With spring just around the corner, it couldn’t be a better time to start letting your green thumb take flight. It can be such a rewarding and relaxing tradition to enjoy the fruits of your labor by taking a few minutes out of your day to take in the beauty and hard work of your garden. But why stop at just admiring the flora when you can design your garden to attract wildlife, as well. Here are some planting ideas to help you attract butterflies and birds to your garden.
Probably some of the most coveted of wildlife in gardens are Butterflies. Not only are they beautiful guests that add to the color of your garden, they help to pollinate flowers both in your garden and outside of your garden. Some butterflies you might find include the American Lady (Vanessa virginiensis), American Snout (Libytheana carinenta), Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia), Monarch (Danaus plexippus), Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui), Pearl Crescent (Phyciodes tharos), Pipevine Swallowtail (Battus philenor), Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta) and the Variegated Fritillary (Euptoieta claudia).
Some butterfly-attracting plants include Butterfly Bush (Buddleia davidii), Marigold (Tagetes lucida), Lantana (Lantana sp.), Heliotrope (Heliotropium arborescens), Purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea), Black-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta), Zinnia (Zinnia sp.), Aster (Symphyotrichum sp.), Coreopsis (Coreopsis grandiflora), Lavender (Lavandula sp.), Gaillardia (Gaillardia sp.), Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) and Sage (Salvia sp.). Butterfly bush, Marigolds and Zinnia flowers attract nearly all of the native Butterflies of Southern California.
Perhaps some of the most entertaining birds to watch in your yard are Hummingbirds. California is home to several species, though it is most likely that you will find Allen’s (Selasphorus sasin) and Anna’s (Calypte anna) Hummingbirds in San Diego. Other hummingbirds you might see include the Costa’s (Calypte costae), Rufous (Selasphorus rufus), or catch a glimpse of a vagrant Xantus’ (Hylocharis xantusii) or Broad-billed (Cynanthus latirostris) Hummingbird. Some of the Hummingbirds’ favorite plants include Fuchsia, Pandorea rosa, Wisteria, Jasmine, Red buds (Cercis canadensis), and of course, Honeysuckle (Lonicera sp.).
However, if you’re looking to attract other birds, consider planting bird-friendly plants such as Pyracantha, Duranta, and Cotoneaster and Sunflowers. Birds like the seeds from these plants. Also, consider a plant that provides nesting areas and materials. Orioles love the strings from all kinds of palm trees to build their nests. Any plants that produce unique materials are great, as well. Consider the floss tree – birds love the cotton-like floss for nests. Sumacs (Rhus spp.) can attract California Towhees (Pipilo crissalis) and Thrushes (Catharus spp.), and Wild Roses (Rosa spp.) might even attract some Towhees to your yard, too.