Why plant Audubon® Native Northern Bayberry?
With its dense, twiggy branches, Northern Bayberry is just what birds are looking for when they want to start a family. Plant it en masse, and you’ll encourage songbirds to nest in your yard! In fall, you’ll have more activity in your Bayberry bushes when female plants bear their nutritious fruits, and the birds come flocking. Sweet, perky Yellow-rumped Warblers (known affectionately to birders as “butter butts”) are first in line. They rely on the high-fat berries to fuel their fall migration. Chickadees, bluebirds, Red-bellied Woodpeckers, titmice, catbirds, and Brown Thrashers are also fond of the silvery fruits.
You may not equate “fatty” with “nutritious,” but for birds in fall, fatty foods are the healthiest of all. Fruits with a naturally high fat content give birds the energy they need for migration, or—in the case of winter-residents—for just staying warm. Northern Bayberry has been found to have one of the highest fat quotients of any native fruit, so it gives birds a big bang for their buck. This species mostly hugs the Atlantic coastline and is present from Canada to North Carolina. It provides wonderful rest stops for birds migrating via the Atlantic flyway.
How to use Audubon® Native Northern Bayberry in the landscape?
Bayberry candles! This is where the authentic ones come from. American settlers were happy to learn they could turn fragrant, waxy Northern Bayberry fruits into candles. The process was labor-intensive, but the result burned clean and bright—and smelled delightful!
Hardiness Zone: 3-7
How To Plant Audubon® Native Northern Bayberry
Northern Bayberry is considered a healing plant. It grows happily in poor soil and can fix its own nitrogen, so it actually improves the site it’s growing on. In the garden, too, it does not need any coddling. It grows in sand or clay, it doesn’t need a lot of water, and it tolerates salt spray, strong winds, and winter temperatures to -30ºF. Give it as much sun as you can. Northern Bayberry will sucker to form an informal hedge. It does not need to be pruned, but if you do choose to tidy it up with some trimming, it will smell delicious!
How To Fertilize
Incorporate Elements Starter Plant food granular form into the soil when planting. If planting in spring or summer, start fertilizing late fall using Elements Starter Plant food granular form on an annual basis each late fall. Continue this for the first three years to get your plant well established.