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Tuesday - February 19, 2008

From: Milledgeville, GA
Region: Southeast
Topic: Wildlife Gardens
Title: Wildlife gardening in Georgia
Answered by: Barbara Medford


I am looking for native shrubs/flowers that will attract butterflies and/or birds. I live in Milledgeville, GA which is in central GA, 1 mile from the Oconee River. Some areas of my yard are full sun, some are partial sun, and one area has fairly moist, rich soil. Any suggestions? Thank You.


To start with some basic information, go to Creating a Wildlife Garden in our How To Articles from the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. This article makes suggestions in how to lay out a wildlife garden for maximum use of the space. Especially note the advice to avoid herbicides and pesticides, as they can just as easily harm the wildlife you are trying to protect as the pests you are trying to get rid of.

Next, take this link to Butterflies and Moths of North America, a special feature of our website. This will give you a list of 356 plants native to North America that attract wildlife. Obviously, you don't want to wade through all that, many of them would be unsuitable for your space and others not normally found in Georgia. Click on "Narrow Your Search", which gives you options for location, habit, duration, light requirements, and soil moisture. You can play around with this until you find your optimum list. We have prepared three short lists for you, as a demonstration of how this works. We selected Georgia for location and perennial for duration in all three lists. One list is for herbs (habit), one for shrubs and one for trees. One has dry soil requirements and two moist soil. When you look at each plant page, scroll down to "Benefits" and you will find what kind of wildlife it commonly attracts or shelters. Wherever possible, we selected plants that attracted both birds and butterflies. These are only suggestions, you can rearrange your requirements as you decide where you want to place certain plants, checking for sun and moisture conditions, etc.

Herb, 6 or more hours of sun, dry soil

Aquilegia canadensis (red columbine)

Fragaria virginiana (Virginia strawberry)

Asclepias tuberosa (butterfly milkweed)

Symphyotrichum laeve var. laeve (smooth blue aster)

Shrub, part shade, moist soil

Cephalanthus occidentalis (common buttonbush)

Cornus alternifolia (alternateleaf dogwood)

Rhus aromatica (fragrant sumac)

Viburnum acerifolium (mapleleaf viburnum)

Trees, part shade, moist soil

Asimina triloba (pawpaw)

Carpinus caroliniana (American hornbeam)

Chionanthus virginicus (white fringetree)

Liriodendron tulipifera (tuliptree)

Aquilegia canadensis

Fragaria virginiana

Asclepias tuberosa

Symphyotrichum laeve var. laeve

Cephalanthus occidentalis

Cornus alternifolia

Rhus aromatica

Viburnum acerifolium

Asimina triloba

Carpinus caroliniana

Chionanthus virginicus

Liriodendron tulipifera




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