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Choosing plant for birds

I have recently started feeding birds on my balcony. Bluetits, Blackbirds and Thrushes (may be female Blackbirds, I've only seen them from the roadside) at the minute.

I would like to grow some kind of shrub that is suitable for a large container (80ltr. kitchen bin).  If possible it would be evergreen, produce berries and be hardy. I'm also a beginner when it comes to "permanent" plants as I tend to grow mainly annuals due to space. I was looking online and these plants caught my eye but I don't know if any would be suitable? -  Cotoneaster, Viburnum tinus, Pyracantha, Berberis and Sorbus reducta.

Forgot to mention that max height would be 1.5m and spread about the same.

Thanks for any help.


  • chicachica Posts: 252

    hi john i have cotoeaster and the birds are always in it and you can trim it if it gets to big,also pyracantha is evergreen and has loads of berries which they love im sure you will do well.

  • nutcutletnutcutlet PeterboroughPosts: 26,553

    Cotoneaster every time. Good forbees and birds. Wouldn't want to share a balcony with a pyracantha or a berberis - too painful.

  • mowfolkmowfolk Posts: 3

    Cotoneaster is listed as invasive, so if you are in a rural situation its better not to plant, the birds spread the seed. Mountain Ash can be pruned and coppiced, will have berries, and can grow on little soil. Its not evergreen, but the bark is very attractive

  • Is the balcony covered.i.e has a roof and therefore shady? If so you could try Sarcocca or Daphne laureola. They both have small fragrant flowers in late Winter/Spring and black berries in the Autumn.


    If the balcony is very light what about a crab apple grafted onto a dwarf rootstock?

  • Wow! Thanks for all the replies.

    I was concerned about the invasiveness of Cotoneasters. I live in the city centre so if I go with that it shouldn't be too much of a problem.

    I live on the ground floor so my neighbour's balcony is my roof. I do get quite a bit of sun on it. 3:00pm till sundown and the spot I've chosen for the plant is the sunniest spot. I forgot to mention there is a trellis there. Which I use as a wind-break so it's also quite sheltered.

    The Sarcocca and Daphne look quite interesting I'll do a bit more looking up on them.

    Sorry I know I keep asking questions (noobsimage) but when are the planting times for these?

    Thanks once again everyone


  • If they are container grown plants then most times of the year when the soil is 'workable' ie not when its frozen. Spring and Autumn are the best times to plant trees/shrubs.

    Sounds like you've got a bit more scope with the trellis aswell. If the pot you use is big enough you might get away with a climber aswell? Although i wouldn't encourage you to overcrowd it.

    Good Luck

  • First of all thanks for all the help and advice everyone I really appreciate it.

    I did a bit of thinking and eventually decided to get a cotoneaster Juliette, but it's a standard rather than a bush. I was searching around on the net and fell it love with it (didn't even know that they came as trees) It's got lovely variegated leaves and still produces berries. So hopefully The birds will love it!

    Many thanks once again


  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 79,180

    Sounds like a perfect choice - beautiful image

    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • Well I was going to post pics of the tree when it produced berries but unfortunately it died!image I think it was fireblight. I did have photos on my phone but i lost them when i upgraded. I've just planted some Hedera helix (Ivy) to grow up the trellis. so hopefully that will be an adequate (and cheaper) substitute. My bird feeders are drawing in several species of birds anyway so it's not too bad I supposeimage.


    Thanks once again for all your kind help


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