Idaho Plants for Wildlife Habitat & Conservation Landscaping
Do you enjoy observing nature…hearing the song of the chickadee…watching hummingbirds fill up on nectar from trumpet vines…listening to the chattering of squirrels…seeing the beauty and grace of a monarch butterfly perched on a milkweed… experiencing the antics of a Mockingbird…the cooing of the Mourning Doves…the swiftness of the Cottontail…and the brilliance of a Cardinal or Baltimore Oriole?
If the answer is “yes”, you’ll probably want to landscape your property for wildlife so you can experience even more from Mother Nature by attracting more wildlife to your property.
Wildlife doesn’t just randomly appear in a given area. It is there because of favorable habitat. The essential elements that you must provide in your habitat are food, water, cover and a place to raise a family. To attract the most wildlife, you need native trees, shrubs, groundcover, vines and wildflowers, many of which will provide food and shelter.
Native or indigenous plants naturally occur in the region in which they evolved. They are adapted to local soil, rainfall and temperature conditions, and have developed natural defenses to many insects and diseases. Because of these traits, native plants will grow with minimal use of water, fertilizers and pesticides. Wildlife species evolve with plants; therefore, they use native plant communities as their habitat. Using native plants helps preserve the balance and beauty of natural ecosystems.
Remember the function served by plants and structures is more important than their appearance. In other words, don’t base your planting decisions solely on what a plant looks like. Following are WindStar Wildlife Institute’s plant recommendations for wildlife habitats in Idaho:
Red & White Alder, Quaking Aspen, River & Paper Birch, Black Cottonwood, Rocky Mountain Maple, Douglas, Grand, & Subalpine Fir, Western Hemlock, Western Larch, Ponderosa, Lodgepole, & Western White Pine, Western Red Cedar, Engelmann Spruce
Bittercherry, Golden Current, Black Hawthorn, Mock- Orange, Red-flowering Current, Serviceberry, Bearberry or Kinnikinnick, Creeping Oregon Grape
Narrow-leaf & Showy Milkweed, Yellow Columbine, Desert Paint Brush, Sagebrush Mariposa Lily, Scarlet & Red Columbine, Dutchman’s Breeches, Mountain Kittentails, Lupine, Purple Meadowrue, Violet Nuttall
Canada Violet, Wild ginger
June Grass, Mountain Brome, Tufted Hairgrass, Idaho Fescue, Bluegrasses
With 80 recognized mountain ranges, Idaho is home to some of the most spectacular scenery and most rugged landscapes in the United States. Dominated by the Rocky Mountains, Idaho’s Shoshone Falls on the Snake River, drops 212 ft. making it higher than Niagara Falls. Hells Canyon, also on the Snake River, is a gorge that is deeper than the Grand Canyon. Idaho can be divided into three major land regions geographically; the Rocky Mountains, the Columbia Plateau and the Basin and Ridge Region. The Idaho Native Plant Society can provide lists of plants for a specific region.
For more information on improving your wildlife habitat, visit the WindStar Wildlife Institute web site. On the web site, you can also apply to certify your property as a wildlife habitat, register for the “Certified Wildlife Habitat Naturalist e-Learning course, become a member and sign up for the FREE WindStar Wildlife Garden Weekly e-mail newsletter.