Plants

Plants

Helen Freeston

Wildlife gardening doesn't have to mean leaving untidy areas, creating vast wildflower meadows or planting only native plants.

You can create a beautiful garden while still attracting wildlife. And wildlife can help your garden too! You'll need the help of bees to pollinate your crop if you grow fruit or vegetables, and by choosing your plants wisely, you can attract all sorts of beneficial insects to your garden. 

Adding just a few wildlife friendly plants can make a real difference to bees, hoverflies, moths, butterflies and birds.

A mix of native and non-native plants give a longer flowering season and provide a more consistent food source. For smaller gardens or window boxes look out for dwarf varieties suitable for pots and tubs.

Download our planting for wildlife chart.

Buying wildlife friendly plants

Many garden centres, nurseries or online suppliers have sections dedicated to wildlife friendly plants. There are also many signs and symbols that are widely used to show if a plant is good for pollinators or butterflies, or if it is a native variety. While this can be a useful guide, sometimes the information can be confusing and conflicting. If you're able to, we recommend you go to a garden centre armed with these questions:

1. Is the plant in peat-free compost?
2. Is the plant good for pollinators?
3. Is the plant free of pesticides? In particular neonicotinoids?

You may be unable to find a garden centre that can say 'yes' to all three of these questions, but by asking it will give you a better idea as to which are more beneficial than others.