9 Evergreen Shrubs Birds Love!

Evergreen shrubs provide year-round interest in your garden from local birds seeking shelter and food. Shrubs usually are smaller than full-size trees and are therefore ideal for small yards or gardens where trees would be too big.

They grow faster than trees and thus your landscape will mature more quickly. Further, shrubs have lower maintenance requirements and are therefore perfect for casual gardeners.

Shrubs provide protection from adverse weather, great nesting sites, and act as natural windbreaks for plants in your landscape.

You can grow these evergreen shrubs to attract birds to your garden:

1. Indian Hawthorn (Rhaphiolepsis indica)

Indian Hawthorn (Rhaphiolepis)
Photo by Carol VanHook

A small slow growing evergreen shrub that is ideal for sunny locations. It is low maintenance because it maintains a neat rounded shape without needing regular pruning.

It remains colorful all year round with pink or white flowers that bloom during spring. They are followed by small blue berries that attract wildlife.

The dark green leathery foliage remains on the branches throughout all seasons and take on a purple color in winter. It survives winters in mild climates.

Indian Hawthorn can be used for hedging and as dividers for different sections of your garden. They also grow well in containers.

The shrub attracts deer so you have to protect your shrubs if they are populous in your area. It attracts wild turkey, chickadees, cedar waxwings and mockingbirds. 

  • Reaches a height of 6ft and spreads 3-6ft at full maturity.
  • Requires exposure to full sunlight or partial shade. 
  • Grows well in heavy clay or sandy soils. The soil should be acidic or neutral, moist and well-drained. 
  • Ideal for USDA zones 8-11. 

2. Wax Myrtle (Morella cerifera)

Wax Myrtle (Morella cerifera)
Photo by Katja Schulz

An evergreen shrub native to America. It can reach a height of 20ft at full maturity. It produces light green foliage with a spicy fragrance. Female plants produce pale blueberries in the winter.

It is popular for use as a screen hedge and habitat and source of food for local animals. The plant exists in both standard and dwarf varieties. Wax Myrtle grows separate male and female parts so it is essential to grow them close together to allow pollination to occur.

It can be found naturally along streams, marshlands and swampy areas. It is a favorite food for the Red-branded Hairstreak butterfly. Appeals to bluebirds, tree swallows, warblers, catbirds, turkeys and bobwhites. It is moderately deer resistant. 

  • Requires full sunlight or partial shade conditions. 
  • Grows well in slightly acidic, loamy or clay, well-drained soils. 
  • Ideal for USDA zones 7-10. 

3. Evergreen Sumac (Rhus virens)

Evergreen Sumac (Rhus virens)
Photo by Homer Edward Price

A small evergreen shrub with spreading branches. It has shiny pink foliage that blooms in early spring and turns maroon after the first frost. The shrub produces white or greenish flowers that glow in 1-2-inch-long clusters. It can be used as a hedge screen. Only the female plants produce flowers and berries.

Evergreen Sumac is fast growing, insect and disease free and extremely tolerant to drought. You should ideally plant your plants using a spacing of 6-8ft to ensure a dense hedge.

The flagrant white flowers are favorite for birds, bees and butterfly.  Thrashers, mockingbirds, robins, white-throated sparrows and cedar waxwings will frequent the shrub. The nectar attracts adult butterflies. Moderately resistant to deer. 

  • Reaches a height of 8-10ft at full maturity.
  • Requires exposure to full sunlight or partial shade. 
  • Grows in USDA zones 7-10. 

4. Azaleas (Ericaceae species)

Photo by Raita Futo

Azaleas have brightly colored flowers and foliage that maintain year-round interest in your garden. Plant azaleas in late spring or early fall. Evergreen azalea species are best when they are planted alone.

They produce white, pink or red flowers that bloom during early spring or summer. They attract pollinators to your garden. Ruby-throated hummingbirds frequent the plant for nectar and food. They are likely to be affected by insects such as lace bugs and spider mites.

Azaleas are toxic to humans and animals. They are low maintenance as they do not require regular pruning. Typically, you should prune during late spring when the flowers drop off to allow for the summer bloom. 

  • Reach a height of 3-20ft and spread 20ft at full maturity. 
  • Grow well in well-drained acidic soils. If your soil has poor drainage, plant azaleas on a raised bed. 
  • Evergreen species thrive well in partial shade with wind protection. 
  • Ideal for USDA zones 6-10.

5. Viburnums

Viburnum tinus
Photo by Wendy Cutler

These evergreen flowering shrubs have many benefits to your garden. It produces colorful foliage, flowers and fruits that attract pollinators and birds. There are over 150 species of viburnums and you can choose the ideal plant for your location.

Bees and butterflies favor the flowers and they give way to pink, or red fruits that attract birds and wildlife. They are easy to maintain, as there is little need for pruning and they are not vulnerable to pests and diseases. Viburnums are drought resistant, and can be used as a privacy screen and for erosion control. 

  • Reaches a height of 20ft and spreads 12ft at full maturity. 
  • Requires full sunlight or partial shade. 
  • Grows best in acidic, well-drained soils. 
  • Ideal for USDA zones 3-8. 

Examples of Common Viburnums

  1. Arrowwood Viburnum (Viburnum dentatum) thrives in zones 3-8.
  2. Wentworth American Cranberry Bush (Viburnum trilobum) thrives in zones 2-7.
  3. Doublefile Viburnum (Viburnum plicatum) thrives in USDA zones 4-9. 

6. Winter Creeper (Euonymus fortunei)

Winter Creeper (Euonymus fortunei)
Photo by NatureServe

This evergreen climbing shrub is low maintenance. It produces brightly colored green or creamy white leaves that bloom around April. It produces small berries that are a favorite food for many bird species.

Winter Creeper is eaten by birds and other wildlife, which also aid in seed dispersal. It reaches a height of 6ft and spreads 20ft at full maturity. Winter Creeper can be used as groundcover to control erosion on slopes. It is susceptible to attacks by aphids, mildew and crown gall. 

  • Requires full sun or partial shade. 
  • Grows best in slightly acidic, well-drained soils. 
  • Ideal for USDA zones 4-9. 

7. Dwarf Bottlebrush (Callistemon viminalis)

Dwarf Bottlebrush
Photo by Tomás Del Coro

A dense evergreen shrub with blood-red flowers and blue-green foliage. It blooms throughout the year. The blooms are a nectar source for birds and hummingbirds.

The shrub is deer resistant. It is moderately drought tolerant and therefore requires regular watering. When planting, use a 3ft spacing to ensure it forms a dense shrub. It can be planted in pots. 

  • Reaches a height of 3ft and spreads 5ft at full maturity.
  • Requires exposure to full sunlight or partial shade. 
  • Grows well in acidic, well-drained soils.
  • Ideal for USDA zones 8-12. 

8. Gardenia

Photo by Alabama Extension

An evergreen shrub with fragrant flowers and dark green leaves. Attracts pollinators and birds to your garden. Native to the tropics and is sensitive to the cold. This plant requires more attention compared to other flowering shrubs.

Blooms during early summer; the right time to plant is during the fall. Vulnerable to aphids and spider mites. 

  • Reaches a height of 4-6ft and spreads 3ft at full maturity. 
  • Grow well in acidic, moist and well-drained soils. 
  • Requires full sunlight or partial shade. 
  • Ideal for USDA zones 8-11. 

9. Dwarf English Laurel (Prunus laurocerasus ‘Nana’)

A versatile evergreen low growing shrub. It has large and glossy green leaves and fragrant white flowers that bloom during spring. They turn into bright red berries, and then black, which attract birds to your garden.

Birds love the shrub as a source of food and nesting site. It is slow growing and reaches a height of 6ft and spreads 8ft at full maturity. It needs occasional pruning. The shrub can work as a hedge or screen, windbreak or dry shade for small creatures. 

  • Requires exposure to full sunlight or partial shade. 
  • Grows well in alkaline, and well-drained soils. 
  • Ideal for USDA zones 7-9. 


Evergreen shrubs can attract birds to your garden. Birds feed on seeds and fruits and use the shrubs as nesting sites. The above shrubs can do well in your garden, providing year-round color and nurturing a vibrant environment for birds and pollinators. The shrubs need little maintenance and will grow in a small space in your garden.