. They chose nectar-rich flowering plants. And they added birdbaths, and shrubs to provide cover. The garden was barely finished before wildlife started checking in; within a few months, each day saw a full house.

To create your own backyard wildlife B&B, set out some of the plants listed below, then provide a few creature comforts.

Next: Hummingbird plants

 
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    An orange fritillary alights on Adenophora.

  • Plants for birds and butterflies

     

    Rose-red alstroemeria, orange butterfly weed, golden columbine, and, at rear, cape honeysuckle brighten the wildlife garden at Buena Creek Gardens.

  • Dahlias

    Plant Finder

    The Sunset Plant Finder helps you choose the right flowers and plants for your climate and gardening style

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