Attracting Birds

with Florida’s Native Wildflowers

Landscaping with Florida’s native wildflowers and plants provides refuge for birds, bees and butterflies while creating “habitat highways” through urban settings.

Add wildflowers to your landscape now to help birds thrive!

To bring birds into your landscape, plant a variety of Florida native wildflowers that provide food and habitat. Include species that produce nectar and seeds, attract insects, and offer shelter.

Wildflowers for nectar

Hummingbirds gather nectar from wildflowers with tubular flowers. Many flowers produce fruit that other birds will eat.

Hummingbird on Standing cypress, Ipomopsis rubra
Hummingbird on Standing cypress (Ipomopsis rubra) by Peg Urban

Wildflowers for insects and caterpillars

Most birds feed insects to their chicks, and many insects visit wildflowers for nectar and pollen. Insect-eating birds include goldfinches, chickadees, titmice, cardinals, grosbeaks, wood warblers, blue jays, sparrows, thrashers, nuthatches, crows and mockingbirds. Some great Florida wildflowers to plant for attracting insects are:

Long-tailed Skipper on Blazing star (Liatris sp.) by Mary Keim

Wildflowers for seeds

Sparrows, warblers, finches, nuthatches, titmice, chickadees, cardinals and indigo buntings feed on seeds, as well as larger birds like thrashers, redwing blackbirds, bobwhites, doves, mockingbirds, catbirds and grosbeaks. After wildflowers have bloomed, leave seedheads on the plants for birds. Other flowerheads may shatter, scattering seeds on the ground that  attract smaller birds, such as finches.

Northern parula on Coreopsis
Northern parula on Coreopsis by Christina Evans

Gardening tips

  • Choose a diversity of wildflowers that bloom across the seasons.
  • Include species of various heights.
  • Cluster wildflowers in groups of 3 or more of each species.
  • Leave space in your plantings for growth and movement.
  • Include native trees such as oaks, black cherry, maples and pines that provide insects.
    Remember: Decomposing leaf litter used as mulch is also a source for insects.
  • Add a birdbath to complete your bird sanctuary.
A birdbath provides water for drinking and bathing.

Great wildflowers for birds

The following native wildflowers and plants work well in home landscapes and provide food and resources for native birds.

Wild columbine

Wild columbine (Aquilegia canadensis) is one of Florida’s most striking and unique native wildflowers. It occurs naturally in only three counties in the Panhandle and is a state-listed endangered species.
Read more… Wild columbine


Crossvine (Bignonia capreolata) puts on a spectacular spring display of orange tubular flowers. They are mainly pollinated by hummingbirds but attract some butterflies, as well.
Read more… Crossvine
Trumpet creeper, Campsis radicans

Trumpet creeper

Trumpet creeper (Campsis radicans) is a high-climbing woody vine so named because its showy flowers are trumpet-shaped. They bloom year-round and are very attractive to hummingbirds.
Read more… Trumpet creeper
Purple thistle flower

Purple thistle

Purple thistle (Cirsium horridulum) is a larval host for the Little metalmark and Painted lady butterflies. The seeds are an important food source for seed-eating birds.
Read more… Purple thistle
Mistflower blooms


Mistflower (Conoclinium coelestinum) gives the appearance of a blue fog when blooming en masse. Its flowers are very attractive to pollinators, especially butterflies, moths and long-tongued bees.
Read more… Mistflower
Florida tickseed bloom

Florida tickseed

Florida tickseed (Coreopsis floridana) is one of 12 Coreopsis species native to Florida. It is endemic to the state and occurs naturally in wet pinelands and prairies, cypress swamp edges…
Read more… Florida tickseed
Lanceleaf tickseed flower

Lanceleaf tickseed

Lanceleaf tickseed (Coreopsis lanceolata ) has conspicuously sunny flowers that typically bloom in spring. It attracts butterflies and other pollinators, and its seeds are eaten by birds and small wildlife.
Read more… Lanceleaf tickseed

Swamp tickseed

Swamp tickseed (Coreopsis nudata) blooms in spring and is attractive to bees, although butterflies and other pollinators are known to visit them. Birds eat its seeds.
Read more… Swamp tickseed


Coralbean (Erythrina herbacea ) is a deciduous to evergreen woody shrub. It produces red tubular flowers that attract hummingbirds and butterflies.
Read more… Coralbean


Firebush (Hamelia patens var. patens) is a hardy, fast-growing and showy evergreen shrub to small tree. It produces clusters of bright orange to red tubular flowers that are filled with…
Read more… Firebush
Common sneezeweed, Helenium autumnale

Common sneezeweed

Common sneezeweed (Helenium autumnale) is an herbaceous perennial with cheerful yellow flowers. It typically blooms spring through fall, attracting moths, butterflies, bees and other pollinating insects.
Read more… Common sneezeweed
Dune sunflower bloom

Dune sunflower

Dune (or beach) sunflower (Helianthus debilis) typically flowers in summer, but may bloom year-round. Its bright yellow flowers attract a variety of pollinators, including butterflies, moths and bees.
Read more… Dune sunflower

Rayless sunflower

Rayless sunflower (Helianthus radula) is a unique member of the Helianthus genus—its ray florets are almost entirely absent. It blooms spring through fall and attracts a variety of pollinators.
Read more… Rayless sunflower

Lakeside sunflower

Lakeside sunflower (Helianthus carnosus) is a perennial wildflower endemic to northeast Florida that inhabits open sunny edges of lakes and marshes. The beautiful bright yellow flowers attract a variety of…
Read more… Lakeside sunflower
Standing cypress flower

Standing cypress

Standing cypress (Ipomopsis rubra) blooms summer through fall and occurs naturally in sandhills, coastal strands, dunes and ruderal areas. It is very attractive to butterflies as well as other pollinators.
Read more… Standing cypress
Palamedes swallowtail on Dense gayfeather, Liatris spicata

Dense gayfeather

Dense gayfeather (Liatris spicata) has striking spikes of purple flowers that bloom late summer through fall and are excellent attractors of butterflies, bees and other beneficial insects.
Read more… Dense gayfeather
Coral honeysuckle flowers

Coral honeysuckle

Coral honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens) flowers are attractive to many butterflies, and hummingbirds find them irresistible. Birds such as Northern cardinals enjoy the bright red berries.
Read more… Coral honeysuckle
Spotted beebalm flowers.

Spotted beebalm

Spotted beebalm (Monarda punctata) is a robust, aromatic wildflower known to attract a huge variety of pollinating insects, including bees, wasps and butterflies. It blooms from early summer through fall.
Read more… Spotted beebalm

Wild coffee

Wild coffee (Psychotria nervosa) flowers typically bloom in spring and summer, but may bloom year-round. They are attractive to a variety of pollinators, especially Atala and Schaus’ swallowtail butterflies.
Read more… Wild coffee
Tropical sage flowers

Tropical sage

Tropical sage (Salvia coccinea) is a versatile perennial wildflower that no pollinator can resist, but it is particularly attractive to bees, large butterflies and hummingbirds.
Read more… Tropical sage

Lyreleaf sage

Lyreleaf sage (Salvia lyrata) is an attractive perennial with leafless spikes of tubular, lavender to bluish flowers. Bees are its predominant pollinator, but it also attracts butterflies and hummingbirds.
Read more… Lyreleaf sage
Seaside goldenrod flower stalk with bees

Seaside goldenrod

The conspicuous golden blooms of Seaside goldenrod (Solidago sempervirens) are found on dunes, in tidal marshes, bogs and sandy flatwoods, along roadsides and in disturbed areas in Florida’s coastal counties…
Read more… Seaside goldenrod
close-up of a Wood sage inflorescence in bloom

Wood sage

Also known as Canadian germander, Wood sage (Teucrium canadense) flowers attract a variety of native long-tongued insects that will use the flower’s lower lip as a landing pad. Birds find…
Read more… Wood sage
Vaccinium myrsinites

Shiny blueberry

Shiny blueberry (Vaccinium myrsinites) is a low evergreen shrub that flowers heavily in the spring. It occurs naturally in mesic pine flatwoods, sandhills, scrubby flatwoods, dry prairies and scrub habitats…
Read more… Shiny blueberry
Dwarf huckleberry flowers are small, white and bell-shaped

Dwarf huckleberry

Dwarf huckleberry (Gaylussacia dumosa) is a low-growing colonial shrub found in pine savannas, flatwoods, sandhills and scrub throughout much of Florida. The plant is a larval host for the woodland…
Read more… Dwarf huckleberry


Sparkleberry (Vaccinium arboreum) blooms in spring, attracting a variety of pollinators — especially native bees. It is the larval host for the Striped hairstreak and Henry’s elfin butterflies.
Read more… Sparkleberry
Frostweed flowers


Frostweed (Verbesina virginica) typically flowers late summer through fall along moist forest and hammock edges throughout the state. It is attractive to many bees, butterflies and other pollinators.
Read more… Frostweed
Great Southern white on Tall ironweed, Vernonia gigantea

Giant ironweed

Giant ironweed (Vernonia gigantea) is a robust perennial wildflower that blooms in summer and fall, with peak blooming in July. It attracts many pollinators, particularly butterflies.
Read more… Giant ironweed