Berry Producing Shrubs and Vines

cranberry bush

No matter where you plant a shrub, in a perennial garden, as an accent plant for the lawn, in a hedge along the road, or as a part of barricade against trespassing dogs, choosing a shrub that produces berries give you a living bird feeder as well.

A garden full of berries is irresistible to birds, especially during fall migration and in winter, when high energy food is vital.

Some Berry Producing Plants that Birds Love 
Plant Names
Birds Attracted
Plant Description
American Cranberry Bush
(Viburnum trilobum)
Robins, thrushes, bluebirds, and many others Rounded shrub to 12' tall, with three lobed leaves.  Flat topped clusters of white flowers in late spring; shiny red fruits in early fall. Grow in well drained, moist soil, in sun to partial shade; irrigate during droughts.  Zones 2 to 8 (grows best in cool summer areas) Looks best planted as a hedge or a privacy screen.
(Viburnum dentatum)
A very wide range of berating birds Multistemmed shrub 8' to 15' tall expand slowly from base to form a large clump.  Cluster of small creamy flowers in early summer; oval blue black fruits in fall. Grow in well drained soil, in sun to partial shade.  Zones 2 to 8 Buy in the fall, when you can see the fall color; only some plants turn rich red.
(Berberis spp.)
Catbirds, mockingbirds, and many others Thorny, very dense, rounded shrubs varying in size from 18" tall - Crimson Pigmy- to 6' tall - Red Chief.  Yellow flowers followed by bright red or orange berries Grow this adaptable drought tolerant shrub in well drained soil in full sun-light.  Zones 4 to 8 Reddish purple-leaved cultivators like Crimson Velvet or Helmond Pilla add color to the garden.  Try grouping barberries and maiden grasses.
Black Currant
(Ribes nigrum)
Robins, mockingbirds, jays, and many others Twiggy shrub to 6' tall, with lobed leaves.  Clusters of greenish white flowers followed by edible black fruits.  Grow in full sun to light shade, in well drained soil.  Zones 4 to 8 Sale of currants is restricted in some states because they host white pine blister rust disease.  Ask your extension agent about restrictions before planting.  Use currants in a mixed hedge for cover, nesting, and food.
(Sambucus spp.)
A very wide range of berry eating birds 6' to 10' multistemmed shrubs with white flowers and abundant clusters of tiny berries Grow in well drained soil, in sun to part shade.  Zones 4 to 8 Try S. candaensis, the common garden variety with purple black fruits, or grow American red elderberry (S. pubens), Pacific Coast red elderberry (S. Callicarpa), or European red elderberry (S. racemosa)
(Amelanchier spp.)
Waxwings, bluebirds, and many others Shrubs or small trees with white flowers in early spring, followed by fruits that turn red, then blue black or purple.  Leaves turn yellow to deep red in fall. Grow in well drained, moist, acidic soil, in sun to shade.  Zones 4 to 9 (some species are hardy to Zone 2) Autumn Brilliance and Autumn Sunset are graceful small trees; Prince William is shrubby; Cumulus grows 20' to 30' tall.  A canadensis is a suckering shrub that is a great choice for a wild garden.
(Fragaria spp. and hybrids)
Robins, catbirds, thrashers, and many others Ground covers with clumps of three lobed leaves.  White or pink flowers in spring followed by delectable red berries. Grow in full sun in well drained soil rich in organic matter.  Zones 4 to 8 Choose cultivators that you like, or try the tiny, sweet clusters of wild strawberry (F. virginiana).  Western beach strawberry (F. chioensis) is hardy to Zone 7 and has beautiful, glossy leaves.  Plant some strawberries around shrubs, where bird can forage for them safely


Since May 30, 1999