Top 12 Small Trees & Shrubs to Attract Butterflies & Birds Beautiful Bird and Butterfly Lures for Gardens or Containers

Top 12 Small Trees & Shrubs to Attract Butterflies & Birds
  • Posted April 13, 2017

One of the joys of growing shrubs and trees in the landscape or potted in large planters, is observing the beautiful birds and butterflies they attract. Here are recommendations of small shrubs and trees that provide berries, nectar, seeds or perches to entice local birds and butterflies to visit your garden.

Butterfly and Bird Attracting Plants

Arrowwood Viburnum

Arrowwood Viburnum

(Viburnum dentatum)

Growing 6-15' (2-4.5m) tall, the berries of this native plant are enjoyed by birds and the white flowers are frequented by butterflies. This is a great choice for hedges or planting along fences and walls.

Blue Mist Spirea

Blue Mist Spirea Hint of Gold 'Lisaura'

(Caryopteris x clandonensis)

The rich blue blooms contrast beautifully with the golden green leaves of this 24-30" (60-75cm) tall selection. The leaves retain their golden green color, even in the hottest summer weather. This is a terrific plant to include in butterfly gardens.

White Butterfly Bush

Butterfly Bush 'White Ball'

(Buddleia Hybrid)

The highly fragrant blossoms attract an assortment of butterflies to the garden. This attractive, dwarf selection, 24-36" (60-90cm) tall, displays white flower spikes against silver-blue foliage.


Crabapple DreamWeaver™

(Malus Hybrid)

This selection is a fine choice for the landscape, offering excellent flowers and fruits. DreamWeaver™ forms a lovely narrow, upright 5-10' (1.5-3m) tree with purple leaves and pink flowers. Crabapple trees provide nesting sites, cover, and winter-persistent fruits for birds.



(Hamelia patens)

An extremely hardy, versatile and low maintenance shrub that grows 3-6' (1-2m) tall. The clusters of vibrant red-orange, tubular blossoms are loved by hummingbirds and butterflies. An additional attraction is the leaves turn bright red in autumn.

Glossy Abelia 'Kaleidoscope'

Glossy Abelia 'Kaleidoscope'

(Abelia x grandiflora)

Expect a colorful combination of leaves and flowers from this lovely 24-36" (60-90cm) tall shrub. The leaves transition from yellow to orange and red in autumn. The highly fragrant white flowers attract butterflies.

Lavender 'Aromatico'

Lavender Aromatico™

(Lavandula angustifolia)

This reliable garden favorite displays highly fragrant flowers and leaves, which attract an assortment of butterflies. Plant this outstanding selection near walkways, decks and patios, where the scent can be enjoyed and the butterfly visitors appreciated up close.

Lemon Bottlebrush

Lemon Bottlebrush 'Little John'

(Callistemon citrinus)

This shrub becomes covered by bottle brush-like red flowers and has distinctive lemon-scented leaves. This plant also tolerates heavy pruning. The flowers are loved by hummingbirds.


Serviceberry 'Regent'

(Amelanchier alnifolia)

This compact selection, 4-6' (1.2-2m) tall, provides flowers and fruit for enjoyment. This is an early blooming deciduous shrub that produces deep purple fruit that is extra sweet and juicy. The berries are loved by people and birds alike.



(Lindera benzoin)

This aromatic, native shrub produces clusters of yellow flowers before the leaves appear in spring. Bright red berries, which are attractive to birds, develop on female plants. This plant is a valuable food source for spicebush swallowtail caterpillars, rather than being a nectar source. Grows from 6-12' (2-4m) tall.

Weigela 'Pink Poppet'

Weigela 'Pink Poppet'

(Weigela florida)

This low maintenance, 24" (60cm) tall shrub provides a charming display of dainty pink blooms. The flowers are appreciated by hummingbirds.

Winterberry Holly

Winterberry Holly 'Red Sprite' aka 'Compacta' aka 'Nana'

(Ilex verticillata)

This slow growing, suckering, deciduous, 3-5' (1-1.5m) tall shrub produces long-lasting, bright red berries that persist in the winter landscape. The berries are eaten by birds, but take note that male and female plants are needed to obtain fruit.

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About the Author

Tamara Horne is an ecologist, a knitter, Garden Communicator (GWA) member, and horticulturist at MasterTag – a horticultural printing company.

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Top 12 Small Trees & Shrubs to Attract Butterflies & Birds

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