9 Potted Plants that Attract Birds to your Yard

Birds love a colorful garden. You may want to bring birds to your lawn, but you have limited space. You can overcome this by using potted plants. Plants grown in containers will offer food and shelter for birds. They are portable and add color to your garden. 

Potted plants will need more maintenance and watering compared to wildflowers but will give you a lot of flexibility in managing the appearance of your garden and use of space. 

The following potted plants can help attract birds to your garden:

1. Elderberry (Sambucus Canadensis)

Elderberry (Sambucus Canadensis)
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The plant is best for attracting birds of different varieties across America. The plant produces dark blue fruits which can sustain different bird species including brown thrashers and red-eyed vireos. It also produces flowers that attract pollinators.

It is one of the essential berry bushes for birds. It blooms during spring. You should begin growing the plant around March and April. It attracts waxwings, bluebirds, woodpeckers, warblers, mockingbirds, house finches, robins, goldfinches, towhees, and grosbeaks.

The berries are high in vitamins A and C which makes them a perfect source of foods for birds, especially before the winter months. It has spreading branches that will support nesting. 

  • It can reach a height of 5-12ft and spread up to 10ft. 
  • Grows best in well-drained soils.
  • Requires full sunlight or partial shade. 
  • Ideal for hardiness zones 3-8. 

Trees that attract birds to your garden!

2. Milkweed (Asclepias spp.)

Milkweed (Asclepias spp.)
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This is one of the best-potted plants to have if you need to attract birds to your garden. The plant blooms from late spring to early fall.

It is mostly known as a source of food for the Monarch butterfly. Therefore, birds will frequent these plants to feed on the insects. Birds such as hummingbirds will go to the plant to feed on the nectar. The plant mainly attracts insectivorous birds and hummingbirds. The twigs and branches are perfect nesting sites for birds such as goldfinches and yellow warblers. 

  • It can reach a height of 1ft -8ft. 
  • Require well-drained soils.
  • Grows best in full sunlight or partial shade. 
  • Ideal for hardiness zones 4-9. 

3. Cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis spp.)

Cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis spp.)
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The plant belongs to the bellflower family and is a good potted plant to bring birds to your garden. It produces foliage during autumn which is preferred by songbirds, especially hummingbirds.

The Cardinal flower is a type of wildflower. Find other examples of wildflowers to grow you can grow in pots here.

The plant also produces fruits which makes it a reliable food source. It is favored by hummingbirds which like to feed on its nectar, from the red-colored flowers. The plant is also a perfect nesting site and source of food for insectivorous birds. 

  • The plant reaches a height of 1-6ft at full maturity. 
  • It thrives in partial sunlight or full shade. 
  • Ideal for hardiness zones 3-9. 

4. Coneflower (Echinacea spp.)

Coneflower (Echinacea spp.)
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This wildflower is favored by birds such as the American goldfinch and the Baltimore oriole. It is easy to grow, and produces purple flowers with white edges. It attracts butterflies and bees and produces seeds that are favored by birds including cardinals, blue jays and goldfinches. It is a hardy perennial which will manage to bloom throughout the year. 

  • It grows to around 12-36 inches tall. 
  • Thrives in full sunlight or partial shade. 
  • Soil needs to be alkaline to ensure optimum growth. 
  • Ideal for hardiness zones 3-8. 

5. Fuchsia (Fuchsia magellanica)

Fuchsia (Fuchsia magellanica)
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The plant has a variety of colors and can be planted in a container to attract birds to your garden. It is preferred by hummingbirds and bees because of nectar. The dense branches offer ideal locations for nesting. Blooms in spring, summer or fall. 

  • It reaches a height of 1-2ft and spreads to 2ft at full maturity. 
  • Requires acidic, well-drained soils. 
  • Thrives best in full sunlight or partial shade. 
  • Ideal for hardiness zones 10-11. 

6. Goldenrod (Solidago spp.)

Goldenrod (Solidago spp.)
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This wildflower native to the United States can be grown in your pot garden. It produces golden yellow flowers which are a favorite source of nectar for hummingbirds and butterflies. The seeds are eaten by various birds including finches, sparrows and juncos. It is planted in the fall or spring and is an aggressive spreader. 

  • The plant reaches a height of 1.5-5ft tall and 1-ft at full maturity. 
  • Requires exposure to full sunlight.
  • Thrives best in moist, well-drained soils. 
  • The soil should be neutral or slightly acidic.
  • Ideal for hardiness zones 2a-8b. 

7. Trumpet Honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens)

Trumpet Honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens)
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The plant is semi-evergreen in cold climates but evergreen in warm winter regions. It is a medium-sized climber that produces scarlet tubular flowers which are 2 inches long. These flowers bloom from early spring, through to early stages of summer.

The flowers give way to red berries in late summer, which are a good source of food for birds. They are preferred by hummingbirds, bees and butterflies. As the vine grows thicker, the trumpet honeysuckle will provide a good nesting site for small birds. The plant is generally low maintenance and resilient against diseases and pests, but is vulnerable to attacks by aphids. It is deer resistant. 

  • Grows to 8-15ft high and 3-16ft wide at full maturity. 
  • The plant is a sun lover and thrives in well-drained soils. 
  • Requires regular watering when it is grown in containers. 
  • Ideal for hardiness zones 4-9. 

USDA- Honeysuckle

8. Parrot’s Beak (Lotus berthelotii)

Parrot’s Beak (Lotus berthelotii)
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This evergreen perennial has silver gray, needle-like leaves. It flowers during late spring and early summer. The plant is deer resistant but it attracts butterflies and hummingbirds. Its nectar is high in sugar and this is preferred by many birds. The seeds from the plant are the favorite food for many birds. Its bushy growth makes it a perfect nesting location for small birds. 

  • Grows to a height of 8-12 inches and spreads 2-3ft at full maturity. 
  • Requires full sunlight or partial shade. 
  • Thrives in well-drained soils. 
  • Requires regular watering when grown in pots. 
  • Highly resistant to diseases and pests. 
  • Ideal for hardiness zones 10-11.

9. Aster (Symphotrichum spp.)

Aster (Symphotrichum spp.)
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A bright colorful perennial which provides nectar for pollinators during fall. It is a preferred source of food and nectar for migrating birds. It also provides a great nesting site for small birds.

The plant is not vulnerable to pests but it is recommended to keep an eye out for aphids, mites and lace bugs. Preferred by insectivorous birds such as goldfinches and chickadees and tree sparrow and wild turkey that feed on its leaves and seeds. 

  • It reaches a height of 6-8 ft. and spreads 1-3ft at full maturity. 
  • Thrives best in moist, well drained soils. 
  • Ideal for hardiness zones 3 -8.


You can grow potted plants in your garden if you have limited space. If you want to attract birds to your plant you can grow any of the above-mentioned plants in containers. They will require regular maintenance, especially watering. They are an ideal way to maximize the space in your garden while attracting local birds to enjoy the flowers and fruits.