If you are looking for a way to attract birds to your backyard, then you should consider using potted plants. Potted plants offer many benefits for birds, whether it’s for food or shelter.
The best part is that potted plants are portable, so you can move them around to wherever you want them. They are also a great way to add color and interest to any area.
In this article, we will discuss some of the best potted plants to use if you want to attract birds!
Why Should You Attract Birds to Your Garden?
There are many reasons why you should attract birds to your garden. Not only do they provide an amazing show with their bright colors and beautiful songs, but they also play a very important role in our natural ecosystems.
Birds help control insect populations, spread seeds, and scavenge for food. Plus, who can resist the sight of a cheerful bird perched in your garden?
If you’re looking for ways to attract more birds to your backyard, consider using potted plants such as sunflowers, coral bells, purple coneflower, goldenrod, milkweed, trumpet honeysuckle, elderberry, dogwood, bayberry, fairy fuchsia, Japanese maple, and others.
1 – Sunflowers
Although sunflowers are not commonly used as a potted plant, they are definitely one of the best ways to attract birds to your backyard.
Sunflowers are a favorite food source for many different types of birds including jays, grosbeaks, goldfinches, juncos, buntings, pine siskins, bluebirds, blackbirds, finches, and cardinals. Birds will definitely flock to your backyard if you have sunflowers planted in a pot—you just have to know how to grow them in a pot.
Growing sunflowers in a pot isn’t the easiest way to grow them, but it’s definitely possible. Just make sure your breed of sunflower is small enough, or that your pot is large enough.
Sunflowers need space for their roots, as they grow taller than most potted plants. You also need to make sure you’re using proper soil for sunflowers, and that their pots drain well enough to avoid things such as root rot and stagnation.
Keep these tips in mind, and your sunflowers will be attracting all sorts of birds preparing for the winter!
2 – Coral Bells
Heuchera or coral bells are a beautiful perennial that can be used in any pot. They come in many different colors, but the most popular ones for attracting birds are the dark purple and red varieties.
Heucheras are attractive to hummingbirds, as they can often be found drinking nectar from the bellflowers.
3 – Fuchsia
If you’re looking for a bright splash of color in your backyard, then look no further than fuchsias. These beautiful plants come in a variety of colors, and they’re very easy to care for.
Fuchsias are especially attractive to hummingbirds and bees, as they offer a great source of nectar. These plants are more like shrubs or small trees than your typical potted flowers too, so they offer much more in terms of cover and source of building materials for birds’ nests, especially during the winter months.
4 – Elderberry
This deciduous shrub is perfect for attracting birds to your backyard, as it provides both food and shelter. Elderberry is a food source for many different types of birds, including robins, waxwings, cedar waxwings, bluebirds, and more.
The berries are high in vitamins A and C, making them a perfect food source for birds preparing for the winter. Elderberry is also a great plant to use as nesting material, as the branches are flexible and can be easily woven into nests.
5 – Dogwood
This beautiful flowering tree is perfect for attracting birds to your backyard. Dogwoods are very easy to care for, and they provide an excellent source of food for birds.
The flowers are especially attractive to hummingbirds and bees, as they offer a great source of nectar. Dogwoods also have berries that are high in fat and loved by all.
These aren’t typically grown in pots, as their root systems are dense and grow quickly. It would take an experienced gardener to pull off a potted dogwood, or someone with plenty of time to nurture it.
6 – Bayberry
This semi-evergreen shrub is perfect for attracting birds to your backyard, as it provides both plenty of berries, and shelter with its thick vegetation.
Bayberries are a favorite food source for many different types of birds, including black-capped chickadees, tufted titmice, Carolina wrens, tree swallows, and red-bellied woodpeckers.
The berries are a great food source during the cold months, as bayberry shrubs keep most of their green, as well as the berries themselves, throughout the winter.
7 – Japanese Maple
This beautiful tree is perfect for attracting birds to your backyard. Japanese maples are very easy to care for, and can often be grown in pots—even for the gardening newcomer.
The leaves of the Japanese maple range in color from deep green to a brilliant red, making it an attractive addition to any garden. They feature a wide crown, with branches stretching outward, creating the perfect hideout or resting place for birds of many species.
The Japanese maple also produces fruit known as, “samaras.” During the winter months, birds eat the seeds from these fruits.
8 – Purple Coneflower
This wildflower is a favorite of many birds, such as the American goldfinch and Baltimore oriole. The purple coneflower can be found in most parts of the United States, making it an easy plant to grow. It thrives in both full sun and partial shade, making it a versatile choice for any garden.
The flower itself is purple, but will often have white petals around the edges. It grows between 12 to 36 inches tall, making it the perfect size for adding interest to any pot or garden bed.
The purple coneflower attracts butterflies and bees, and produces seeds that are eaten by many different types of birds including blue jays, cardinals, and goldfinches.
9 – Goldenrod
This wildflower is found in most parts of the United States, and can be easily grown in any garden. Goldenrod grows between 12 to 48 inches tall, making it a perfect choice for adding height to any pot or garden bed. It thrives in full sun to partial shade, and produces beautiful yellow flowers that are sure to attract birds.
The plant itself is also a favorite nectar source for butterflies. Hummingbirds are known to visit goldenrods as well. Once the bees and hummingbirds have fed on the nectar, the birds begin to feast.
The seeds from the goldenrod are eaten by many different types of birds, including juncos, sparrows, and finches.
10 – Milkweed
Milkweed is one of the best potted plants to have if you want to attract birds. It’s extremely common and easy to grow in pots. All you have to do is plant it, water it, and wait for nature to find it.
It’s most commonly known as a source of food for butterflies, but this may indirectly attract some larger birds looking for a quick meal. The twigs and stems from milkweed also work perfectly as nesting materials for smaller birds such as goldfinches and yellow warblers.
11 – Trumpet Honeysuckle
Trumpet honeysuckle is a beautiful vine that can quickly cover an entire trellis or arbor. It’s also one of the best plants to have if you want to attract hummingbirds.
The tubular flowers are perfect for their long beaks, and they will be sure to visit your garden frequently if you have this plant. They’re not just good for hummingbirds either.
Trumpet honeysuckle produces berries during the fall season, which are often eaten by birds of many kinds. As the vines thicken and grow, the trumpet honeysuckle may also provide nesting materials, or even a nest location for many different types of small birds.
12 – Parrot’s Beak
Parrot’s beak, or Clianthus puniceus, is a beautiful and exotic potted plant that sports unique and vibrant flowers. Although it’s not the easiest plant to grow, it’s definitely worth the effort if you want to attract birds.
The reason being is that the nectar from these flowers is very high in sugar, making it irresistible to many types of birds. In addition, the seeds produced by parrot’s beak are also eaten by many different bird species.
So if you’re looking for a plant that will give you double the benefits, this is one to consider.
13 – Cardinal Flower
Cardinal flower, or Lobelia cardinalis, is another excellent choice for attracting birds to your garden. It’s a perfect place for pollinators such as bees and butterflies to make a place to call home.
These pollinators lay eggs, producing larvae, which then attracts birds looking for a meal. Birds may also find use for the plants themselves as nesting materials, and the blooming flowers are sure to attract hummingbirds.
14 – Ornamental Grasses
Ornamental grasses are a great addition to any garden, and they’re also one of the best ways to attract birds using potted plants. Many different species of birds use grasses for nesting materials. In fact, some types of ornamental grasses are specifically grown for this purpose.
But not only do they provide materials for birds to build their nests, they also produce seeds that many different kinds of birds enjoy eating. These seeds are easily picked up by birds during the winter months, as long as you don’t trim them back too early.
They’re also great for breaking up thick vegetation, as well as providing balance and nutrients for the soil. So if you’re looking for a plant that will give you the most bang for your buck, ornamental grasses are a good choice.
Other Ways to Attract Birds
Bird feeders are the most common way of attracting birds to your yard, but they’re not always the most satisfying. There are many different types of bird feeders available on the market, and they all work great for attracting birds.
The most important thing to remember is that you should keep them full of food, as this will attract more birds.
Some of the best foods to put in a bird feeder include sunflower seeds, millet, cracked corn, and thistle seed. There’s not a replacement for naturally grown food, so if you’re just starting out your garden, placing a bird feeder in your yard will keep many of the birds away from your seedlings while they mature.
Birds also need a place to drink, and adding a small water source to your garden is a great way to attract them. This can be anything from a simple dish or bowl filled with fresh water, to a small pond or fountain.
Just make sure there’s enough space for the birds to get in and out easily. The best time to put out water for the birds is in the morning, as this is when they’re most active.
Remember to keep it clean, as you don’t want any of your feathered friends getting sick. Avoid putting out water in a simple bath though. Standing water is a breeding ground for bacteria and disease, and many birds may avoid your yard because of it.
The best thing to do when attracting any type of wildlife is to use running water. Birds (and other animals) will see it as a natural source of water, and be more open to stopping by for a drink or a dip.
Set Up Bird Houses
If you’re looking for a more permanent solution, setting up bird houses is a great way to attract birds to your yard. Many different types of birds will use these houses as nesting sites, and you may even get the chance to see baby birds in the spring.
These houses can be bought pre-made, or you can build your own using simple materials such as wood, straw, and twine. Just make sure they’re big enough for the type of bird you want to attract, as well as having an opening that’s the right size.
You don’t want any predators getting into the house and eating the eggs or babies.
There are many different ways to attract birds to your yard, and using potted plants is a great way to get started. By adding one or more of these plants to your garden, you’ll be sure to get some feathered friends visiting in no time.
Just make sure you provide them with food, water, and a place to nest, and you’ll be rewarded with beautiful songs and glimpses of nature all year long.
Growing up with a mom who filled her home (inside and out) with all sorts of plants, Lisa got her start in gardening at a young age. Living now on her own with a home and yard full of plants (including an indoor greenhouse), she shares all the gardening tips she’s gained over the years.