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Pro Tips

10 Plants and Flowers to Attract Birds and Pollinators

Gardens thrive when you attract the right insects and animals. Not only do bees, hummingbirds, and butterflies help with pollination, but other bird species can also help control pests. Plus, beautiful butterflies and songbirds will make your garden an even more pleasant place to spend time.

Butterfly on a yellow marigold


If your main goal is to attract pollinators, then you need to plant some marigolds. These bright and cheery yellow-orange flowers will grow in any type of soil, in addition to being a natural aphid repellent. You can even find varieties with larger centre openings to give insects easier pollen access. Their dried seeds will attract birds as well.
Bee in a lavender field


Striking purple with a beautiful aroma, lavender makes a lovely addition to any garden. It’s easy to grow and maintain as it thrives in sun and drier soil. Best of all, not only does lavender attract bees and butterflies, but it also repels unwanted moths and mosquitoes.
Yellow bird perched on a sunflower


Sunflowers are another beautiful and easy-to-grow option for many gardens. They’ll attract songbirds like goldfinches, and the “Lemon Queen” sunflower variety is particularly well loved by bees.

Pro Tip

Plant your sunflower seeds in full sun, ideally near a window, to enjoy the gorgeous flowers to their fullest.
Purple foxgloves with a bee


While foxgloves are a biennial plant that won’t bloom until the year after planting, they are very much worth the wait. It is a tall plant with a long flowering time and gorgeous purple blooms that attract bumblebees and hummingbirds.
Bee resting on a daisy flower


The delicate flowers of daisies attract songbirds like cardinals, finches, and sparrows, and some varieties even repel harmful insects. Best of all, these popular perennials sprout up again year after year.

Pro Tip

Daisies love full sun, so make sure you plant them out of the shade.
Pink honeysuckle flower


If you have a fence or a bare wall where you want to grow vines and flowers, then consider honeysuckle. This fragrant plant has a sweet smell and pretty, trumpet-shaped flowers that come in colours like red, pink, white, yellow, and orange. Birds and bees are attracted to the nectar and berries it produces. Honeysuckle is also wonderfully low maintenance. It grows in both full sun and partial shade, and only requires a bit of winter pruning.
Branch covered in elder berries


Elderberries are great for making jam, but you might have to race the birds for them! The elderberry plant starts blooming around June, attracting birds like red-eyed vireos and brown thrashers.

Pro Tip

Elderberry is best planted after the last spring frosts in a cool, moist, and partially shaded spot.
Grass covered with oak leaves and acorns

Oak Trees

Oak trees are a popular spot for birds to hang out, especially for the woodpeckers and blue jays that feast on the acorns. They are also home to more species of caterpillars than any other tree. Plus, the shade of an oak tree can make your garden a more comfortable place to relax.
Bee resting on a pink coneflower


Also known by its medicinal name—echinacea—cornflower is both an herbal medicine and an easy way to draw all sorts of pollinators. Its blooms attract bees, butterflies, and birds, while its seeds are eaten by finches. This perennial plant thrives in full sun and comes in red, orange, yellow, pink, white, and popular purple varieties.
Monarch butterfly on pink milkweed


The best way to get your garden visited by beautiful Monarch butterflies is to plant milkweed. The main food source of Monarch caterpillars, milkweed also attracts goldfinches and other songbirds.

Pro Tip

While different varieties of the plant have their own growing requirements, the popular Butterfly Milkweed variety thrives in light soil that has good drainage.
Bird on a birdbath

Additional Tips

In addition to the right plants and flowers, another great way to attract more birds to your garden is with a birdhouse. These handy little homes provide birds with food, as well as with shelter from predators and harsh weather. You can offer shelter for pollinators as well. For example, leaving a part of your lawn or a hedge more overgrown than the rest is great for ground-nesting bees.

Another sure-fire way to keep birds and pollinating insects happy is with a water feature. Birdbaths, fountains, and purposefully created puddles are all perfect spots for bathing and drinking. Place some stones and pebbles around the water element to provide butterflies with a warm place to dry off and sunbathe after cleaning up.

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