Gardening for Wildlife

It is so very easy to attract wildlife to your garden. Here’s the secret: Go native!

By planting mostly native plants and trees, you will attract the wildlife that depends on it. This includes butterflies. By learning what their host plants are, you will encourage butterflies to lay eggs in your garden. By also planting their nectar sources, you will encourage generations of them to stay. Skippers and moths benefit as well. Placing your overripe, sliced fruit outside provides a hard-to-resist treat for many butterflies and beetles, who benefit from its watery sugars. Plus, it’s fun to watch them!

If it’s birds you seek, plant shrubs and trees that produce the fruit they love to eat. Our native Florida stoppers are a sure bet for attracting birds—full-time residents as well as migrating birds. To attract hummingbirds, plants that produce red or bright orange flowers work well, for example firebush or firespike.

Besides food, you might consider a water feature like a small pond or water garden to provide water for birds and some insects. Many birds, especially the spectacular painted buntings, feel secure in a bushy area and don’t like to venture too far away from the shelter of plants. Placing a feeder near such areas will help in attracting shy buntings and warblers.

Remember to avoid pesticides as much as possible. Providing the things we all need—food, water, shelter—is sure to bring wildlife in abundance to your garden.

Learn more about gardening for butterflies.

Learn more about gardening for birds.