9 Annual Plants That Attract Songbirds to Your Garden

Some plants are known for their ability to attract songbirds to the garden. These annual plants are a must for a bird-friendly landscape.  They brighten your garden and fill you life with nature’s beautiful sounds.  What could be better?

Perennials, annuals, shrubs and trees all create a friendly and inviting landscape environment for birds. Today we’re focusing on annual plants known to attract songbirds to your yard or garden.

9 Annual Plants That Attract Songbirds to Your Garden

Cosmos (Cosmos) for Songbirds in the Garden

Cosmos flowers are bright, cheerful and easy to grow, making them a perfect addition to the wildlife or native garden landscape. Birds love these kid-friendly flowers for their edible flower seeds. Gardeners will need to stop deadheading the flowers at the end of the summer to make sure there is a good crop of seeds for the wild birds in their area who are preparing for winter.

Cosmos flowers are grown easily from seeds which can be sown either in the fall or in early spring. One advantage to allowing cosmos flowers to go to seed each year is the host of volunteer seedling gardeners will enjoy each year. Cosmos plants are drought tolerant and heat-resistant, so they also do well in container plantings.

Moss Rose (Portulaca grandiflora) – A Bird-Friendly Ground Cover

Another easy to grow plant, the moss rose thrives in poor soil and low water conditions that would kill many other flowering plants. The bright colored flowers and prolific seeds are bird magnets. Moss rose plants will likely reseed themselves, however they do not usually come true if you start with cultivars, so many gardeners will replant them each year. Additionally, you may find your hanging basket of moss roses housing a bird nest!

Moss roses prefer full sun and well-drained soil conditions. The blooms last from late spring all the way through the first killing frost of winter, making them a long-lived accent plant in the garden landscape. Sometimes a mid-season trimming will create a new flush of flowers as well as prevent leggy growth. Portulaca plants make great ground covers for other drought-tolerant plants.  Plant along the edges of a raised flower bed to break up the border.

Sunflower (Helianthus annuus) for Home Grown Bird Seed

With an unmistakable look in the garden landscape, the sunflower is a favorite of songbirds because of the large seedheads it produces each fall. Most sunflowers can grow several feet tall, while others are available in shorter forms. Here are some favorite sunflowers for a variety of garden uses, but if gardeners want to attract wildlife to the garden they will want to leave the seeds on the plants when they form in the fall.

Unlike the other two plants mentioned, sunflowers are not as drought tolerant and need even watering throughout the growing season. While you can harvest sunflower seeds, gardeners who want to attract birds should leave the seeds to ripen on the plant.

Additional Annual Flowers that Attract Birds

  • Calendula
  • Bachelor’s Buttons
  • Dianthus
  • Zinnia
  • Marigold – doubles as a natural bug repellent in your garden!
  • Black-Eyed Susans
Tags: garden, nature, rural lifestyle
Barb Webb. Founder and Editor of Rural Mom, is an the author of "Getting Laid" and "Getting Baked". A sustainable living expert nesting in Appalachian Kentucky, when she’s not chasing chickens around the farm or engaging in mock Jedi battles, she’s making tea and writing about country living and artisan culture.
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