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Plants for wildlife

Hi everyone,

I am looking to make my garden more friendly towards wildlife and need ideas for plants that I could use to attract birds, bees, butterflies, insects etc. The problem is that the garden is very small so I can only use small plants and I do not have much border space so the plants preferably need to be happy in containers.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. image



  • Steve 309Steve 309 Posts: 2,753

    The poached egg plant (Limanthes douglasii) is qute small and is supposed to attract bees and hoverflies but I'd've thought it's a bit late in the year to get them going now.  Next year though.   Anything with lots of nectar - lavender is great - gets covered in bees from now till the flowers fade and i think you can get dwarf ones that will do in pots.

    Foxgloves and Buddleia (esp B. globosa) if you have room, although I'm not sure how well they'd do in containers.  Nettles - lots of caterpillars feed on the leaves.  (Cabbages too!)

    Have a corner (at least) where you can leave bits of wood and similar debris.  Good for beetles etc.

  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 26,974

    Thymes, I've been observing the bees on mine. They like the dark purply red best, followed by the light mauve and the white not at all. I don't like the white either, I won't keep that for next year.

    Avoid double flowers WG, there's nothing there for insects

    In the sticks near Peterborough
  • gardeningfanticgardeningfantic Posts: 1,019

    Wildlife Gardener 123.. i am the same i have changed my garden round to suit bees and butterflies birds and all..

    so for pots.. dwarf buddleha , dwarf cosmos, veberna rigida is ok in pots but is low growing so ok in beds also at front, nepeta.. dwarf lavender.. sedum to a degree and that is later flowering.. or if you have a wall/fence try some ivy growing up that provides late nectar and nesting and hiding places also..

    or u can go for standard buddleha and plants also. they are good in pots..

    but tbh not many are good in pots bar the summer bedding plants.. as they get dried out soo much. and if u want perennials to come each year they need to go in the ground.. really..

    as steve309 said do bug houses.. and bee homes. for the last 3 years we have had bumble bee colony living under our shallet. its wonderful to watch them come nad go

  • bekkie hughesbekkie hughes Posts: 5,294
    Any chance you could make a little pond in a pot? Makes the world of difference! image
  • LynLyn Posts: 21,322

    My chive flowers have looked lovely this year and have been covered in bees. I am thinking of growing them in the flower border, not just on the veg patch. 

    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • gardeningfanticgardeningfantic Posts: 1,019

    @Lyn.. yes i do hun they look so good and i love their bright colours and continuous flowering time..

  • Thank you everyone for all of the suggestions, I am going to the garden centre tomorrow so I will look their for some of the plants that you suggested. image




  • Mrs GMrs G Posts: 336

    I have echinacea in a pot, the bees like that,, heuchera which the hoverflies like and nepeta.

  • bookmonsterbookmonster Posts: 399

    Herbs are great for bees and good at surviving drought, so can be good in containers! If you have a small space, remember you will get more pollinating insects if you have a lot of a few things rather than a little bit of everything. It makes the flowers easier to find and they can lazily hop from one bloom to the next!

  • How can I attract frogs into my wildlife pond ..its new and have followed advice from a gardening Programme....any tips


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