Planting for birds and butterflies

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

Garden attractions
Photo: Bob Wigand


Abutilon hybrids. Evergreen shrubs with aromatic foliage. Bell-shaped blooms of white, yellow, pink, and red peak in spring among broad, maplelike leaves. Sun; part shade in hottest climates. Sunset climate zones 8, 9, 12-24, H1, H2.

Agastache. Perennial. Whorls of pink, purple, blue, red, or orange flowers in spikelike clusters in summer. Sun or part shade. Zones vary by species.

Alstroemeria hybrids. Evergreen perennials. Pink, purple, orange, or white flowers. Peak in spring and summer.

Bee balm (Monarda didyma). Perennial. Blooms in shades of lavender, red, or pink on bushy plants in summer. Light shade in hottest climates. Zones A2, A3, 1-11, 14-17.

Bird of paradise (Caesalpinia). Evergreen or deciduous shrub or tree. Colorful blossoms of yellow or brilliant orange-red above ferny foliage in summer. Sun. Zones vary by species.

Bottlebrush (Callistemon). Large shrub or small tree. Red flowers. Peaks in spring and summer.

California fuchsia (Zauschneria). Shrubby perennial. Tubular, orange to red blooms above gray-green to silvery foliage in late summer or fall. Sun. Zones 2-11, 14-24.

Cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis). Perennial. Spikes of flame red flowers in summer. A bog plant in nature, it needs moist soil. Full sun or part shade. Zones 1-7, 14-17.

Columbine (Aquilegia). Perennials. Lacy foliage and delicate flowers in shades of yellow, orange, blue, and red in spring and early summer. Sun or light shade. Zones vary by species.

Coral bells (Heuchera sanguinea). Perennial. Bell-shaped, bright red or coral pink flowers spring into summer. Shade. Zones A1-A3, 1-11, 14-24.

Foxglove (Digitalis). Perennials and biennials. Tubular flowers in shades of pink to apricot, yellow, and cream atop tall spikes in spring. Exposure needs vary by species. Zones vary by species.

Fuchsia. Evergreen and deciduous shrubs. Bell-shaped flowers in a range of pink to purple and orange shades, from late spring to first frost. F. triphylla 'Gartenmeister Bonstedt' has drooping clusters of intense orange, long-tubed flowers. Sun to light shade. Zones vary by species.

Kangaroo paw (Anigozanthos). Perennial. Red, yellow, or green flowers. Spring through fall.

Nicotiana. Perennials grown as annuals. White, pink, red tubular flowers. Peaks in summer and early fall.

Penstemon. Perennials. Reds and blues predominate. Spring and summer bloom, depending on species.

Red yucca (Hesperaloe parviflora). Perennial. Rose red to bright red flowers late spring through summer. Sun to light shade. Zones 2b, 3, 7-16, 18-24.

Salvia. Perennials and shrubs. Lots of blues and reds, plus many other colors. Spring through fall.

Veronica. Perennial. Masses of small flowers in white, rose, pink, or blue in pointy-topped spikes. Most take full sun. Zones vary by species.

Next: Butterfly 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.

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

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