A wildlife garden provides food and shelter for animals from the smallest butterflies to large deer. Whether a small container garden on a terrace or a large acre or more in the country, with the right plants you can serve the wildlife population and be named an official Certified Wildlife Habitat by the World Wildlife Federation.
Beautyberry (Callicarpa americana) is a food source for painted buntings, mockingbirds, house finches, gray catbirds, brown thrashers, northern bobwhite, northern cardinals, American robins and other varieties of songbirds. The plant is a deciduous shrub that grows from 3 to 6 feet tall and wide. Lavender-pink flowers bloom from June through August and give way to an abundance of violet to magenta fruits. Plant beautyberry in full sun or partial shade in a soil that is moist and organically rich. The plant is hardy in USDA zones 6 to 10
Cape honeysuckle (Tecomaria capensis) is native to the Cape of Good Hope region of South Africa and attracts hummingbirds and orioles. The plant is a shrub that grows up to 10 feet tall and half as wide or spreads out to 25 feet, depending on how it is pruned. Compound leaves are made up of from five to seven leaflets about 2 inches long and grow up to 6 inches. Red-orange or tube-shaped flowers measure 2 inches long, grow in clusters and bloom in the fall and winter. Plant in full sun in a soil that is moist to dry and well drained. Cape honeysuckle is hardy in USDA zones 9 to 11.
Firewitch (Dianthus gratianopolitanus) is hardy in USDA zones 3 to 9 and needs full sun and well-drained soil. The plant is an evergreen with blue-green and silver leaves from 3 to 4 inches long and 6 to 12 inches wide. Purple-pink flowers measure 6 to 8 inches long, have a clove-like fragrance and bloom in the spring, summer and fall. Firewitch attracts giant swallowtails, tiger swallowtails, eastern swallowtails, pipevine swallowtails skippers and hairstreak butterflies who stop by for the nectar.
Common persimmon (Diospyros virginiana) provides food for deer, turkeys, raccoons and squirrels. The tree grows up to 60 feet tall and 20 to 35 feet wide, with a trunk diameter of 2 feet. Oval or egg-shaped leaves measure 4 to 8 inches long and 2 to 4 inches wide and change from green to red or yellow in the fall. White flowers bloom in the spring and are followed by orange fruits from 1 to 3 inches long. Common persimmon is hardy in USDA zones 4B through 9, needs full sun and grows in a well-drained soil.