Do you have a bird feeder that needs some attention but don't know where to begin?
Creating a thriving garden requires more than just a keen eye for beauty; it also demands strategic planning.
One area often overlooked by many gardeners is the space beneath bird feeders.
This spot, typically dismissed as just a landing zone for scattered seeds, holds immense potential for unique and purposeful plantings.
But what plants are the best fit for these locations, and can birds appreciate the allure of flowers?
Below we'll show you a diverse palette of plants, ranging from colorful flower species to subdued, texture-rich options, each serving to attract different bird species and complement your existing garden aesthetic.
What Should You Plant Under A Bird Feeder?
In general, flowering plants will be best underneath a bird feeder. As we mentioned, growing wildflowers can be a great idea to attract birds with their many seeds.
Overwintering birds will pick up these seeds and eat them once the spring hits, making for an even better afternoon snack. Furthermore, the birds in your yard can also spread wildflower seeds, ultimately helping you grow more.
Check out this cool video on planting wildflowers: Wildflower Takeover: How A Couple Transforms Their Yard Into A Bee Paradise Yearly
On top of wildflowers, however, you can try growing sunflowers, plants that spread (yellow archangel), and even a few holly bushes.
Typically, the more bright and fragrant the landscape near a bird feeder, the more birds will come. Remember, birds depend on their vision from the sky, so if your garden doesn't look attractive, don't expect too many visitors.
You also want to remember that the plants growing underneath your feeder can't be too tall. For example, plant a low variety if you want to grow sunflowers under a bird feeder.
Having your plant take over the bird feeder can deter birds and even uproot your feeder from the ground.
You can also use bright mulch and stones around a bird feeder to add vibrance, so you don't always need a ton of plants.
What Plants Attract Birds To A Bird Feeder?
For anyone wanting to bring in more birds to their feeder, some plants attract them better than others. Of course, this can depend on the types of birds in your area, so everyone will be slightly different.
Geraniums, daylilies, clematis, lupines, dahlias, cotoneasters, lemon balms, and even coneflowers are great for under a bird feeder.
Geraniums are hardy plants that are able to tolerate a range of conditions, making them a versatile choice for planting under bird feeders.
Their bright, cheery flowers can attract hummingbirds and the seed heads attract sparrows and finches.
These beautiful, hardy plants not only add a splash of color with their showy flowers but also serve as a natural pest deterrent. The tubular form of the flowers is perfect for attracting hummingbirds.
This climbing vine is perfect for a bird feeder mounted on a post or wall. It can help to camouflage the mount while also providing shelter for smaller birds. Its attractive flowers also serve as a source of nectar for hummingbirds.
Lupines are beautiful perennial plants that produce a bounty of seeds enjoyed by various bird species. Additionally, their vibrant flowers serve as a significant source of nectar for hummingbirds.
Dahlias provide bold, striking colors that not only beautify your garden but also attract birds like sparrows and finches. Their large flowers can also serve as shelter for smaller birds.
This hardy shrub is often a favorite for planting under bird feeders. Its dense growth habit provides excellent cover for ground-feeding birds.
Moreover, its bright berries are a favorite amongst many bird species during fall and winter.
7. Lemon Balm
This plant is a good choice if you're looking to attract a variety of birds. Its fragrant leaves deter pests, and its tiny flowers are a good source of nectar for hummingbirds.
Coneflowers are a wonderful addition to a bird-friendly garden. Their seeds are loved by many birds like finches, and they continue to provide food well into winter when the flower heads dry out.
Plus, their daisy-like blooms are sure to attract pollinators, creating a vibrant and active garden space.
Wildflowers generally tend to be the best way to get new birds into your garden, as they produce many seeds in the spring and smell delicious.
Furthermore, you can also try other low-growing plants beneath a bird feeder, like sunflowers or holly. The key here is to have landscaping that is inviting, not overpowering.
Bright hues and floral smells do the best job of getting birds to your garden and feeding.
Do I Need To Plant Something Under My Bird Feeder?
Although you don't necessarily "need" to plant something below a bird feeder, that doesn't mean you shouldn't. In general, if you leave a bird feeder alone in your yard, birds may not see or notice it from above.
For that reason, it's imperative to add plenty of color below and around your feeder. Whether you choose wildflowers or decorative mulch/gravel, it's good to have something pop.
Additionally, you want to make the space around a bird feeder feel friendly and protective. Even though birds don't have many predators, they don't want to feel like a target while they're eating in your garden.
On the other hand, if you don't like a traditional, in-ground bird feeder, you can always hang one from a tree and skip the landscaping altogether.
Again, every garden is different, so make a choice that fits your space.
Do Bird Feeders Attract Birds?
As long as you have protective plants nearby, a bird feeder should do a nice job of attracting birds.
With that said, depending on where you live, you may have to get creative to see an increase in traffic.
According to the National Wildlife Federation, birds tend to gravitate towards feeders with protective plants nearby: trees. They mention how birds fly down into a nearby shrub before making their way to an actual feeder.
From there, the bird will briefly stop by your feeder, eat a snack, and then fly into a tree close by.
Although this isn't foolproof, many bird-watching experts notice this similar pattern when watching the birds in their yard stop by for some food.
As we mentioned above, the safer birds feel, the more likely they will come to your property.
Having your bird feeder in a barren, unprotected location can create a dangerous situation for potential birds, which will deter them from your garden.
How Do I Stop Weeds From Growing Under My Bird Feeder?
If you're dealing with weeds growing below your bird feeder, there are some things to try.
One of the main reasons weeds grow beneath a bird feeder is that seeds fall constantly.
According to CS Monitor, you want to use a tray attachment below your bird feeder to prevent any extra seeds from reaching the ground below.
Doing this will keep unwanted plants and weeds from growing while protecting your flowers/foliage.
They also mention the importance of choosing bird food that won't sprout in the ground if they fall—sunflower hearts, peanuts, peanut butter, raisins, mealworms, and plain suet cakes.
On top of those ideas, you can also use your landscaping to your advantage. Lay down mulch, rocks, or even sand beneath your bird feeder, which may help lessen the number of weeds able to flourish.
Like anywhere in your yard, weeds are inevitable. You also want to be cautious of how you remove them around a bird feeder, as harsh chemicals can harm the birds coming to eat.
Therefore, we don't recommend using chemically-based or toxic weed killers anywhere close to a bird feeder, so keep that in mind.
How Many Bird Feeders Should I Have In My Yard?
Although this may be surprising, it's best to have close to seven bird feeders in a garden. Typically, birds will travel together, meaning there will be more than one hungry guest.
According to many experts, having a range of 4-10 bird feeders in your yard is sufficient, so you can have less or more than that seven.
However, many bird feeders have multiple points of entry for birds, so you don't have to install seven separate feeders throughout your property.
With that said, you can try hanging feeders from tree branches and using in-ground options if you want your yard to be a popular location.
Again, this can be easier said than done, so start small and work your way into creating an entire city for birds to enjoy.
Is A Hanging Bird Feeder Better Or An In-Ground?
If you're stuck on what type of bird feeder to buy, this depends on your space. Generally, bird feeders that hang from trees are perfect for gardens with plenty of foliage.
However, if your garden is on the more barren side, you might prefer to put your feeder in the ground. As we mentioned earlier, birds need to be able to see your feeder easily.
So, hanging one inside a tree isn't always the most visible idea. Instead, try putting a bird feeder or two on a post in the ground, and then hang a few from a nearby tree.
Then, you invite birds to hang out in various sections of your property, which could make your yard the most popular on the block.
Plant Bright and Fragrant Flowers
Whether you want to add a bird feeder into your yard or have one, it's always good to know what to plant beneath it. From what we found, fragrant, bright flowers tend to be the best idea here.
Specifically, wildflowers and low-growing sunflowers will be perfect for under a bird feeding space. Additionally, you can try to use colorful landscaping under a bird feeder and plant protective bushes close by.
The key here is to give birds a safe spot to eat and relax, so the more protection and coverage, the more birds will make their way into your garden.
As a recap, here are the wildflowers you can grow beneath a bird feeder:
- Lemon balm
Of course, you don't have to stick to just wildflowers. You can try out different types of plants that's good for pest control for a more practical approach.
For more helpful gardening tips, check out these related garden posts below!