Creating a Lush Haven: A Guide to Planting for Biodiversity in Your Costa Rican Backyard

Coldwell Banker Pacific Realty | 25th September 2023 | Share
Creating a Lush Haven: A Guide to Planting for Biodiversity in Your Costa Rican Backyard

Costa Rica's natural beauty and biodiversity, with its lush rainforests, pristine beaches, and diverse ecosystems, have earned it a well-deserved reputation as a global biodiversity hotspot. But you don't need to venture deep into the jungle to experience this remarkable diversity—your very own backyard can become a haven for wildlife and native flora. In this blog, we will embark on a journey into the vibrant world of Costa Rican gardening, exploring the plants and strategies that can transform your outdoor space into a thriving ecosystem. Whether you're a seasoned gardener or a green thumb novice, this guide will help you discover the secret to fostering a biodiverse backyard in Costa Rica. From attracting colorful butterflies and hummingbirds to providing shelter for local wildlife, we'll uncover the magic of planting with purpose in this Central American paradise.


Howler Monkeys (Mono Congo): This popular species of monkey is particularly fond of several tree species that provide them with both food and shelter. One of their favorites is the Mango tree, as mangoes are a rich source of essential nutrients, including vitamins (such as vitamin C and A), minerals, and dietary fiber. Mango trees often produce a significant quantity of fruits, especially during the mango season. This abundance makes mango trees a reliable food source for monkeys, and they can feed on them for an extended period. In addition, Howler Monkeys gain most of their hydration from the food they eat, and mangos have an incredibly high-water content that helps them stay hydrated, especially in Costa Rica’s often hot and dry climate. Other trees to consider planting to attract Guanacaste's famous Howler Monkey include Nancites (Nancy Tree), Cortez Amarillo (Gold Trumpet Tree), Cortez Negro (Purple Trumpet Tree), and Roble de Sabana (Pink Poui Tree), as these trees provide delicious flowers and shelter for them.

Hummingbirds: Hummingbirds are attracted to a variety of flowering plants in Costa Rica that provide them with nectar, their primary food source. Nectar-feeding birds in Costa Rica play a vital role in pollinating various plant species. You can find a large variety of hummingbirds in Costa Rica, but the most common ones are the Blue Vented Hummingbird, the Canivet’s Emerald Hummingbird, and The Stripe-Throated Hermit. To create a hummingbird-friendly garden in Costa Rica, consider planting the following types of plants:

- Heliconia: These tropical plants produce vibrant, tubular flowers that are a favorite of hummingbirds. Varieties like the Lobster Claw (Heliconia rostrata) and the Hanging Lobster Claw (Heliconia pendula) are particularly attractive.

- Hibiscus: The large, colorful flowers of hibiscus plants are a magnet for hummingbirds. Varieties with red or orange blossoms are especially appealing.

- Trumpet Vine: Campsis radicans, also known as Trumpet Vine or Trumpet Creeper, features bright orange, trumpet-shaped flowers that hummingbirds find irresistible.Other Flowers: The Male Papaya, Jocote, Wild Petunia, Pochote, Blue Vervarian, Lantana, and Aloe Vera flowers are all types of flowers that Hummingbirds consider easy to lap and are therefore heavily attracted to.

Butterflies: Costa Rica is a captivating haven for butterfly enthusiasts, boasting a dazzling array of butterfly species that adorn its landscapes. The region's tropical climate, rich vegetation, and varied elevations provide an ideal habitat for these fluttering jewels. These vibrant butterfly populations serve as vital pollinators, playing an essential role in maintaining the province's diverse flora and showcasing nature's exquisite artistry to all who are fortunate enough to experience it. There is a rich diversity of butterfly species and attracting them to your garden can be a rewarding experience. The most popular species include: The Morpho, Glasswing Butterfly, Owl Butterfly, and Sara Longwing. To create a butterfly-friendly garden in Guanacaste, consider planting a variety of plants that provide nectar, host plants for caterpillars, and suitable habitat.

- West Indian Latana: This specific flower is incredibly easy to plant as they require very little water and butterflies love them because they flower all year long.

- Passionflower: Costa Rica is home to many species of this delicate flower, and most are characterized by their colorful array of petals and complex structure, which butterflies are incredibly attracted to.

- Bromeliad: Their unique shapes and beautiful colors make them a great ornament plant; however, it is their structures that make them the perfect habitat for small insects, including caterpillars.     

Other Mammals: Other common animals that are easy to attract to your garden are opossums, armadillos, raccoons, and other small mammals that often appear looking for food and shelter. To attract them, it is important to have plants that have the attributes they are looking for. These include Banana, Lemon, Lemandarin, Caimito, or Starfruit trees.


In conclusion, transforming your backyard into a lush haven of biodiversity in Costa Rica is a gratifying endeavor that not only enhances the natural beauty of your surroundings but also contributes to the preservation of the country's rich ecological heritage. By carefully selecting and planting a diverse range of native and wildlife-friendly plants, you invite a myriad of flora and fauna to thrive in your personal sanctuary. The ripple effect of creating such a biodiverse haven is profound benefiting not only your immediate surroundings but also playing a vital role in conserving the broader ecosystem of this biodiverse wonderland. As you witness the vibrant tapestry of life unfold in your backyard, you become a steward of nature, nurturing a harmony.

Sign Up For Property Alerts