What Plants Attract Goldfinches? All You Need To Know

by Victor

Attracting goldfinches to your garden can be a rewarding experience. These beautiful birds are known for their vibrant yellow feathers and playful personalities. However, if you want to attract them to your garden, you need to know which plants will entice them. In this article, we explore a selection of plants that attract goldfinches, providing them with food, shelter, and nesting opportunities while adding beauty and biodiversity to your garden.

Why Goldfinches Love Certain Plants

Goldfinches are primarily seed-eaters, and they prefer to eat the seeds of certain plants over others. Some of their favorite plants include thistle, sunflower, coneflower, and black-eyed Susan. These plants produce seeds that are high in oil, making them a great source of nutrition for goldfinches.

Another reason why goldfinches love these plants is because they provide shelter and nesting sites. Goldfinches build their nests using plant fibers and grasses, and they often choose plants with dense foliage or small branches for nesting.

Plants That Attract Goldfinches

  • Thistles (Cirsium spp. and Carduus spp.):

Thistles are a preferred food source for goldfinches, providing an abundance of small, nutritious seeds. American Goldfinches, in particular, are well-known for their affinity for thistle seeds. Consider planting native thistle species like the native Cirsium discolor or Carduus nutans, commonly known as musk thistle, to attract these charming birds.

  • Sunflowers (Helianthus spp.):

Sunflowers are a favorite among goldfinches due to their abundant seed production and tall, sturdy stalks. As the flowers mature and the seeds develop, goldfinches will eagerly feed on the nutritious seeds. Consider planting both traditional yellow sunflowers and varieties with dark centers, such as ‘Moulin Rouge’ or ‘Black Magic,’ as they tend to produce higher quantities of seeds.

  • Coneflowers (Echinacea spp.):

Coneflowers, with their distinctive cone-shaped seed heads and vibrant petals, are not only visually appealing but also attract goldfinches with their nutritious seeds. As the petals fade, the cone centers mature and harden, providing an excellent source of food for goldfinches. Varieties like ‘PowWow Wild Berry’ and ‘Magnus’ are particularly attractive to these birds.

  • Cosmos (Cosmos spp.):

Cosmos flowers not only add a splash of color to your garden but also produce seeds that are relished by goldfinches. These dainty flowers provide a charming display and serve as a food source for these birds. Varieties like ‘Sensation Mix’ or ‘Bright Lights’ are excellent options to attract goldfinches and enhance the visual appeal of your garden.

  • Coreopsis (Coreopsis spp.):

Coreopsis, commonly known as tickseed, offers both nectar-rich blooms and abundant seeds, making it a magnet for goldfinches. The bright yellow or orange flowers are not only visually striking but also attract these birds. Consider planting native species like Coreopsis tinctoria or Coreopsis lanceolata to provide a natural food source for goldfinches.

  • Rudbeckia (Rudbeckia spp.):

Rudbeckias, commonly known as black-eyed Susans, offer attractive flowers with a dark central cone filled with seeds that goldfinches eagerly devour. The seeds provide an excellent source of nutrition during the fall and winter months. Varieties like ‘Goldsturm’ or ‘Cherry Brandy’ are popular choices that will attract goldfinches to your garden.

  • Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta):

Black-eyed Susan plants produce large, yellow flowers that are attractive to goldfinches. These plants also produce seeds that the birds love to eat. Try planting them in groups to create a beautiful display and provide ample food for goldfinches.

  • Milkweed (Asclepias spp.):

Milkweed is another favorite of goldfinches. They not only feed on its seeds but also use the fluffy seed pods to line their nests. Planting milkweed in your garden can attract both adult birds and their young.

Incorporating Plants into Your Garden

To attract goldfinches to your garden, it’s important to incorporate these plants in a way that will appeal to the birds. Here are a few tips:

1. Plant in groups: Goldfinches prefer to feed in groups, so try planting several of the same type of plant together.

2.Leave seed heads: After the flowers have faded, leave the seed heads on the plants so the birds can feed on them.

3.Provide shelter: Goldfinches prefer to nest in dense foliage or small branches, so try planting these plants near trees or shrubs that can provide shelter.

4.Use native plants: Native plants are more likely to attract local bird species, so try using plants that are native to your region.


Attracting goldfinches to your garden can be a fun and rewarding experience. By planting the right types of plants and incorporating them in a way that appeals to the birds, you can create a welcoming habitat for these beautiful creatures. So, consider incorporating some of these plants into your garden and enjoy the company of goldfinches all season long.

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