Shrubs for Wildlife

Shrubs perform many functions in the garden, from providing screens to acting as a backdrop for flowering ornamental plants. Shrubs that can also bring wildlife to the yard bring extra joy to the gardener who enjoys watching nature unfold after the watering and weeding is done for the day.


Gumi (Elaeagnus multiflora) is a deciduous shrub native to Japan and China that produces striking red berries. Though not well known in the United States, Gumi is popular elsewhere in the world for its berries, which are edible for humans and for birds such as cardinals, orioles and mockingbirds. Gumi is a drought-tolerant plant that thrives in full sun and will easily handle salty or alkaline soils. The quick growing plant boasts oval-shaped leaves and clusters of fragrant, cream colored flowers.

Alpine Currant

Alpine currant (Ribes alpinum) is a low-growing, berry-producing shrub native to regions in northern and central Europe. The plant has been recorded to attract more than 98 species of birds, including robins, sparrows, flickers and towhees. The shrub has palmate leaves and brilliant red berries that ripen in the summer. Alpine currant grows in well-drained, moist soils that have neutral pH levels. The shrub will generally tolerate full sun to shade.

Rabbiteye Blueberry

Rabbiteye blueberry (Vaccinium ashei) is an open, spreading shrub native to the southeastern United States that produces pinkish berries that gradually turn deep purple. The berries draw a variety of different species of birds, while the flowers attract bees and bumblebees. Rabbiteye blueberry is easy to care for, although the plant is picky about soil. Rabbiteye needs well-drained soils with a low pH: Heavy clay soils or water logged soils just won't work. Full sun is ideal for this pest-free plant.

Keywords: wildlife plants, attract birds, shrub types

About this Author

Michelle Wishhart is a writer based out of Astoria, Ore. She has been writing professionally for five years, starting with her position as a staff arts writer for an alternative weekly paper in Santa Cruz. She has a B.A. in fine arts from the University of California in Santa Cruz and a minor in English literature.