Gardeners wishing to create a wildlife garden or an environment attracting various bird species have many flowering plants from which to choose. Those that are low on gardening space can grow bird-attracting plants in hanging baskets. They will not only attract birds, but will also add color to an otherwise bland area in the landscape. Many unusual flowers grown as perennials in one region are suitable for use in cooler areas as annuals.
Trailing lantana (Lantana montevidensis) is a flowering evergreen with a flowing habit making it suitable for use in hanging baskets, as well as planted in the ground. Plants act as perennials in its growing range of U.S. Department of Agriculture Hardiness Zones 9 through 11. Cooler areas should treat trailing lantana as an annual. Cultivars are available in white or shades of pink or purples. The plant blooms heaviest summer throughout autumn, with flower clusters resembling small bouquets attracting hummingbirds.
Situate lantana in full sun for the best production of blooms. This fast grower is relatively tolerant to drought but performs and blooms best with weekly watering. The plant has a high tolerance to salty conditions, making it a suitable choice for wildlife gardens located in coastal areas.
Shrimp plant (Justica brandegeana) has a trailing habit making it suitable as a hanging basket plant. Maroon, greenish and white, shrimp-like flowers bloom throughout summer, attracting a variety of birds including hummingbirds. The plant acts as a perennial throughout its growing range of USDA hardiness zones 8b through 11. Cooler areas of the country should treat shrimp plant as an annual. Shrimp plant is available in various cultivars producing yellow as well as white flowers.
Plants perform and bloom best situated in full to partial sun and planted in well-draining soils. Shrimp plants have a medium tolerance to drought conditions, but will look and flower best with regular applications of water. Prune the limbs to make plants fuller, if desired.
Tropical sage (Salvia coccinea) is a North American native growing as a perennial throughout its optimal planting range of USDA hardiness zones 8 through 10. In zones 6 through 8 plants will reseed themselves; cooler areas should treat tropical sage as an annual. It has a variable growth habit and works well planted inside hanging baskets. The scarlet, long-lipped flowers borne on spikes attract hummingbirds and butterflies, blooming throughout spring and summer.
Plants grow relatively fast and bloom best situated in full sun. It prefers growing in well-draining soil mediums and has a medium drought-tolerance. Tropical sage will look best with regular weekly watering. Deadheading spent flower spikes promotes continuous blooms and makes the plant fuller.