Most of us know that we should provide colorful, nectar-filled flowers to attract more hummingbirds to our garden. But exactly what to plant can be tricky, so we have created a list of hummingbird-favorites that will quickly make your garden a hummingbird hotspot.
Flowers that will attract hummingbirds are:
- Cardinal Flower
- Salvia Sage
- Red-Flowering Currant
- Trumpet Vine
- Crimson Columbine
- Hummingbird Mint
- Trumpet Honeysuckle
- Aloe Vera
- Red Hot Pokes
- Coral Bells
- California Fuchsia
Before you start planting a garden that is sure to be a hummingbird oasis, you need to keep a few things in mind. Not all bright flowers are necessarily hummingbirds’ favorites.
Keeping these tiny iridescent jewels coming back year after year requires knowledge about which flowering plants are on the hummingbird menu.
Flowers That Attract Hummingbirds
Many people simply put up a bright red hummingbird feeder, but keeping it continually clean and filled with fresh sugar water can be difficult. A far easier and attractive option is to provide flowering plants that attract hummingbirds and let nature take care of the bounty.
When planting flowers to attract hummingbirds, there are some things that you should keep in mind.
Hummingbirds are attracted to brightly colored, trumpet-shaped flowers.Try not to go into a garden store and select any brightly colored flowering plant because it may not survive for more than one season.
These are the things that you need to think about when choosing flowing plants that will attract hummingbirds to your garden:
- If possible, try to select indigenous flowering plants
- Choose plants with a longer bloom time
- Select flowering plants that reseed naturally
- Plant variety to have flowering plants available throughout the season
- Think about predators while planting
- Provide a source of freshwater
Creating a gorgeous garden full of flowering plants that attract hummingbirds takes a bit of planning, but if you select wisely the first season, the garden should thrive for many years without any further expense.
Let’s go through the points you should look for when laying out your hummingbird-friendly garden.
Select Indigenous Flowers to Attract Hummingbirds
Native plants are the natural food that hummingbirds have adapted to eat. They are more likely to thrive in your area if you choose plants that have adapted to conditions in your climate.
Indigenous plants do not have to be boring, and some hummingbird-friendly flowering plants can be very showy. The National Wildlife Federation has a comprehensive list of native plants specific to each region which you can use as an iformative and helpful guide when considering which plants to choose.
Besides being the plants that hummingbirds have adapted to feed on, indigenous plants generally require less care to thrive. They are also less likely to resist plant diseases and use less water than exotic plants.
Choose Plants with Longer Bloom Time to Attract Hummingbirds
To keep hummingbirds returning to your garden, providing a consistent supply of delicious nectar-filled blooms is essential.
Select plants that will continue to bloom throughout the migratory hummingbird season rather than just once off in mid-summer.
Choose Self Seeding Flowers When Planting for Hummingbirds
Although it can be fun to go and select a few new plants each season to touches of color to your garden, try to plant some varieties that will bounce back on their own each year.
Plants like Bee Balm and Coral Honeysuckle plant will thrive year after year once it is established. Some flowering plants like petunias may only bloom for one season, and you will need to replant each year.
Plant a Variety of Flowers to Attract Hummingbirds
Hummingbirds are attracted to bright colors, especially reds and oranges. However, they will also readily feed off any tubular, nectar-filled flower they encounter, so don’t limit yourself when you are planting.
Choosing a variety of colorful hummingbird-friendly plants is also more likely to spread the flowering time over a more extended period. This is important so that there is a constant supply of blooms available.
Be aware of the migratory months when hummingbirds start passing through your area. The National Audubon Society has a helpful database that can help you track when to expect hummingbirds in your area.
Choose Flowering Plants Where Hummingbirds Can Feed Safely
Hummingbirds are incredible aerial acrobats that seem to hover motionless while enjoying nectar from flowers. They are delightful and fascinating to watch.
When deciding what type of flowers to choose to attract hummingbirds to your garden, consider if you have any hummingbird predators in the area.
In particular, if you have outdoor cats, try to grow flowers that are high off the ground. Cats can ambush hummingbirds by leaping off the ground and catching them while they are feeding.
Creeping flowers like varieties of Honeysuckle that can be grown on a support trellis will provide a mass of flowering blooms for hummingbirds, which will make it impossible for ground-dwelling predators to catch them.
In Addition to Flowers, Hummingbirds Love Water
The reason you have never seen a hummingbird splish-splashing in your regular birdbath is not that they don’t bathe. It is because hummingbirds prefer to shower.
While planting colorful hummingbird-friendly flowers in your garden will attract hummingbirds, they will stay around longer if more of their needs are met and a water source is available.
Hummingbirds love running water that they can shower in – even the slow trickle from a garden tap or a garden fountain that trickles over an edge. These fascinating little birds seldom immerse themselves in a water pool but will drink and bath to their hearts’ delight if they find a suitable water source.
Types Of Flowers That Will Attract Hummingbirds
Spotting the first hummingbird of the new season is an exciting event. By planting flowers that attract these tiny birds, you can ensure that your garden becomes a popular rest area.
The following is a list of 16 flowers that are sure to attract hummingbirds to your garden.
1 – Bee Balm
Bee balm, also called Mondarda, is a versatile and easy to grow plant that is a favorite with hummingbirds. The bright red flowers can grow up to 4 feet tall and will also attract butterflies and bees.
Various species of Bee Balm are native throughout North America. One of the most popular species for attracting hummingbirds is Jacobs Cline. Its vivid bright red color is a magnet for all species of hummingbirds.
Bee balm does well in many soil types because it spreads by underground rhizome. In fact, once it is established, if it is in a favorable position, you may find that you need to regularly cut it back.
Bee balm requires a sunny position but is not drought tolerant. It blooms in summer, and flowers may even last through to early fall.
In addition to just being a gorgeous color-rich plant in your garden that will attract hummingbirds, bee balm petals can be used as potpourri, and the leaves can be made into tea.
2 – Cardinal Flower
If you have a particularly wet patch of soil in your garden, a favorite flower to attract hummingbirds is the Lobelia cardinalis, commonly known as the Cardinal flower. These indigenous plants come in shades of red, pink, and white, but red is always the preferred color is planting to attract hummingbirds.
Cardinal flowers are good choices in areas where there is abundant wildlife as it is both deer and rabbit resistant. And although other animals may avoid it, hummingbirds clamber to enjoy the sweet nectar in the tubular flowers.
The Cardinal flower plant is between 2 to 4 feet tall, and it thrives in full sun and partial shade. This beautiful plant has adapted in such a way that it depends on hummingbirds for pollination. Flowering usually takes place from summer through to fall.
3 – Salvia Sage
Another red blossomed hummingbird favorite is Salvia, part of a large group of plants in the sage family. Salvia comes in various colors that will attract an abundance of birdlife to your garden, but red is always the hummingbird color or choice.
The flowers of the salvia plant are arranged in attractive spikes of tubular-shaped blooms. The plants’ size can vary depending on the variety and can be between 1 to 6 feet in height.
Salvias are drought resistant and easy to care for plants. They require at least 6 hours of sun per day and will bloom from late spring until early fall.
These gorgeous hummingbird-friendly plants make an excellent showy border and remain in bloom for extended periods because they do not set seeds.
4 – Red-Flowering Currant
The Red-flowering currant, Ribes sanguineum, is a large native shrub that will bloom early in spring, so it is a good choice if you want to attract hummingbirds from the start of the season. It occurs naturally in the western parts of the US.
Red-flowering currant develops attractive red clusters of highly scented flowers that hummingbirds find irresistible. The fast-growing deciduous shrub can reach a height of almost 10ft. It is easy to grow and is drought resistant.
An added benefit of the red-flowering currant is that it is not on the deer menu, so the plant will continue to be attractive and attract hummingbirds even if your garden is visited by browsing deer.
5 – Penstemon
When you need some color variety to add to your hummingbird garden, then Penstemon is an excellent low-maintenance option. These native plants are also sometimes called ‘Beardtongue,’ a name derived from the appearance of the flowers, which resemble an open mouth and protruding tongue.
Penstemon are hardy plants that are popular additions in water-wise landscaping projects as they prefer a drier soil. They come in a multitude of forms and colors, from the ever-popular hummingbird red to tones of purple and blue.
These gorgeous perennials with long clusters of tubular-shaped flowers range in height from 1 – 4 feet. Penstemon is sure to add a lively dash of hummingbird-friendly color to your garden, mainly during May and June.
6 – Catmint
It turns out that it is not only cats that are attracted to catmint. Hummingbirds love it too! Catmint is a perfect flowering plant that can fill gaps between larger feature plants and will add aromatic and colorful foliage to your garden.
Nepeta cataria, commonly called catnip or catmint, offers long-lasting tubular blooms that will attract hummingbirds because of the abundance of lavender blossoms on each stem. It is a low-growing plant with a maximum height of around 40 inches.
Catmint blooms in late spring through fall, so it is an available source of nectar to hummingbirds during their migration flights.
7 – Petunia
Adding colorful petunias can transform any drab landscape into instantly gorgeous very quickly. These cheerful-looking little plants are favorites for borders and hanging boxes and create masses of colorful flowers that will attract hummingbirds.
These easy to keep, low-growing flowers come in a large variety of colors so you can mix and match and splashes of bright color to any sunny area in your garden.
Including some red and orange petunias are always recommended if you want to attract passing hummingbirds. However, once they realize that your garden is well stocked with delicious flowers, they will drink from any available blooms.
8 – Trumpet Vine
If you want a true hummingbird magnet to plant in your garden, trumpet vine should be high on your list of choices. This hardy perennial vine produces large clusters of red-orange flowers that hummingbirds love.
Campsis radicans, more commonly known as trumpet vine, is so popular with hummingbirds that it is also known as Hummingbird Vine in some areas.
Although trumpet vine is native to eastern parts of the US, it is also widely grown in gardens across the country. The plant is a vigorous grower during the summer months and can grow up to 30 ft if provided with sturdy vertical support.
This attractive humming-friendly plant often grows so enthusiastically that it may need to be pruned regularly to keep it from taking over the entire garden. However, its masses of summer blossoms are a visual treat for humans and hummingbirds alike.
9 – Crimson Columbine
Including any variety of Columbine flowers in your garden will all attract hummingbirds. These flowers are the perfect shape for hummingbirds to sip their sweet nectar.
Hummingbirds do, however, have a favorite variety of columbine flowers. The Crimson Columbine, Aquilegia Formosa, is an absolute treat in any hummingbird-friendly garden.
The pendent-shaped flowers resemble red embers that blend from bright red tones on the top and have bright yellow centers. Although the flowers don’t last long, once the plant has established in favorable conditions, it will self-seed and continually send up an abundance of nectar-filled flowers through the growing season.
Columbine is a clump-forming plant, adaptable, low maintenance plant that can tolerate semi-shade conditions a lot better than many other types of hummingbird-friendly plants. It reaches a maximum height of 3 feet.
10 – Hummingbird Mint
Agastache, commonly known as Hummingbird Mint, is an excellent option for very sunny areas. Its informal-looking masses of tiny, tubular flowers can be a charming addition to naturalistic garden settings.
In addition to attracting masses of hummingbirds, Agastache blooms will also invite an abundance of butterflies and bees. This indigenous plant prefers moist, well-drained soil.
The flowers of this plant are both deer and rabbit resistant and come in a mixed palette of pink, mauve, and purple. The plants vary in height depending on the variety but are usually between 1 and 5 feet tall.
Compact varieties of this plant can be grown in containers or hanging baskets.
11 – Trumpet Honeysuckle
Although many types of Honeysuckle are invasive, the trumpet honeysuckle is one you should consider planting in your garden area if you wish to attract lots of hummingbirds.
This impressive plant, also called the coral Honeysuckle, that can grow up to 12 feet tall, will provide a continuous stream of bright red tubular blooms that will be a feast for hummingbirds from spring right through into fall.
The trumpet honeysuckle is an easy-to-grow, native plant. Its vigorous growth during the growing months may need to occasionally be pruned back to keep it neat.
12 – Aloe Vera
One of the most striking and easily recognized plants in many gardens is the Aloe Vera. The long spikes of tubular flowers will beckon hummingbirds to drink.
Many people already keep aloe vera handy to treat burns or skin ailments, but besides the medicinal uses of the leaves, hummingbirds are attracted to the profuse, brightly colored rosettes of flowers.
Aloe Vera is easy to grow. However, it is a longer-term project in terms of attracting hummingbirds because mature plants will only send up flower stalks around the age of 4 years. But the long wait is definitely worth it as your garden will become a hummingbird Mecca while the plants bloom.
13 – Red Hot Pokers
The name alone should let on that these hardy plants will be firm favorites on any hummingbird’s menu. The distinctive spikes of brightly colored flowers will bloom all through summer through in the warmer southern states.
Red hot pokers, also known as torch lilies, are both drought and heat-resistant. Although the plants are native to southern Africa, they have become popular for gardeners who want a no-fuss yet striking addition to their hummingbird-friendly garden.
Mature pokers are around 4 feet high and can grow even in poor soil. Overwatering or boggy soil must be avoided to keep these gorgeous plants in top condition for their hummingbird visitors.
14 – Coral Bells
When it comes to variety, coral bells have got it all. The foliage on these plants varies greatly from palest natural colors to vivid shades of peppermint green and cerise pink.
However, the attraction for hummingbirds comes in when the plant sends up delicate fronds of delicious tubular flowers. The Hollywood variety, in particular, is a favorite among hummingbirds who are attracted to the red flowers, which make a dramatic contrast to the sea of dark leaves from which they emerge.
Coral bells are small plants that only reach a maximum height of around 36 inches and bloom from late spring through late summer. They do very well in full sun to part shade conditions.
15 – California Fuchsia
California fuchsia is an exquisite red-orange flowering plant that is so popular with hummingbirds that it is often called Hummingbirds Trumpet.
The plant, Epilobium canum, is native to Arizona but can thrive and survive in most regions. Once established, the Hummingbird trumpet will come back year after year. For cooler climates, it is recommended to grow this species against a sun-facing wall where it can soak up all the available sun’s rays.
This low-growing plant produces masses of blossoms during late summer and into fall. California Fuchsia does not require rich soil and can thrive with minimal watering.
16 – Esperanza
The yellow bell-shaped flowers of the Esperanza plant, Tecoma stans, just look joyful. The brightness and abundance of the flowers set against the dark green foliage will instantly add dramatic beauty to any garden.
Hummingbirds are quickly drawn to the large trumpet-shaped yellow leaves. Besides its showy blossoms, the plant is also drought tolerant and thrives in large parts of the southern US.
These bright perennial shrubs should be planted in sunny areas and need rich, well-draining soil. They are fast growers and can reach 9 feet in height.
In addition to its spectacular appearance, one of the greatest advantages of planting Esperanza in your hummingbird garden is its extended bloom time. In ideal conditions, this plant can produce blooms from April through to November.
Spring is not far away, and planting some colorful hummingbird-friendly flowers in your garden will add another dimension to your outdoor landscape. The tiny visitors will come in their numbers if the garden is filled with their favorite flowers.
When selecting flowers that will attract hummingbirds, keep in mind that they favor bright red or orange color blooms, and whenever possible, native plants should be first on your list.
Ben has a bachelor’s degree in construction engineering. When not constructing or remodeling X-Ray Rooms, Cardiovascular Labs, and Pharmacies, you can find him at home with wife and two daughters. Outside of family, He loves grilling and barbequing on his Big Green Egg and Blackstone Griddle, as well as working on projects around the house.
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