Spring wildlife garden
Helping hedgehogs, wildlife gardening

Top plants for hedgehogs and wildlife

What plants to grow in your garden for hedgehogs – help hedgehogs thrive in your garden with this guide to plants that are great for our spiky friends.

Contrary to popular belief, hedgehogs don’t mainly eat slugs. Their favourite foods are beetles and caterpillars. Growing plants to attract insects is therefore one of the best things you can do to help hedgehogs. Plus, you’ll help other wildlife too!

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A garden full of plants looks beautiful and also provides a haven for insects 

As well as providing food and shelter for insects, plants also provide shelter for hedgehogs to forage and nest underneath. The more ground cover the better! Hedgehogs will often nest under large leafy plants. Don’t be too tidy – when plants die back in the Winter, keep the remains on the ground to provide hidey holes for insects. Don’t forget fences and walls – cover them with climbing plants and ivy.

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Spring border in my garden with forget me nots, anemomes and geraniums. A packed border like this provides great foraging for hedgehogs
York garden in Autumn
My garden in Autumn – still with plenty of foraging cover and sedums for colour and food for insects

A garden that is great for wildlife needs to provide food all year round so plan your garden to have a range of plants that flower throughout the seasons. I love Forget me nots and lots of bulbs for Spring, Geraniums, Scabious and Wallflowers for Summer and then lots of late flowering Sedums, Hebes and Anemomes into the Winter.

Any native plants are good but here are a few plant ideas to get you started.

Wildflowers

  • Field Scabious
  • Ox-eye Daisy
  • Meadow Cranesbill
  • Red Campion
  • Common Knapweed
  • Wild White Clover

I love Geraniums because they offer great ground cover for hedgehogs. Buy a large pot and then divide it before planting. They will quickly establish. I do this with all perennials that flourish in my garden – I simply divide them in Spring to create more. It’s cheap and you know they will thrive.

TIP: Many garden centres now offer native wildflowers as plug plants or you can grow them from seed.

Solitary bee on scabious flower
Scabious attracts bees and hoverflies
Wild corner of garden for wildlife
A wild corner left long and featuring Red Campion, Knapweed and Clover

Hedging

Hedges provide a great habitat for a wealth of wildlife including nesting sites and berries for birds. They also provide free access for hedgehogs between gardens, unlike walls and fences. Native species are best and ones with large deciduous leaves are great for hedgehogs collecting leaves for their nests.

Hedgehog friendly fencing
Medium to large deciduous leaves are the best for hedgehog nest building
  • Beech
  • Field maple
  • Hawthorn
  • Geulder Rose
  • Berberis (not native but its flowers are great for insects and its berries for birds)
  • Hazel
  • Oak

Shrubs

  • Alder Buckthorn
  • Goat Willow
  • Dogwood
  • Buddleia
  • Pyracantha
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Buddleia in flower is a magnet for butterflies and other insects

Lawns

Don’t use any pesticides or herbicides on your lawn. I have learned to love the daisies, dandelions and clover that grow amongst the grass. It’s much better for all wildlife, including the insects.

Good luck with your planting and please share your pictures!

Please read my blog for more tips for hedgehog friendly gardening and what to feed hedgehogs in your garden.

You can see a video of my wildlife garden here.

I run a hedgehog rescue in York and I am also a keen gardener. All the photos are from my own wildlife garden. My work is entirely self-funded. You can read more about my work here and how to support it.

I also make silver jewellery inspired by nature and wildlife. You can visit my online shop here.

Handmade silver nature jewellery by little silver hedgehog
Handmade silver nature jewellery by little silver hedgehog

 

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