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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Sunday - March 27, 2005

From: Longview, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Wildlife Gardens
Title: Luring wildlife in Longview
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I live in Longview, Texas and am in the process of trying to restore a natural habitat for wildlife in my area. Could you give me a list of plants that are native specific so that I can lure local birds, butterflies, etc.?

ANSWER:

There are two articles, "Butterfly Gardening Resources" and "Wildlife Gardening Bibliography" in our Native Plant Library to download in PDF format that you might find useful. Plants with berries attract many birds and small mammals and those with red flowers attract hummingbirds. Butterflies are attracted to plants with yellow, blue, and purple flowers. You can have a combination of trees, shrubs, wildflowers, and grasses that will fill these requirements. For small trees you might consider all or any of three small trees of the genus Ilex, Possum haw (Ilex decidua), American holly (I. opaca), and Yaupon (I. vomitoria). Flowering dogwood and Cherry laurel (Prunus caroliniana) are two more choices for small trees. A small tree that would attract hummingbirds is Red buckeye (Aesculus pavia), as would these two vines, Crossvine (Bignonia capreolata and Trumpet-creeper Campsis radicans). A couple of small bushes, Coral-berry (Symphoricarpos orbiculatus) and American beauty-berry (Callicarpa americana), with their colorful fruits are also good candidates for attracting birds. Several grasses native to East Texas attract butterflies and birds: Sideoats grama (Bouteloua curtipendula), Inland sea oats (Chasmanthium latifolium), Indiangrass (Sorghastrum nutans and Little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium). For herbaceous wildflowers you might consider Purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea), Cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis), and Lance-leaved coreopsis (Coreopsis lanceolata). There are many more possibilities for East Texas. Look around you and see what plants you like. Once you have identified them you can look them up in the Native Plants Database by their common or scientific names. On the page for each individual plant be sure to click on "Benefits" at the top of the page to learn if the plant attracts wildlife. You can also check for nurseries and seed companies in your area that specialize in native plants in our Suppliers Directory.
 

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