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Six Ontario Native Shrubs for Your Garden-Pollinator Friendly

Have you ever wondered how to add more wildness to your garden? Well, I have the answer! Adding native shrubs will do just that. They are great for wildlife and are also beautiful additions for any space. So if you're interested in adding a natural touch to your garden or want to make it more attractive for birds, here are some of my favorite native shrubs that will do just that:

Winterberry Holly (Ilex verticillata)

Winterberry holly is a wonderful addition to the garden. It's hardy to zone 3, evergreen so it can easily handle even the coldest winters. This evergreen shrub grows about 7-12ft tall and wide, depending on the variety you choose. It has attractive glossy green leaves which turn golden yellow in fall, followed by bright red berries that appear in late summer through winter (hence its name!).

Winterberry holly is drought-tolerant as well as pollinator-friendly--an ideal plant for attracting bees and butterflies! The berries are also edible: try them fresh or dried out of season; they taste like cranberries but with less acidity. Not only does this shrub thrive in full sun or partial shade but it can be planted along hedges or border areas too! You might even want some winterberry on hand when creating containers because they do well indoors too!

Dogwoods (Cornus spp.)

Dogwoods are a popular choice for Ontario gardens. These shrubs prefer full sun or partial shade, and they're low-maintenance. They attract birds and butterflies to your garden with their colorful flowers in spring, which then turn into berries that remain on the plant throughout winter.

Dogwood can be used as a hedge or as an

individual specimen in your yard. They grow well along the edges of walkways or near patios where they'll provide privacy from neighbors' views; this is especially useful if you live in townhouses or apartments with shared walls!


Beautyberry is a deciduous shrub that grows to about 8 feet tall. It is a native shrub, hardy in zones 4 to 8, and will grow best in full sun to part shade. Beautyberry has clusters of white flowers in spring followed by smaller clusters of purple berries in summer. The flowers are very small so you may not notice them unless you look carefully for them on your beautyberry shrubs!

False Indigo

False Indigo (Baptisia australis) is a shrub that grows to about 4 feet high and 3 feet wide. It's an easy-care plant that will thrive in most soils, including sandy soils. This native perennial has clusters of blue flowers from late spring through summer, making it a great choice for a sunny or partially shaded spot in your garden. Plant false indigo as a specimen plant, or in a grouping of 3 plants for extra visual appeal. It looks great planted near paths where you can enjoy its showy blooms up close!

Arrowwood Viburnum

Arrowwood Viburnum (Viburnum dentatum) flowers in spring and summer. The blooms are a beautiful white color with red centers, which makes them great for borders and hedges.

This plant is low maintenance and does not need much pruning or watering if you live in an area where it rains regularly during the growing season. It's also drought-tolerant once established so you don't have to worry about watering this plant frequently!

Cultivars of arrowwood viburnum include:

  • 'Bluemuffin' (V. dentatum ‘Christom’), a compact cultivar reaching 5 to 7 feet in height and 4 to 6 feet in width

  • 'Autumn Jazz' (V. dentatum ‘Ralph Senior’), a larger shrub, 6 to 10 feet tall and 8 to 12 feet wide, with a striking range of fall colors including yellow, orange, red, and burgundy.


Chokecherry (Prunus virginiana) is a hardy, fast-growing shrub that can grow up to 6 meters tall and wide (can be used as an understory tree). It has small white flowers in spring followed by red berries in late summer.

The chokecherry is an excellent choice for naturalizing in your garden because it attracts birds and pollinators with its fruit and flowers, but also provides valuable habitat for wildlife such as deer and rabbits who eat the bark of this shrub (but if you don't want to attract these creatures into your yard then this might not be the best plant choice for you).

The Chokecherry is a fruit-bearing plant that gets its name from the large pit inside its berries. The berries are edible when they turn bluish-black and can be used in cooking. The berries are quite sour and bitter, but they are not harmful to humans so long as the stone in the center is not eaten. It is especially important to keep small children from consuming the pit of this fruit, as it is very toxic.

The chokecherry fruit has been used for a very long time, as it was important to Indigenous groups as a food source. The bark was also important and was used for medicinal purposes. Tea made with the bark was used as a treatment for illnesses such as tuberculosis and malaria, though it was also used as a sedative to treat stomach aches!

If you were looking for some native shrubs for your garden, we hope you found this article helpful. There are many different types of native plants in Ontario, but these are some of the most common ones that can be found around town. If there is another type of plant you would like to learn more about, please let us know by leaving us a comment below or emailing us!


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