Q. What kind of trees/bushes can we plant in our backyard to support urban wildlife?

My wife and I have just started gardening in our backyard this year. We live in a South Philly rowhouse with a small backyard that was covered in concrete until last year. We don't have much space, but it would be great to plant a tree or some bushes, or maybe both, that would support native wildlife, providing habitat and maybe food. We don't get much light back there, but we get some, and a tree couldn't have sprawling roots because they would interfere with our neighbors' properties. Do you have any suggestions for some such plants that South Philly needs more of?


One of the best plants would be a selection of several Blue Berry bushes:  not only will you have blue berries and beautiful bushes, but the birds will be happy.  Another shrub would be Ilex verticillata 'Sprite' and 'Jim Dandy'.  Sprite is the female and has wonderful berries that birds like.  Clethra 'Hummingbird" attracts butterflies, but I have not seen any Hummingbirds there.   A smallish tree that would be good would be Amelanchier canadensis 'Ballerina' as it has a small fruit that the birds love and then is also is a place for birds to nest or sit for protection.   Birds also like the fruit of our native Dogwood tree.  Most of the perennials that attract birds require sun, but Solomon's Seal and Jack in the Pulpit, Wintergreen (Gautheria procumbens) Partridge Berry attract birds.  I would also try Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis) and put it is you sunier wetter area.   Also Impatiens balsamina attracts butterflies and hummingbirds and is shade tolerant.  (watch out, it does reseed a little)

  • Last Updated Jan 08, 2019
  • Views 40
  • Answered By Aska Gardener

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