Fill your gardens with beautiful plants that produce an abundance of seeds the birds will love. You’ll enjoy the flowers as well as the birds that visit to dine on the seeds. Best of all, there is no feeder to refill or clean. So read below to learn how to bring in the birds.
Firstly, sunflowers are the initial seed-producing plants that come to mind. Their dark brown centers turn to seeds that attract a wide variety of birds, to your yard. Add a unique flare to your sunflower collection with the All-America Selections (AAS) Flower Winner Ring of Fire sunflower. Its chocolate brown center is surrounded by a ring of red petals tipped in gold. The 4-to-5-foot tall plants reach their peak late in the season, adding a fresh look to any flowerbed.
Secondly, AAS Flower Winner Ornamental Millet Purple Majesty is another bird magnet. Tolerant of heat and drought, it grows 3 to 5 feet tall. Its green leaves turn purple in the sunlight. Twelve-inch-long flower spikes top the plant. These make it the perfect thriller in container gardens, backdrop in flowerbeds or addition to garden bouquets. But you’ll want to leave most of the flowers on the plants to produce seeds that bring in the birds.
Salvia Summer Jewel
Further, is another group of AAS Flower Winners, the Salvia Summer Jewel™ series. They bloom earlier and more prolifically than other similar varieties on the market. You can choose from white, pink, red and lavender flowers that attract butterflies and hummingbirds. And as their flowers turn to seeds, you will find colorful goldfinches flocking to the plants.
Likewise, coneflowers are well known for their bird appeal. Our native purple and pale purple coneflowers are always a good choice, but a few relatively new, hardy varieties increase the color options for gardeners. The 2020 AAS Herbaceous Perennial Winner Echinacea Sombrero® Baja Burgundy was trialed for three years, survived brutal winter and summer conditions and continued to produce deep-violet-red flowers from mid-summer to frost.
Echinacea Cheyenne Spirit/PowWow Wild Berry
Alternatively, Echinacea Cheyenne Spirit produces a mix of purple, pink, red and orange flowers. Meanwhile, PowWow Wild Berry’s compact plants are topped with deep rose-purple flowers. Start these two from seed in early spring and be rewarded with colorful flowers the first summer.
In addition, a popular companion of coneflowers, black-eyed Susans, add a bright spot of color to any garden. And as the flowers fade, they provide an abundance of seed for birds to enjoy fall through winter. The 2020 AAS Herbaceous Perennial Winner American Gold Rush provides all the beauty plus a resistance to Septoria leaf spot disease.
Cosmos, coreopsis, marigolds and zinnias
Longtime favorite flowers like cosmos, coreopsis, marigolds and zinnias also help bring in the seed-eating birds. Select single flowered varieties for maximum seed production. Radiance and Cosmic Orange Cosmos, Zahara Starlight and the Profusion series of zinnias are a few outstanding performers to consider.
Look for other award-winning varieties that attract seed-eating birds, hummingbirds and other pollinators to your garden on the AAS website (all-americaselections.org). AAS is a non-profit trialing organization with test gardens and volunteer judges across the United States and Canada. Winners are selected for their outstanding performance in home gardens and containers.
In short, increase your garden’s beauty, decrease maintenance and bring in the birds with a few of these flower varieties.
Melinda Myers has written more than 20 gardening books, including Small Space Gardening. She hosts The Great Courses’ “How to Grow Anything” gardening DVD series and the nationally syndicated Melinda’s Garden Moment TV & radio segments. Learn more at melindamyers.com.