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Top ten plants for wildlife!

All wildlife in the garden needs a safe place to rest, feed, breed, nest and roost whether it is a lone Blackbird or a family of Wood mice!

These refuges take shape in many forms, from old log piles to compost heaps, artificial wildlife boxes to ancient hedgerows, all of which provide excellent places for our native species to shelter, court, mate and feed!

Why are plants so important for wildlife?

Growing the right sort of plants, trees and shrubs is very important when planning your wildlife garden, as having the right flora will encourage wildlife and provide them with the necessaries (home, food, etc) all year round. Thinking about the hundreds of types of native plants which will provide these thing for wildlife needn’t be a worry as our guide below will help give you a few ideas and bring wonderful native wildlife flocking, quite literally to your garden!

Our Top Ten Plants!

  1. Ivy – One of the most important plants in the garden, as it provides food and shelter for birds and mammals all year
  2. Common Nettle – Another great plant to have in the garden, as it supplies food for emerging caterpillars as well as a refuge for the adult butterflies and moths
  3. Honeysuckle – A brilliant climber to have in the garden, provedes food and shelter and a lovely scent day and night.
  4. Buddleia – Again, really important in the garden, providing food and shelter for birds, bees, butterflies and moths
  5. Bramble – Provides nesting sites for dozens of small bird species, the leaves provide food for many moths, the flowers provide nectar for butterflies and the berries provide food for birds, mammals and insects late into the year.
  6. Lavender – A wonderful scent and bees love it!
  7. Primrose – Flowering early in spring, Primroses provide essential nectar for Bees and Bee flies.
  8. Dog rose – finches, such as the rare Bullfinch LOVE devouring their seeds
  9. Marigold – Provide nectar for insects and attract hoverflies, which keep the aphid population down!
  10. Bugle – Excellent cover for invertebrates such as the Silver-Y-Moth and amphibians such as toads

Photo by Mike

Native Species Quick List

As well as our top ten, why not try a few other of our favorite plants, in our favorite habitats, to attract wildlife?


Common Foxglove, Common Bluebell, Common Ivy, Lesser Celandine, Ramsons, Soft Shield Fern, Wood Anemone, Common Snowdrop, Common Daffodil, Gemander Speedwell, Lords-and-ladies, Solomon's Seal, Primrose, Violet, Wood Avons, Yellow Archangel, Lilly-of-the-valley, Wood Spurge, Wood Vetch, Wood Millet, Sweet Violet, Wood Sage, Monk's Hood, Capillary Thread moss, Broad-buckler fern

Meadow/ Grassland

Field Poppy, Cowslip, Cornflower, Annual Meadow grass, Bladder Campion, Snake's Head Fritilary, Wild Teasel, Common Nettle, Field Rose, White Deadnettle, Greater Plantain, Red Valerian, Verbena, Wood Crane's Bill, Daisy, Dandelion, Field Scabaceous, Purple Loosetrife, Evening Primrose, Crested Dogs-tail, Fine Bent, Downy Oat Grass, Red Fescue, Meadow Barley, Meadow Foxtail, Rough Meadow Grass, Quaking Grass, Sweet Vernal Grass


Yellow Flag, Amphibious Bistwort, Marsh Thistle, Flowering Rush, Lady-fern, Water lilly, Water Avens, Marsh Marigold, Water Milfoil, Marsh-hair Moss

Hedgerow/wall cavities

Rosebay, Willowherb, Dog Rose, Honey Suckle, Cow Parsley, Wild Thyme, Buddleja, Aubretia, Viper's Bugloss, Buttercup, Common Bird's-foot Trefoil, Red Clover, Herb-robert, Lavender, Creeping-jenny, Field Bindweed, White Campion, Spearmint, Tansy, Bindweed, Betony, Bramble, Night-scented Catchfly, Blackthorn, Dogwood, Goat Willow, Harebell, Sweet Briar, Holly Hop, Broad-leaved Dock, Night-scented Stock, Summer Jasmine, Soapwort, Traveller's Joy, Everlasting Pea, Sweet Cicely, Wall-rue, Honest

Night Scented plants to attract moths

Try planting a few night-scented species in the garden, to help out our native night-feeders! Bladder Campion, Californian Poppy, Dames Violet, Evening Primrose, Everlasting Pea, Honeysuckle, Traveller’s Joy, Verbena, Soapwort, Summer Jasmine, Tobacco Plant, Night-scented Catchfly, Night-scented Stock, Red Valerian, White Campion, Honeysuckle


Red Clover
Food and shelter for birds, insects and mammals and a feast for the eyes too! 
English: Lying Snow It's very unusual to see s...
Wildflowers might be the last thing you are thinking about in winter.
Even your lawn can be an important part of your wildlife garden.
Imagine a fence which provides food, shelter and doorways to other gardens!
Close up of the flowers of Common Hawthorn, co...
Every wildlife garden should try and incorporate a variety of trees, climbers and shrubs.
All wildlife in the garden needs a safe place to rest, feed, breed, nest and roost whether it is a lone Blackbird or a family of Wood mice!