Grow These Top 10 Berries for the Birds

Grow These Top 10 Berries for the Birds

Winter is the season when wild birds need feeding so growing shrubs that produce berries provides the double benefit of food for the birds and our enjoyment of their presence. And until such time as the birds have consumed the berries we can enjoy the extra color in the garden. This list of 10 berry plants has been compiled by Deb Wiley and comes from the Birds and Blooms website.

Berries are an irresistible sweet treat for birds, particularly in winter when food is scarce. The fruits produced by these trees and shrubs provide calories and crucial nutrients that your favorite songbirds need, especially during the cold months when other natural food sources are nonexistent or buried in the snow. Check out our picks for trees with berries that backyard birds can?t resist!


1. Eastern redcedar

photo credit: Fast-Growing-Trees

Juniperus virginiana,?Zones 2 to 9

Size: 40 to 50 feet tall, 8 to 20 feet wide

Eastern redcedar and cedar waxwings form a marriage made in bird heaven. Several species adore the blue-gray fruits that resemble berries but are actually cones made of fused scales.

It may be tempting to grow several trees in a large group, but keep eastern redcedar away from apple and crabapple trees. A fungus known as cedar apple rust thrives when both apples and redcedars are present.

Why we love it: The pyramid shape provides dense nesting and roosting cover for many birds, including sparrows, robins, mockingbirds, juncos and warblers. Birds use the bark for nest material.

photo credit: Fast-Growing-Trees

2. Firethorn

photo credit: Fast-Growing-Trees

Pyracantha coccinea, Zones 5 to 8

Size: 6 to 18 feet tall and wide

Woody plant expert Michael Dirr says it best: ?For fruit display in the winter garden, few plants rival pyracanthas.? Birds flock to the clusters of orange to red fruits (technically called pomes, not berries) and may appear intoxicated when fruits are overripe.

Why we love it: Firethorns adapt to most conditions. Choose one that is resistant to fire blight.

3. Winterberry

photo credit: Proven Winners

Ilex verticillata, Zones 3 to 9

Size: 6 to 15 feet tall and wide, but varies by species

Songbirds, waterfowl and game birds love the fruits of this common holly, especially in late winter when food is scarce. Winterberry grows best in full sun and tolerates wet soil in spring and drought in summer.

Why we love it: Crimson berries add color to the winter landscape. Plant in groups for major impact.

See more at Birds and Blooms

I am a keen gardener and so created Garden Pics and Tips for people who love gardens and enjoy great pictures of plants and gardens. Also covered are practical tips on all aspects of gardening.