If you are a bird watcher, then you probably have several bird feeders scattered throughout your yard. But, there are natural ways to attract birds to your outdoor space that provide them with a food source while adding beauty to the yard, as well. You can find many perennials with seeds for birds that attract all bird types to the garden.
Numerous perennial plants produce seeds on their flower heads that birds enjoy eating. These seed heads draw in many different bird species such as songbirds, woodpeckers, nuthatches, titmice, goldfinches, chickadees, and blue jays.
Many of these birds favor one flower type over others. Native plants such as ornamental grass and wildflowers are necessary for the bird-plant relationship. These plants feed the birds during the fall and winter months when food sources become scarce.
There are a variety of flowering plants that are readily available at many garden centers and easy to add to a bird-loving garden.
- Do all Perennials Produce Seeds for Birds?
- Which Birds are Attracted to Seed Plants?
- What are the Benefits of Planting Seed-Bearing Perennials?
- Are Perennials with Seeds Hard to Grow?
- Black-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta)
- Tickseed (Coreopsis) – Perennials with Seeds for Birds
- Echinacea (Echinacea purpurea)
- Dogwood (Cornus) – Shrubs and Trees with Berry Seeds for Birds
- American Elderberry (Sambucus canadensis)
- Maximilian Sunflower (Helianthus maximiliani) – Perennial Sunflower that Produces Seeds for Birds
- Goldenrod (Solidago)
- Aster (Asteraceae) – Easy to Grow Seed-Producing Flowers
- Zinnia (Zinnia Elegans)
- Milkweed (Asclepias) – Perennials with Seed Fluff for Bird Nests
- Cornflower (Centaurea cyanus)
- Shasta Daisy (Leucanthemum × superbum) – Seed-Bearing Plants with Eye-Catching Flowers
- Globe Thistle (Echinops)
- Compass Plant (Silphium laciniatum) – Fragrant Seed-Producing Flower
Growing Seed Producing Perennials to Draw Birds to the Yard
Flowers serve many purposes. There are some plants that repel mosquitoes and others are famous for drawing in many pollinators such as hummingbirds and butterflies. However, there are also perennials that are beneficial to seed-eating birds such as the American goldfinch and juncos.
Not all perennials produce seeds, so it’s essential to choose the right ones and plant them in the perfect location to draw birds to your property.
Do all Perennials Produce Seeds for Birds?
While there are many different types of backyard perennials, not all of them produce seeds. The female plants of some types of flowers are seed bearers.
Other plants have both a female and male part inside the flower, but first, the flower needs pollination to produce seeds. Both flowering plants and cone plants are seed producers, and many of these are a favorite food source for birds.
Which Birds are Attracted to Seed Plants?
Small birds are happy to balance on the edge of the flower while plucking fresh seeds from the blooms, while larger bird species feast on seeds that fall to the ground.
American goldfinches enjoy seeds from coneflowers, daisies, and asters, while blue jays prefer sunflowers and wildflowers.
What are the Benefits of Planting Seed-Bearing Perennials?
A yard filled with colorful flowers adds visual appeal to the garden, but that is not the only benefit of growing plants in the yard.
Many types of flowers attract pollinators to the area, and seed-bearing perennials provide a buffet of food to a variety of birds that are too shy to visit open feeders. These plants are a natural food source for birds, and they continue producing yearly.
Are Perennials with Seeds Hard to Grow?
Many perennial plants are low maintenance and easy to grow, especially after they establish. Choose the right plants for your hardiness zone, give them the sun or shade they need to thrive, water them during dry periods, and feed them with fertilizer periodically.
Provide your seed-bearing flowers with these four needs, and they return the favor with a bounty of food for backyard birds.
Black-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta)
This daisy-like flower has gold petals with a dark centered seed head, and unlike coneflowers, black-eyed Susan has coarse-textured and hairy leaves.
The flower colors range from orange, yellow, and brown to mahogany and bronze and bloom from summer through fall.
Depending on the species, black-eyed Susan grows from 1 to 9 feet tall and is hardy in zones 4 through 9. This plant is drought tolerant and deer resistant and is one of the sun loving flowers.
Tickseed (Coreopsis) – Perennials with Seeds for Birds
This cheerful plant produces profuse blooms of yellow, orange, pink, and red flowers during the summer-time. Many birds, especially goldfinches, enjoy snacking on the seeds during the fall and winter months.
This plant has a mature size of 10 to 18 inches tall with a spread of 12 to 24 inches wide. Tickseed is hardy in zones 4 through 9 and enjoys full sun or part shade. This low-maintenance flower is drought tolerant and deer resistant.
Echinacea (Echinacea purpurea)
Echinacea, or purple coneflower, has a long blooming time from mid-summer to mid-fall in colors of rose-pink, purple, and mauve. The flowers are rich in nectar for pollinators, and the bristly seeds are a favorite among birds.
This hardy and drought tolerant plant is low maintenance. While they are not deerproof flowers, they are deer resistant. It thrives in sunny areas of hardiness zones 3 through 9, has a mature height of 1 to 3 feet, and grows 1 to 2 feet wide.
Dogwood (Cornus) – Shrubs and Trees with Berry Seeds for Birds
Many dogwood shrubs and tree varieties produce white flowers for pollinators during the spring and summer, followed by berries that birds love munching. They are fast-growing woody plants that have smooth-edged leaves with opposite branching.
Dogwoods grow 3 to 20 feet tall or more, depending on the variety. They enjoy part to full sun and are hardy in zones 3 through 8. These flowering specimen shrubs and trees provide year-round interest to the landscape.
American Elderberry (Sambucus canadensis)
This North American deciduous shrub produces white flowers in the spring that attract butterflies and birds to the yard. Plant elderberry bushes as an essential food source for songbirds during the summer months – many bird types enjoy eating the purplish-black fruit.
American elderberries have a mature size of 10 to 15 feet and thrive in partial shade to full sun. It is hardy in zones 3 through 10 and prefers acidic soil and tolerates a wide variety of growing conditions.
Maximilian Sunflower (Helianthus maximiliani) – Perennial Sunflower that Produces Seeds for Birds
This perennial sunflower is a tough plant with dark green leaves and daisy-like gold and yellow flowers with varying center disks. They bloom from early to mid-fall and produce sunflower seeds for birds to enjoy.
Maximilian sunflowers are hardy in zones 4 through 8 and reach 5 to 7 feet in height. They survive in harsh growing conditions, are drought tolerant, deer and rabbit resistant, and grow well in sunny plantings.
There are other sunflower varieties that are annuals for birds that they love. After the flowers finish blooming, leave the stalks standing for the birds to pick out the seeds.
Some consider goldenrod a wildflower, while others claim it is a weed, but birds such as finches, sparrows, and juncos enjoy eating the seeds. This plant is attractive while in bloom from mid or late summer through fall with its bright yellow flowers.
Goldenrod is a low maintenance plant that has a mature height of 1 to 8 feet with a 1 to 3-foot spread, depending on the type. It thrives in hardiness zones 4 through 8, enjoys part to full sun, and is deer resistant and drought tolerant.
Aster (Asteraceae) – Easy to Grow Seed-Producing Flowers
These easy growing flowers produce blooms in shades of purple, white, pink, and blue from spring to late fall when other flowers fade away. Asters attract all types of birds to the yard, including cardinals, chickadees, and nuthatches.
These flowering perennials grow 1 to 8 feet tall, spread 1 to 4 feet wide, and thrive in zones 3 through 9. They enjoy part to full sun, are drought tolerant and low maintenance.
Zinnia (Zinnia Elegans)
Zinnias come in a wide range of shapes, colors, and sizes, including low growing and tall growing types. They are a tough plant that produces colorful blooms in shades of pink, purple, white, green, yellow, and orange.
These flowers are low maintenance and deer resistant, and many birds love them for their seeds. Zinnias grow from 1 to 8 feet tall and 12 to 18 inches wide, depending on the variety, and they are hardy in sunny zones 2 through 11.
Milkweed (Asclepias) – Perennials with Seed Fluff for Bird Nests
This perennial plant is a food source for monarch caterpillars and a nectar source for pollinators. Birds like the goldfinch use the fluffy hairs attached to the seeds for nest-making. Milkweed blooms in shades of red, orange, white, pink, purple, and green.
Milkweed has a mature height of 1 to 8 feet tall and a width of 1 to 3 feet. This low maintenance plant is hardy in zones 3 through 9 and is deer resistant and drought tolerant.
Cornflower (Centaurea cyanus)
There are many different types of cornflowers. Some of them are annual, while others, such as the Centaurea montana, are perennial. They are cool weather plants that are commonly blue but sometimes pink, white, or lavender.
The pollen, nectar, foliage, and seeds of these plant nourish pollinators and birds. Perennial cornflowers are hardy in zones 3 through 8 and have a mature 3-foot height and spread, depending on the type. They are low maintenance and enjoy part or full sun.
Shasta Daisy (Leucanthemum × superbum) – Seed-Bearing Plants with Eye-Catching Flowers
Shastas produce white daisy flowers that are a favorite among gardeners. The flowers vary in degrees of size and doubleness, and birds, such as finches, enjoy eating the seeds as the flower dries out.
Shasta daisies are drought tolerant and low maintenance. They have a mature height of 1 to 3 feet tall with a width of 1 to 2 feet. The flowers bloom in summer and fall, and they prefer part to full sun areas.
Globe Thistle (Echinops)
These perennials that butterflies love produce perfectly shaped blue spheres throughout the summer-time. Globe thistle is an essential source of nectar for pollinators, a host plant for butterflies, and produces seeds that are a favorite among goldfinches.
Globe thistle has a mature size of 2 to 5 feet and is hardy in zones 3 through 9. This low maintenance plant enjoys full sun and dry growing conditions. This easy growing flower is deer resistant and remains compact in the right growing conditions.
Compass Plant (Silphium laciniatum) – Fragrant Seed-Producing Flower
This plant is a sturdy growing flower with leaves that line up in a north-south direction, which gives it its common name. It produces yellow prairie-style flowers during summer and fall and is a vital food source for many types of birds.
The compass plant grows as tall as 10 feet, depending on the type and location. It thrives in sunny areas in hardiness zones 5 through 9. This fragrant perennial is drought tolerant and low maintenance.
There are many types of flowers and plants that provide you with beautiful touches of nature to admire and are a steady and recurring food source for birds.
Unlike a bird feeder that needs refilling, perennial flowers grow back each year and provide seeds for birds like clockwork.
It’s easy to attract many different birds to the yard by planting perennials with seeds for birds, so why not share our perennial birdseed guide with your friends and family on Facebook and Pinterest?