Best pot plant for a small balcony to attract birds

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Best pot plant for a small balcony to attract birds

Hi everyone, I have a terribly small balcony but would like to put a plant or two on it to attract birds. I know there are lots of Rainbow Lorikeets around my area and hope they can come to sit on the plants but what is the best pot plant to put out for them? Thank you

HelloBirdy's picture

You are unlikely to attract rainbow lorikeets with a small potplant but native grevilleas can be nice for attracting some honeyeaters and spinebills. Are you in an apartment complex?

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Yes I am in a small apartment complex opposite a lake. It's literally 1m by maybe 1.5m my balcony so tiny so looking for probably a tall thin plant that won't take up much space. I'll have a look for grevilleas. Hopefully if I get that it will attract honeyeaters and spinebills. Thanks for the reply :)

Woko's picture

Hi faz. First of all congratulations on your approach. In nearly every situation there's something that can be done to attract birds. Might I suggest that you keep a dish of water on your balcony. It would be interesting to see what bird species might come to bathe in & drink from it.

Secondly, I'd be interested to know your location & whether you have any natural bushland or native trees &/or shrubs in your vicinity. That might help determine the bird species you might be able to attract & what you plant to attract them. For example, if you live close to an area with native grasses you might want to think about a pot or two or three of native grasses, preferably species indigenous to where you live. Native finches in particular feed on native grass seeds & a number of native grasses are used by butterflies to lay eggs on. In turn, some native bird species feed on the butterfly eggs. In other words you don't have to plant small shrubs in pots to attract native birds.

If you happen to live in an area where Common Heath Epacris impressa is a local species then you could try that one in a pot. It is slender & has thin, tubular flowers which are attractive to Honeyeaters, including Spinebills. Grevilleas, as Ryu has suggested, are suitable for pots as would be some of the smaller Eremophila species.

If you have enough room another idea is to install a wall garden which would enable you to grow a variety of plants which might attract birds. Encouraging your neighbours to sally forth & do likewise would increase the amount of habitat available to birds.

Many people use artificial feeding to attract native birds to their balconies but I'd warn against this as it makes the birds dependent on you filling up their food containers, takes the birds away from their natural pollination & native seed dispersal functions in the environment & it can cause some species to catch the dreaded beak & feather disease.

Attracting native birds to your balcony is quite an experiment & I'd be interested to learn of what species you see. Perhaps you could keep records for the benefit of the people who tell me they don't have enough room to attract birds to their gardens.

Woko's picture

I'd warn against window feeders - at least in Australia. See #4 above.

rosalie5's picture

Hello faz! I also have a small balcony and I do not have any problems with attracting birds. I live in a flat on the second floor and in the winter they were coming to my balcony on their own. I just put there a small plate with bird feed. I don't have many flowers in here so they just come to eat something.

Lisa Savage's picture

Wow I'm just like you. I also have Rainbow Lorikeets on my balcony. I really liked it and wanted it to come to my house. I have been told a number of ways: putting food on a plate, or decorating flowers and food. It was really helpful, I was attracted to it. I am very happy and hope this method will help you.
thanks for listening

I am a bird lover and also have experience with birds. I will be happy to be able to share my experience with everyone.

Woko's picture

Hi Lisa. Could I suggest that you avoid putting out bird seed for Rainbow Lorikeets as it's a great way for them to acquire beak & feather disease, a really horrible condition. In fact, I'd warn against any artificial feeding unless the bird you're trying to keep alive is on the verge of extinction. You might want to type <artificial feeding> into the search box at the top of this page for more information on this topic.

Woko's picture

Last Friday's Gardening Australia on ABC TV featured Australian natives in pots. Catch it again on ABC iView.

rosemurray's picture

That's a good idea but I think it would be better to make a bird house for them. I'm sure they will be happy to live there. Or, you can buy a bird house instead of making it. My son was given a home task which consisted of giving a house for birds as a gift to them. So, we decided to buy a little and cute house for birds from this site We put it on the tree in our garden and in a week a lot of birds had settled there. My son and I were so happy, so he wrote a composition about his observations on birds and read it in front of the class and said he was appreciated by the teacher and whole class.

Love mother nature.

Woko's picture

I guess that if you have the room, rather than put in an artificial bird house, you would want to put in the original plant species on which the bird species of you area depend for their existence. That way you would have natural bird houses! Probably cheaper & more beautiful, too. Just a thought.

Alex Rogers
Alex Rogers's picture

faz, its pretty hard to attract birds to a balcony without feeding them. And feeding has its issues as noted above with potential for disease spreading etc, plus rainbow lorikeets are incredibly noisy and disruptive in an apartment environment - it often leads to disputes between neighbours when it gets out of control and hundreds of birds come in for feeding. 

But planting out your balcony is a great idea anyway, and who knows? I've taken that optimistic approach and have a small forest of grevillia and other natives growing in pots - and even if it doesn't lure in a bird, it feels great to have a green balcony :-) 

Actually I have had regular bird visitors, a couple of Common Myna who come inside my apartment specifically to crap on my carpet, but that wasn't really what I had in mind lol. 

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