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Plant to support birds, insects and lizards

Introduce biodiversity to your garden by planting to support native birds, insects and lizards.

What birds need

Native birds look for places where they can build a nest and easily find kai and water.

Plant the right native plants to provide kai for native birds.

What to plant


Plant native trees and shrubs. A variety of flowering and fruiting species will ensure there is kai and shelter in your garden all year round.

Plant native pūriri, kohekohe and akapukaea (Tecomanthe speciosa). These are good sources of nectar in winter.


Flowers that attract birds are usually large and brightly coloured (red, orange or white) with lots of nectar.

Flowering native plants that attract birds include:

  • Pōhutukawa
  • Kōwhai
  • Pūriri
  • Harakeke
  • Kōtukutuku
  • Rewarewa
  • Five finger.

For more information, see the following brochure.

​What insects need

Insects need easy access to flowers on different plants of the same species over short distances.

What to plant

Plant in close, tightly spaced groups with a minimum of five plants per group.


Flowers that attract insect pollinators are usually white, pink or green, with lots of nectar and a strong scent.

They often have small, open flowers in clusters, allowing insects to easily reach the nectar.


Insects are attracted to multi-layered vegetation:

  • ground covers
  • shrubs
  • trees
  • climbers.

They like areas where there is mulch, bark and leaf litter. These areas help native animals feed on insects.

What lizards need

Lizards need places where they can hide when hunting, feeding and resting.

They have a strong sense of smell, so highly scented flowers attract them.

As lizards are mainly nocturnal, these flowers are generally not colourful.

What to plant

Plant small trees and shrubs in tight, closely spaced groups.

Plant larger trees and shrubs with an underplanting to minimise open areas. This will provide shelter and refuge.

Plants that attract lizards include:

  • Toe toe
  • Carex species
  • Ti kouka
  • Coprosma species
  • Creeping fuchsia
  • Harakeke
  • Kānuka
  • Mingimingi.

For more information, see the following brochure.

​For more ideas on how you can plant to enhance native biodiversity, see Tiaki Tāmaki Makaurau.

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