WindStar Wildlife Institute
Selecting the Best
Wildlife Habitat Plants
When choosing plants for your wildlife habitat, you need
to consider climate, plant size, soil, sunlight and
moisture requirements, timing of seed or flower
production, and natural plant associations.
By making wise plant selections, you can provide valuable
food and cover for wildlife on your property.
ocate the climate zone
where you live on the U.S.
Dept. of Agriculture Zones of
Plant Hardiness map.
Horticulturists classify plants
according to the northernmost
climate zone in which they
normally survive through the
Using this map, you can check
to find out whether any plant
that you are considering for
your habitat is appropriate for
the climate in your region.
Your selections will be
influenced by the physical
conditions on your property.
Are you starting with an open
lawn. A wooded lot. A poorly
Existing vegetation and its
condition can give you hints
about the plant habitats of
your site, suggesting which are
moist and fertile, where the soil
is poor or shallow, and what are
the prevailing wind patterns. It
is best to analyze your site by
mapping topography, soils, and
Even small sites have small,
distinct climate zones called
microclimates. Some areas are
more windy, hot, and dry, while
others are more moist and
cool. Your site may also
contain several soil types.
You can examine
characteristics of your soil
(texture, degree of compaction,
wet and dry areas and depth)
by digging several holes. Check
drainage by filling the holes with
After letting them sit
overnight, fill the holes again
and see how fast the water level