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Plants to Attract Widlife

Fine Gardening - Issue 127
Winterberry (Ilex Verticulata)

The longer I garden, the more I come to appreciate the beauty, toughness, and benefits of native plants. They provide essential food and foraging requirements for wildlife and are often best suited to local weather conditions. I wouldn’t necessarily call myself a native-plant purist. I believe that finding the right balance is the key, and in some instances, mixing natives with nonnatives (or close relatives) may actually enhance the benefits to wildlife.


See more about gardening for wildlife.


Plants to Attract Wildlife:


‘Lionel Fortescue’ Oregon grape

Name: Mahonia × media ‘Lionel Fortescue’

USDA Hardiness Zones: 8 to 9

Wildlife highlight  Birds adore the flowers and
berries. The blossoms provide overwintering humming­birds an important source of nectar.

Redtwig dogwoods

Name: Cornus sericea and cvs.

Zones: 3 to 8

Wildlife highlight  They have bird-friendly berries.

Pacific wax myrtle

Name: Myrica californica

Zones: 7 to 10

Wildlife highlight  The clusters of tiny berries are a favorite food source for several species of birds, especially warblers.

Flowering currant

Name: Ribes sanguineum

Zones: 6 to 8

Wildlife highlight  The flowers are valued by bees as an early source of nectar, while the fruit are a good food source for many species of birds.




Name: Gaultheria shallon

Zones: 6 to 8

Wildlife highlight  The berries are consumed by everything from small mammals to songbirds. Hummingbirds readily use the flowers as a source of nectar.

American beautyberry

Name: Callicarpa americana

Zones: 5 to 8

Wildlife highlight  The large clusters of purple berries are eaten by wildlife as a last resort in late winter.






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