Planting for Wildlife in Autumn

November 4, 2021 Tom Luck

It’s that time of year again. Flowers and trees are throwing off their summer coats for a more seasonal, slimmed-down look, and wildlife is hunkering down for a long snooze. Yet not all of nature is quieting down for the colder months.

Buff-tailed bumblebee queens, among many other super-important insects, will be using this time to forage for pollen and to find a cosy bed for the winter.

When we think of planting to help wildlife, we usually associate this with the spring and summer. But now is the perfect time to:

  1. Supply insects with a vital out-of-season supply of pollen
  2. Plant bulbs and seeds in preparation for spring, in time for when lots of insects re-emerge


Try sprucing up your autumn display with these wildlife-friendly plants. All of our top-picks can be planted now, with some offering immediate results and others using the time to settle in for the new year. They are easy to look after and are great for beginners. Happy planting!

Out-of-season Pollen Supplies

Winter heather 🐝

Winter heather is a great choice if you want to welcome the autumn light with some new autumn colour of your own. The purple blaze gives bees and other pollinators a late-season supply of nectar, which is vital during the autumn as most other plants have stopped flowering.

Oregon grape hybrid

Mahonia x media

This shade-loving shrub is ideal for providing colour, especially when other plants are shedding their leaves, and helping to sustain winter-foraging bees and other insects. Its spine-toothed evergreen leaves are topped with scented yellow flowers that appear throughout autumn and winter. 

Upcycle your summer plants

If your display includes any plants, such as perennials and annuals, that have come to the end of their cycle, you don’t have to immediately replace them. Leaving plants to decay will act as a winter duvet for insects and small mammals.

Thinking Ahead


Plant allium bulbs now to get a head start on spring. Aside from being a fantastic source of food for bees, many varieties of allium are edible (a strong onion or garlic scent is most common) and ornamental, offering flowering globes of blue, purple, pink and white that will colour throughout spring and summer.


Another bee-boosting bulb is the crocus. With many types of crocuses to choose from, you can plant to have flowers either in autumn, late winter or early spring. Please note: Crocuses need full-sun to thrive properly.

Sweet pea

Lathyrus odoratus

Scatter sweet pea seeds into your PlantBox and you will be rewarded with foliages in spring and strongly-fragranced flowers throughout summer and early autumn. They are perfect for sitting outside and listening to the belling of bees.

You don’t need a great big garden to support wildlife this autumn and winter

We understand that traditional planting isn’t always practical. That’s where PlantBox comes in: The stackable, eco-friendly vertical garden that packs large amounts of plants into even the smallest of spaces. 

PlantBox makes caring for your vertical garden easy—go weeks between watering and know exactly when and how much to top up—and helps plants to thrive, whether in a sunless, plant-stripping north-facing garden or the desert-like conditions of a south-facing garden.

A RHS Chelsea Sustainable Garden Product of the Year 2021 Finalist, PlantBox is made from 100% recycled materials and is designed to best fit your home. PlantBox is ideal for balconies, roof gardens, courtyards, conservatories and is even suitable indoors. 1% of PlantBox sales is pledged to 1% For The Planet, a global organisation that supports non-profits who are tackling our most pressing environmental issues. Join the growing revolution for a greener future! Find out more.

Fast UK delivery - order by Monday 20th December to receive in time for Christmas!