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8 Plants and Trees That Attract Cardinals

Cardinals, with their striking red plumage and beautiful songs, are a delight for any birdwatcher or nature enthusiast. If you want to invite these stunning birds into your garden, planting the right foliage is key. Here are eight plants and trees that are sure to attract cardinals to your outdoor space.

1. Red Maple (Acer rubrum)

The Red Maple is not only a gorgeous tree with its vibrant red foliage in the fall, but it also produces seeds that cardinals find irresistible. These seeds are a favorite food source for cardinals, making the Red Maple a must-have tree for attracting them.


2. Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis)

Known for its stunning pink or purple spring blooms, the Eastern Redbud is a favorite of cardinals. Its seeds provide a good source of food, and the tree’s branching structure offers safe nesting sites for these birds.


3. Black Oil Sunflower (Helianthus annuus)

While not a tree or shrub, Black Oil Sunflowers are a favorite among cardinals. Planting these sunflowers will not only attract cardinals but also a variety of other beautiful birds to your yard.


4. Serviceberry (Amelanchier spp.)

Serviceberries, also known as Juneberries, produce small, sweet berries that cardinals love. These shrubs or small trees are not only attractive to birds but also add beauty to your landscape with their delicate white blooms in the spring.

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5. Dogwood (Cornus spp.)

Dogwoods are not only visually appealing with their showy flowers and colorful berries, but they also provide food for cardinals. The berries of the dogwood tree are a favorite treat for many bird species, including the cardinal.


6. Beautyberry (Callicarpa spp.)

As the name suggests, Beautyberry is a stunning addition to any garden. Its bright purple berries in the fall are irresistible to cardinals and other songbirds. This shrub not only attracts birds but also adds a pop of color to your landscape.


7. Crabapple (Malus spp.)

Crabapples are well-loved by cardinals for their small, tart fruits that persist into the winter months. These trees provide not only food but also shelter for birds, making them a valuable addition to any bird-friendly garden.


8. Holly (Ilex spp.)

Holly bushes are a classic choice for attracting cardinals. The bright red berries of female holly bushes are a winter staple for these birds when other food sources are scarce. Planting a mix of male and female holly bushes ensures a bountiful supply of berries for your cardinal visitors.

By incorporating these plants and trees into your garden, you’ll create an inviting habitat for cardinals and other wildlife. Not only will you enjoy the beauty of these birds, but you’ll also be contributing to the preservation of these lovely creatures for generations to come. Happy birdwatching!

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