Plants For Birds: Native Songbird Gardens

by David Salman

Bird / Native Songbird Gardens

Plants For Birds: Create Songbird habitats with our regional native Songbird Gardens

Plants For Birds: Helping Songbirds Raise Their Young

The time to plant more native plants for birds is now! Our pre-planned native Songbird Gardens are designed specifically to help our songbird population in each region. Nearly 50% of songbird populations are suffering as a result of habitat loss and declines in healthy native plant populations and diversity.

Recent scientific research conducted by University of Delaware professor Doug Tallamy, has revealed compelling new data that shows diverse populations of native plants are essential for songbirds to successfully raise their young. We now know that a mating pair of birds needs to collect between 4,000 to 6,000 caterpillars to raise a nest of chicks. And yet, a landscape full of Old World plants (non-natives from Europe, Asia, and Africa) will yield very few caterpillars and songbirds will not be able to utilize these areas as habitat to raise their young.

Plants For Birds: Insects and the Web of Life

For as long as I can remember, there has been a horticultural drumbeat that has vilified insects to be something that we don't want in our yards and gardens. Indeed, there are injurious pests that attack our vegetables, our annual and perennial flowers, as well as our trees and shrubs. And these "bad bugs" have become more of a problem due to the widespread use of toxic chemical pesticides. These poisons have severely disrupted the delicate balance in nature whereby predator insects, bats, birds, reptiles, and amphibians feed on and keep the "bad bugs" under control.

For this and many other reasons, gardening naturally and organically MUST be how we grow our ornamental and food plants.

Yet, insects are a vital part of the food chain. These six-legged creatures consume plant tissue and convert the energy of the sun into protein for rest of the non-herbivore animal kingdom to feed. In a healthy landscape or larger ecosystem, native plants and insects strike a balance. The insects that feed on plants consume just enough to live and multiply without killing or significantly damaging the plants. Thus, nature provides the caterpillars to feed our beloved songbirds. And we humans won't even be aware that all this is going on. We only see the results: lots of songbird nests full of healthy chicks that will become the next generation of adult birds.

Plants For Birds: Regional Native Songbird Gardens

Our regional Songbird Gardens contain a selection of native plants that research by Prof. Tallamy, the National Wildlife Association and the Xerces Society have shown to be some of the best genera for providing food plants for butterfly and moth caterpillars and other insect larvae to feed.

Each regional Songbird Garden has two different planting diagrams (one for fence lines and the other for rectangular beds to be planted elsewhere on the property). Where possible, plant the garden(s) in sunny areas close to established trees and shrubs to provide additional nesting sites from where the birds can live and stay close to their nests.

We are making it easy for songbird lovers and gardeners who are interested in creating songbird habitat, to plant more natives that beautify their properties and help ensure that songbirds will have places to raise their young.

Mother Nature will appreciate your efforts.

Text and Photos by Founder and Chief Horticulturist David Salman.

© All articles are copyrighted by High Country Gardens. Republishing an entire High Country Gardens blog post or article is prohibited without written permission. Please feel free to share a short excerpt with a link back to the article on social media websites, such as Facebook and Pinterest.

Intermountain West Native Songbird Gardens

Easily choose the right songbird plants with our pre-planned gardens. | Native Intermountain West Songbird Garden.

Southwest Native Songbird Gardens

Local songbirds will benefit from the habitat you create for them. | Native Southwest Songbird Garden.
  1. Blue Spruce Stonecrop, Sedum reflexum 'Blue Spruce'

    'Blue Spruce' Creeping Sedum (Sedum reflexum) is a standout among low-maintenance Sedums. This easy-to-grow and eye-catching features succulent blue-green foliage, much like little s...

    Learn More
    Blue Spruce Sedum Blue Spruce Stonecrop Sedum reflexum Blue Spruce
    As low as $7.99 Sale $7.59
    Per Plant - 2.5" Pot
    'Blue Spruce' Creeping Sedum (Sedum reflexum) is a standout among low-maintenance Sedums. This easy-to-grow and eye-catching features succulent blue-green foliage, much like little spruce needles! A pollinator favorite, it is covered with small star-shaped yellow flowers in summer for over a month. A great evergreen groundcover where low maintenance, drought-tolerant, deer-and-rabbit-resistant plantings are desired.
    Learn More
  2. Cape Blanco Stonecrop, Sedum spathulifolium 'Cape Blanco'

    'Cape Blanco' Creeping Sedum (Sedum spathulifolium 'Cape Blanco') is sheer elegance with unusual pewter, powder-blue succulent foliage in a well-behaved groundcover. Clusters of tiny...

    Learn More
    Cape Blanco Sedum Cape Blanco Stonecrop Sedum spathulifolium Cape Blanco
    As low as $7.99
    Per Plant - 2.5" Pot
    'Cape Blanco' Creeping Sedum (Sedum spathulifolium 'Cape Blanco') is sheer elegance with unusual pewter, powder-blue succulent foliage in a well-behaved groundcover. Clusters of tiny yellow flowers cover the plant in summer. Cape Blanco is an award-winning standout. Easy-to-grow and pollinator-friendly this North American native is a must-have!
    Learn More
  3. Angelina Stonecrop, Sedum rupestre 'Angelina'

    Fast-growing, and colorful, 'Angelina' Creeping Sedum (Sedum rupestre) adds a dazzling highlight with colors from chartreuse to golden yellow. Easy to grow, it will spread quickly as...

    Learn More
    Angelina Sedum Angelina Stonecrop Sedum rupestre Angelina
    As low as $7.99 Sale $7.59
    Per Plant - 2.5" Pot
    Fast-growing, and colorful, 'Angelina' Creeping Sedum (Sedum rupestre) adds a dazzling highlight with colors from chartreuse to golden yellow. Easy to grow, it will spread quickly as a drought-tolerant groundcover. Bright yellow star-like flowers bloom in summer and foliage turns golden-orange in autumn. A great pick for rock gardens, dry borders, and large expanses of ground that need planting.
    Learn More
  4. SunSparkler® Dazzleberry Stonecrop, Sedum 'Razzleberry'

    Bold and beautiful, SunSparkler® 'Dazzleberry' Sedum sports smoky blue-grey foliage in 6-inch-tall mounds. Come late summer, raspberry flower clusters cover the plant for long-lasti...

    Learn More
    SunSparkler® Dazzleberry Sedum SunSparkler® Dazzleberry Stonecrop PP#22457 Sedum Dazzleberry PP#22457
    Sale Price I Save 5%
    $10.99 Sale $10.44
    Per Plant - 5" Deep Pot
    Bold and beautiful, SunSparkler® 'Dazzleberry' Sedum sports smoky blue-grey foliage in 6-inch-tall mounds. Come late summer, raspberry flower clusters cover the plant for long-lasting color. Easy-to-grow and pollinator-friendly, it’s a great low maintenance perennial for groundcovers, rock gardens, borders, and containers in sunny, dry areas. 'Dazzleberry' will naturalize and spread creating a carpet of easy-care color.
    Learn More
  5. SunSparkler® Lime Twister Stonecrop, Sedum 'Lime Twister', pink flowers

    SunSparkler® 'Lime Twister' Sedum is a two-toned garden knockout with lime green foliage edged in a buttery yellow. This hardy succulent blooms in late summer with rose-pink flowers...

    Learn More
    SunSparkler® Lime Twister Sedum SunSparkler® Lime Twister Stonecrop PP#26895 Sedum Lime Twister PP#26895
    Sale Price I Save 5%
    $10.99 Sale $10.44
    Per Plant - 5" Deep Pot
    SunSparkler® 'Lime Twister' Sedum is a two-toned garden knockout with lime green foliage edged in a buttery yellow. This hardy succulent blooms in late summer with rose-pink flowers that last for well over a month, supporting pollinators and brightening the late summer to fall garden. An easy-to-grow choice that will spread to fill containers, borders, and water-thrifty gardens. Deer and rabbit resistant.
    Learn More
  6. SunSparkler® Wildfire Stonecrop, Sedum 'Wildfire'

    SunSparkler® 'Wildfire' Sedum blazes with ruby red petals edged in hot pink. Late summer brings clusters of long-blooming pink flowers. It’s an attention-worthy groundcover that w...

    Learn More
    SunSparkler® Wildfire Sedum SunSparkler® Wildfire Stonecrop PP#28621 Sedum Wildfire PP#28621
    Sale Price I Save 5%
    $10.99 Sale $10.44
    Per Plant - 5" Deep Pot
    SunSparkler® 'Wildfire' Sedum blazes with ruby red petals edged in hot pink. Late summer brings clusters of long-blooming pink flowers. It’s an attention-worthy groundcover that will naturalize to fill a sunny, dry area. In fact, the more sun, the brighter the color. A perfect easy-to-grow addition to a rock garden, container, or any sunny spot that needs a water-thrifty color boost. Deer and rabbit resistant.
    Learn More
  7. Arrowleaf Buckwheat, Eriogonum compositum, clusters of creamy white flowers

    Arrowleaf Buckwheat (Eriogonum compositum) is a lovely Sulphur Buckwheat with large, showy clusters of creamy white or light yellow flowers and low-growing rosette of large heart-sha...

    Learn More
    Arrowleaf Buckwheat Arrowleaf Buckwheat Eriogonum compositum
    Sale Price I Save 5%
    $12.99 Sale $12.34
    Per Plant - 2.5" Pot
    Arrowleaf Buckwheat (Eriogonum compositum) is a lovely Sulphur Buckwheat with large, showy clusters of creamy white or light yellow flowers and low-growing rosette of large heart-shaped leaves. Beautiful late spring blooms add playful texture to the garden. Native to the dry areas of the Pacific Northwest, this buckwheat is an essential habitat plant for butterflies, beneficial insects, and wildlife.
    Learn More
  8. Giant Sulphur Buckwheat, Eriogonum umbellatum var. devestivum, growing on mountainside

    A showy display of bright yellow flower clusters in late summer to early fall distinguishes Giant Sulphur Buckwheat (Eriogonum umbellatum) from all others. This durable, drought tole...

    Learn More
    Giant Sulphur Buckwheat Giant Sulphur Buckwheat Eriogonum umbellatum var. devestivum
    Sale Price I Save 10%
    $12.99 Sale $11.69
    Per Plant - 2.5" Pot
    A showy display of bright yellow flower clusters in late summer to early fall distinguishes Giant Sulphur Buckwheat (Eriogonum umbellatum) from all others. This durable, drought tolerant shrub is especially valuable as a late season nectar source for bees and butterflies. Native to the Great Basin of the western US, this very xeric and long-lived Buckwheat can thrive for decades in your landscape.
    Learn More