Bird-Approved Berries
Birds & Blooms|December 2019/January 2020
Grow these plants to serve a menu of tasty treats.
By Emily Hannemann

1 Winterberry

ILEX VERTICILLATA, ZONES 3 TO 9

A close relative of the Christmas favorite, holly, this hardy shrub tolerates almost anything nature throws at it. It grows best in moist, acidic soils and easily handles winter cold. To get berries, plant male and female types.

Why we love it: Unlike other hollies, winterberry’s leaves fall away during winter, exposing its red berries and creating a perfect setting for photos.

2 Mountain ash

SORBUS SPP., ZONES 2 TO 7

Mountain ash is a fall beauty. Its leaves turn beautiful shades of yellow and red, and its berries red-orange. This small, low-maintenance tree reaches 10 to 25 feet tall and prefers acidic, sandy, moist soil.

Why we love it: These oval-shaped trees produce white flowers in spring that are attractive to butterflies and bees along with fruit-loving birds.

3 Cotoneaster

COTONEASTER SPP., ZONES 3 TO 7 A

colorful plant throughout the year, cotoneasters produce pink, white or rose flowers in late spring. Leaves turn purple, red and bronze in fall when red berries develop, to remain in winter. Some cultivars can’t take the heat, so research and choose a plant that thrives in your growing conditions.

Why we love it: Cultivars like Autumn Fire are more than just pretty—they’re also pest-resistant.

4 Crabapple

MALUS SPP., ZONES 2 TO 9

Crabapple trees are as beautiful as they are hardy if you choose a cultivar with disease resistance. They tolerate a range of soils, growing best in full sun. Pink and white flowers bloom in spring, and the persistent fruit develops over the summer.

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