What To Plant In Shallow Bird Bath

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By Arthur Mbanefo

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If you have a shallow bird bath in your garden, don’t you think integrating a couple of plants would help enhance its curb appeal and create a more inviting and natural environment for birds?

But the question is: do you know what to plant in shallow bird bath? 

Indeed, not all plants would suit this profile, especially ones that grow too wild and overwhelm the space.

Here are a few recommendations: 

What To Plant In Shallow Bird Bath

1. Water Lettuce

This floating aquatic plant is an intriguing addition to any water feature, even in a shallow bird bath.

The water lettuce will float freely and not be entangled in the bottom, although the water level shouldn’t be too high. If it were, the plant might submerge.

Water lettuce also demands several hours daily –from bright to indirect sunlight.

You can use fertilizer to encourage growth, too.

 However, it must be a diluted aquatic plant fertilizer following the manufacturer’s instructions.

2. Duckweed

Duckweed species are very invasive. Hence, you MUST adequately search for the ideal type for your bird bath.

This plant is also enticing to insects and birds, so you should be getting a lot of visitors.

Keep an eye on the multiplying growth and be willing to trim before they become too dense and aggressive.

The water level should be moderate to maintain a healthy Duckweed in the birdbath.

3. Water Pennywort

Water pennywort is a popular birdbath plant providing cover and aquatic insect habitat. Birds are also attracted to its coin-like leaves and creeping growth habit.

 However, this plant requires occasional aquatic plant fertilization and adequate sunlight for healthy growth.

 They are also quite invasive, so once in a while, thinning would be nice.

 4. Miniature Water Lilies 

Depending on the miniature varieties, it could create a serene and charming focal point in your landscape.

The combo of their beautiful blooms and the tranquil water surface are alluring to insects and birds –further enhancing the overall aesthetics of your garden.

Like most birdbath plants, the Miniature water lilies appreciate water depth, but not too deep.

5. Creeping Jenny 

Creeping Jenny are low-growing and trailing plants that thrive in partial to full sun. They consistently need moist soil to thrive –but be careful not to waterlog them.

Constant maintenance is another huge factor if you want to see this plant do well.

 You should prune dead or overgrown foliage to stimulate new growth and keep the plant tamed.

So these are the five most popularly used plants in shallow birdbaths; other options may include Marsh Marigold, Blue Flag Iris, Sedges, Water Mint, and Frogbit.

What Should I Plant Around A Bird Bath?

Having the appropriate vegetation around your bird bath does two things: 

It enhances the curb appeal of your bird bath, attracting wild birds by providing them with food, shelter, perches, and a sense of security. 

Aside from that, it helps create an entire ecosystem that is compelling to watch and beneficial to our gardens. 

However, not all plants fit into this profile. 

Here are a few recommendations: 

1. Vines

Trumpet vine or clematis growth habit and foliage are appealing to birds.

Birds consider vines as Migration Rest Stops, Insect depots, attractions, and nesting support. 

Aside from that, they can crawl along arbors or trellises next to the birdbath to add aesthetic appeal to the landscape.

2. Berry-Producing Plants

Berry-producing plants are beneficial during the fall and winter when natural food becomes scarce for birds. 

It will make a great addition since it serves as a valuable food source, inviting all birds for a feast. 

Berry-producing plants that will be a massive hit for bird baths are:

  • American Holly
  • Winterberry 
  • Serviceberry 
  • Elderberry 
  • Dogwood
  • Bayberry 
  • Viburnum 
  • Sumac 
  • Juniper 
  • Black Chokeberry 
  • Crabapple 
  • Pokeweed 

3. Ferns 

Ferns’ fronds add a lush and natural retreat camp for birds, plus the Tranquil drops from the bird bath create a cozy atmosphere.

4. Wildflowers

Sprinkling a couple of native wildflowers like black-eyed Susans, coneflowers, and coreopsis within the shallow bird bath kills two birds with a stone.

First, it attracts insects, which lure in birds looking for a meal –helping your local ecosystem.

5. Water Plants 

Water plants are also an incredible addition. Aquatic plants like water irises or water lilies will do the trick of providing natural cover while adding beauty to the bird bath. 

6. Other Options

Other options that create a shelter, nesting, perching, and observation points are:  

  • Native Shrubs And Bushes (viburnums, serviceberries, and elderberries)
  • Ornamental Tall Grasses (switchgrass or feather reed grass) 
  • Low-growing Plants (creeping thyme or sedum) 
  • Perennials With Blossoms

NOTE: Choosing the plants that favor your soil conditions and local climate is crucial. 

What Type Of Bird Bath Attracts The Most Birds?

Certainly not a boring one!

Birds will readily rush to a bird bath that caters to their preferences and needs. 

I’m talking about features like moving water. Birds are drawn to baths with a water spray, dripper, mister, bubbler, or fountain rather than a stagnant in a basin.

It should also be easily accessible with perching options to make the space safer and more welcoming. 

You can plant shrubs and place edges, rocks, or other decorative elements. 

What Types Of Birds Are Attracted To Shallow Bird Bath

Not all birds will you see circling, banking, or even lurking around a shallow bird bath.

Very few bird species are found or drawn to such water sources either for bathing, drinking, or cooling off. 

Examples of such birds are:

  • Wrens
  • Chickadees
  • Robins
  • Bluebirds (Eastern and Western bluebirds)
  • Thrushes (American robin and hermit thrush)
  • Sparrows (house sparrows, white-crowned sparrows, and other sparrow species)
  • Warblers (mainly yellow warblers and common yellowthroats)
  • Finches (goldfinches or house finches) 
  • Mockingbirds And Thrashers
  • Hummingbirds
  • Doves (Mourning doves and other dove species)
  • Jays (scrub jays and blue jays) 
  • Blackbirds (red-winged blackbirds and common grackles) 


After you have chosen the plant for your shallow bird bath, the next thing should be how you grow it. 

The last thing you want to do is develop them with fertilizers, which could be detrimental to birds or other wildlife visiting the birdbath.

Remember, the goal is to create a SAFE bird habitat while enhancing your garden’s or landscape’s aesthetics.