Home & Garden

Bring in the Birds with These Plants

Sunflowers add beauty to your lawn and attract birds.

Fill your gardens with beautiful plants that produce an abundance of seeds the birds will love. You’ll enjoy the flowers as well as the birds that visit to dine on the seeds. Best of all, there is no feeder to refill or clean.

Sunflowers are likely the first seed-producing plant that comes to mind. Their dark brown centers turn to seeds that attract a wide variety of birds and of course squirrels to your yard.

Purple Majesty Millet is another bird magnet. Tolerant of heat and drought it grows 3 to 5 feet tall and its green leaves turn purple in the sunlight. Twelve-inch-long flower spikes top the plant, making it the perfect thriller in container gardens, backdrop in flowerbeds or addition to garden bouquets. But you’ll want to leave most of the flowers on the plants to produce seeds that bring in the birds.

The Salvia Summer Jewel™ series, bloom earlier and more prolifically than other similar varieties on the market.  You can choose from white, pink, red and lavender flowers that attract butterflies and hummingbirds.  And as their flowers turn to seeds, you will find colorful goldfinches flocking to the plants.

Coneflowers are well known for their bird appeal. Our native purple and pale purple coneflowers are always a good choice, but a few relatively new hardy varieties increase the color options for gardeners.

Cheyenne Spirit Echinacea produces a mix of purple, pink, red and orange flowers while PowWow Wild Berry’s compact plants are topped with deep rose-purple flowers.  Start these two from seed in early spring and be rewarded with colorful flowers the first summer.

A popular companion of coneflowers, black-eyed Susans, are sure to add a bright spot of color to any garden. And as the flowers fade, they provide an abundance of seed for birds to enjoy fall through winter.

Longtime favorite flowers like cosmos, coreopsis, marigolds and zinnias also help bring in the seed-eating birds. Select single flowered varieties for maximum seed production.  Radiance and Cosmic Orange cosmos, Sahara Starlight and the Profusion series of zinnias are a few outstanding performers to consider.

Increase your garden’s beauty, decrease maintenance and bring in the birds with a few of these winning flower varieties.

Melinda Myers has written more than 20 gardening books, including Small Space Gardening. She hosts the “How to Grow Anything” DVD series and the Melinda’s Garden Moment TV & radio segments. Her website is MelindaMyers.com.

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