The Q&A Archives: Landscaping for Birds in Shade

Question: I would like to know what shrubs to plant on the north side of our house that would attract birds in the winter time (possibly something with berries). I would also appreciate any suggestions you might have for other plants, perennials and grasses, that would do well on the north side. We have a two story house and this area does not receive much direct sunlight.

Answer: Providing habitat for birds is a great reason for gardening! In your design, be sure to offer a birdbath or fountain that can operate throughout the year. A water source is often more attractive to our feathered friends than birdfeeders.

Some fruiting shrubs that do well with little sun include elderberries (Sorbus species), hollies (Ilex species), gold-dust plant (Aucuba japonica), lemonleaf (Gaultheria shallon), Gray dogwood (Cornus racemosa), Redosier Dogwood (Cornus sericea), Burning Bush (Euonymus alata), Oregon grape (Mahonia aquifolium), Privet (Ligustrum vulgare).

For other plant ideas, check the Shady Oaks Nursery Web site ( for a great variety of perennial plants for your backyard bird sanctuary. They provide a wealth of very helpful information about gardening in shade as well. Enjoy!

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