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Plants that Attract Hummingbirds

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For centuries, gardeners have been fascinated with the beauty and aerobatics of hummingbirds. This article will show which types of plants will attract hummingbirds and how to create a friendly environment for them in your garden.

Hummingbird Facts

  • They are the tiniest of all birds, weighing less than an ounce and measuring only 3 inches long.
  • Their brightly-colored, iridescent feathers and quick movements make them appear as living sun catchers—hence their nickname, flying jewels.
  • They have a unique ability to fly in any direction, even backward, with their wings beating up to a blurring 80 beats per second.
  • Plus, they can hover in midair when sipping nectar from brightly–colored flowers with their long, slender beaks.
  • While whizzing about the garden, hummingbirds expend so much energy that they must eat at least half of their body weight each day to replace the 12,000 calories that they can burn up. This means eating almost constantly from sunrise to sunset and visiting over a thousand flowers every day.

Attracting Hummingbirds

The key to attracting hummingbirds to your yard is to plant lots of flowers and provide the habitat that will give them shade, shelter, food, and security.

  • Herbs, flowering shrubs, dwarf trees, and vines all can be used to create an ideal tiered habitat from ground level to 10 feet or more.
  • Provide lots of space between plants to give hummingbirds enough room to hover and navigate from flower to flower.
  • Hummingbirds love water, especially if it is moving. A gentle, continuous spray from a nozzle or a sprinkler hose is perfect for a bath on the fly.
  • Hummingbirds do not have a keen sense of smell and rely on bright colors to find their food
  • They are particularly fond of red and are often observed investigating red plant labels, thermometers, and even red clothes on a gardener.
  • Brightly–colored flowers that are tubular hold the most nectar, and are particularly attractive to hummingbirds. These include perennials such as bee balms, columbines, daylilies, and lupines; biennials such as foxgloves and hollyhocks; and many annuals, including cleomes, impatiens, and petunias.

An often–asked question is, "Why do hummingbirds hum?" We really aren't sure, but suspect that it might be because they don't know the words.

Here are more plants that attract hummingbirds. Choose varieties in red and orange shades.

Common Name Latin Name
Beard tongue Penstemon
Bee balm Monarda
Butterfly bush Buddleia
Catmint Nepeta
Clove pink Dianthus
Columbine Aquilegia
Coral bells Heuchera
Daylily Hemerocallis
Larkspur Delphinium
Desert candle Yucca
Flag Iris
Flowering tobacco Nicotiana alata
Foxglove Digitalis
Lily Lilium
Lupine Lupinus
Petunia Petunia
Pincushion flower Scabiosa
Red-hot poker Kniphofia
Scarlet sage Salvia splendens
Scarlet trumpet honeysuckle Lonicera sempervirens
Soapwort Saponaria
Summer phlox Phlox paniculata
Verbena Verbena
Weigela Weigela


Related Articles


My husband bought me a

By ByMiMi

My husband bought me a Hummingbird swing and I would like to know a good location to place it. Are they okay to be near a feeder? Thank you

Hi Mimi, Thanks for asking.

By Almanac Staff

Hi Mimi,

Thanks for asking. Yes, put the swing near a feeder.

I live in Tucson and have one

By KathleenG

I live in Tucson and have one feeder during the winter which usually has several hummers feeding. Even though my feeder is supposed to be bee proof the bees started attacking the feeder and sucking it dry in a day or two. My flowers are all in a "greenhouse" for the winter. I have tried jelly to distract the bees and that worked for about 2 or 3 days and then they were back at the feeder. What can I do to provide for my hummers? Do you think additional feeders will help or will the bees just move from one to the other?

Some tube feeders can be

By Almanac Staff

Some tube feeders can be drippy, which attracts bees. Be sure to wipe the feeder clean of sugar solution each time you refresh it, and check for drips each day.

Some say that a saucer or basin type feeder works well, and has less drips that would encourage bees. It places the food too far down for the bees to reach, but the long hummingbird tongues can get to it.

Other tips include placing a second feeder in shade. Bees tend to go for those in the sun.

Avoid feeders that have yellow on them, as this color can attract certain bees.

You might also try changing the solution to have less sugar. For example, if you are using 4 parts water to 1 part sugar, change it to 5 parts water to 1 part sugar.

You can also try moving the feeder to a different location several feet away--some insects may not catch on where the food went. Or, you can remove the feeder for a few days, which might encourage the bees to look for other food sources instead.

Thank you. I will try your

By KathleenG

Thank you. I will try your suggestions and see what happens.

I live in Pensacola, FL and I

By Gaynelle Brannon

I live in Pensacola, FL and I have never seen a humming bird here. I have a feeder out with food. Are they native to this area?

There are 16 hummingbird

By Almanac Staff

There are 16 hummingbird species that live in North America. Several species have been seen in Florida, and three are native: ruby-throated, rufous, and black-chinned, with the ruby-throated being the most common. You might be interested in these sites, which provide information and photos about some species:

To increase the chances of attracting hummingbirds to your yard, plant a few hummingbird plants. These will provide better food (nectar) for the birds than sugar water in the feeders. Although they like the feeders, for them to get the energy they need for daily tasks and migration, they'll need lots of nectar. The first site mentioned here lists hummingbird plants for parts of Florida. The guidelines of the article on also will help you choose plants to invite the birds.

For more Florida plant lists, see:



After learning that

By Jomont

After learning that hummingbird migration patterns bring hummers to the Northeast (we live in western Massachusetts) as early as mid-April, I put out my feeders the last week of April. Within about 10 days, we started seeing hummingbirds on a regular daily basis, both female and male. I also have a variety of hummingbird-attracting shrubs, perennials and annuals. We live in a fairly densely populated area of a small town. All of a sudden, about the first week of June, we stopped seeing the hummingbirds altogether. Any thoughts on what may have happened? I'm worried maybe their nest was destroyed, obliging them to move elsewhere.

The hummingbirds are likely

By Almanac Staff

The hummingbirds are likely nesting.

Last year I had approximately

By Aleta Mays

Last year I had approximately 15 hummingbirds. 5 feeders. This year started with 2 and now none. Whats up. Miss watching them. Making my own nectar 4 to 1 like I have read. Changed out nectar weekly still no birds. Thinking of painting my feeders red. Should I increase the amout of sugar in my nectar?

Hi, Aleta: Since you've had

By Almanac Staff

Hi, Aleta: Since you've had success before, this may have more to do with your returning population than with your presentation. Perhaps predators have had an effect. Perhaps some other food source is outcompeting you. You seem experienced enough to know to make sure that your feeders are meticulously clean, well spaced, and so forth. Experiment with your feeders. We use 4:1 ourselves, too, but try one or two with 3:1. Paint one or two red, with different types of paint if possible. Change some locations, perhaps closer to hummingbird-friendly flowers. Has anything changed near your feeders from last year to this year? Sometimes we overlook the obvious. Hummingbird populations can vary from year to year, too. Keep trying!

Hi Aleta, Try changing the

By Tina Scalzi

Hi Aleta,
Try changing the feeders every day or every other day. They much prefer fresh food, especially in warmer/hotter climates. My husband and I put a feeder out about two weeks ago, the first day we put it out we saw one hummingbird, the second day the hummingbird was back. After that we didn't see it again until the work was out and we changed the food. The hummingbird was back within the first hour of the feeder being changed. The lady that runs the Wild Bird Shop near our house said it was important to changed it every day, every other day worst case.

I leave my feeders out until

By Ben Luna

I leave my feeders out until empty.. My birds keep coming back every year . I will usually keep a fresh batch in the frig and when lots of birds show up I put more feeders out, funny how they prefer the cold mix over the old. I have numerous turks caps which they love .
Huffman tx

I live in eastern Idaho,

By KathyJ6749

I live in eastern Idaho, elevation 5,000 ft, what plants are best for hummingbirds.

We had a burn pile smoking

By Curious gal

We had a burn pile smoking this morning and I noticed a humming bird hovering in the smoke and then 2 others going near another pile that was not burning. What might they be doing?

I believe the hummingbirds

By ibqueenbee

I believe the hummingbirds eat ash. I've seen them do this several times, the day after we had a fire. Couldn't say why, but it's the weirdest thing to watch.

I live in the Northeast

By Antonio Mesquita

I live in the Northeast region( Hudson Valley, NY). And like to know what kind of bushes or perenials near the porch that doesn't grow too hi. Also would attracted hummingbirds.

Hi Antonio, Here is a list of

By Almanac Staff

Hi Antonio, Here is a list of plants that attract hummingbirds. The butterfly bush is always a good choice!

Thank you very much.

By Antonio Mesquita

Thank you very much.

My Texas Sage seems to please

By Mary_Richards

My Texas Sage seems to please the visiting hummingbirds in my backyard.

Something I discovered recently is not on the above list of 'Hummingbird Facts'.

They like to perch on a swing. In fact, they spend a good part of their day sitting or perching.

I suggest you purchase a hummingbird swing.

do Hummingbirds have a sense

By Mike clemens

do Hummingbirds have a sense of smell

Hummingbirds do not have much

By Almanac Staff

Hummingbirds do not have much of a sense of smell. However, they have very keen eyesight.

We have several hummingbirds

By Robin Battles

We have several hummingbirds that kept trying to feed off of a red lantern that hung on our porch. We bought a feeder for them with red liquid food. We have several trying to feed but one hummingbird keeps trying to fight the others off. It is not eating from it but it keeps attacking the others as they start toward it. Is this normal and is there anything we can do?

Ah, hummingbird wars. Is IS

By Almanac Staff

Ah, hummingbird wars. Is IS normal. You can't stop them from fighting. They will aggressively protect their territories, especially males. You can try moving the feeder to a different location, away from a territory or possible perch. Or, you can try adding feeders spaced well apart--even on different sides of the house so one bully can't "guard" and hog them all. Good luck!

I have deciduous azaleas,

By Linda Bragg

I have deciduous azaleas, which in the eastern panhandle of WV, are like the native azaleas. The humming birds like them, assuming the deer don't ear all the flower buds and leaves first.

I live on a second floor and

By Pat Wick

I live on a second floor and have a deck. I have a large and a small planters on my deck rail. I want to fill them with flowers that would attract hummers. I have bright sun on them most of the time. The large one has pink petunias among the other flowers. The smaller one is just below the feeder with a large magenta sunpatient in it. What do you recommend for these planters so I can get more than two hummers?? I have one male and one female at the moment. I would like more.

Hi, Pat, Brightly–colored

By Almanac Staff

Hi, Pat, Brightly–colored flowers that are tubular hold the most nectar, and are particularly attractive to hummingbirds. These include perennials such as bee balms, columbines, daylilies, and lupines; biennials such as foxgloves and hollyhocks; and many annuals, including cleomes, impatiens, and petunias.We have a list of plants that attract hummingbirds here:

They love my Mexican

By Sherri Ogden-Sonntag

They love my Mexican Petunia's <3

I found a baby hummer that

By Mary Samardzich

I found a baby hummer that fell out of her
nest, the long feathers on her right wing were at odd angles, I'm assuming that the fall out of the tree may have broken those feathers,those feathers eventually fell off. Her wing is fine, she tries to fly but can't, my question is will those feathers grow out eventually so she can fly?
Mary Samardzich

Yes, the feathers will grow

By Kiwi

Yes, the feathers will grow back in time.

If the baby hummingbird is on

By Almanac Staff

If the baby hummingbird is on the ground and you see the nest, gently pick the bird up by its body and place it back in the nest. 
Birds do not have a sense of smell and it will not affect the mother's acceptance of the baby. If you can't find the nest,  call your local wildlife rehabilitator or veterinarian so it can be saved.

I believe I have a sweet rose

By Goldenfawn22

I believe I have a sweet rose of Sharon tree planted before I move to my apartment. The buds this year seem to have died up before even blooming. Would anyone have an idea what happened and have a suggestion on how to produce more buds? I saw a Humming bird for the first time in my life, and now I want a garden inviting them and butterflies:) I'm really excited about my new hobby so far I am growing a pot of herbs, a white rose bush oriental lilies, king Hubert Red Canna. It's all a learning process but I find it relaxing.

They love my peach trees!


They love my peach trees!

I live in Mobile Alabama ...

By Charles1953

I live in Mobile Alabama ... I want to know what plants I need to plant to attrack Hummingbirds and what time of the year can I expect to see them ... please help

Very nice post. I absolutely

By Kelvin

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Stick with it!

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I work in a Christmas store,

By Jasmine Ensign

I work in a Christmas store, the boss wants the door open, and I have already had 2 hummers stuck in the store. Everything is red and tree... What can i hang near the door to scare them, that will still look nice, and christmassy?

I have a decorative

By Sandy Spayd

I have a decorative hummingbirds flag located fairly close to my feeder. Will the movement deter the birds from coming?

I've planted lilacs,

By Anonymousjohn

I've planted lilacs, butterfly bushes, hibiscus, various hostas, salvia, various Lillie's, roses & much more. In addition I have put out three red hummingbird feeders. I live in the northeast, in the garden state of New Jersey & did not see a single hummingbird last year. I'm very frustrated & disappointed. Any suggestions. ???? I also have a birdbath & several fountains.

In case they help, here are a

By Almanac Staff

In case they help, here are a few suggestions:

* Make sure that your feeders have clean sugar water (with no red dye). Change it before it gets cloudy--daily in summer heat.
* Avoid using pesticides in your yard.
* Set out a hanging basket of tubular flowers close to the feeders.
* Check for any animals that may be scaring the hummingbirds away, such as cats, dogs, or hawks. Even praying mantises have been known to hang out at bird feeders to catch hummingbirds!

Good luck!

I am new to this area and

By Ronald LaCourse

I am new to this area and have only seen 3 hummingbirds, twice at my liquid feeder. I do hope they will still be around mid-October. The Cleveland, Ohio in the city gets little action.

I plant lantana in containers

By Vettie

I plant lantana in containers on my deck, and my hummers LOVE it! I just store the containers in the garage through the winter.

the only plant that i know

By hummbird

the only plant that i know will attract humming birds is the pineapple sage.I've already seen two humming birds.

I found that Hummingbirds in

By Countrysunrise

I found that Hummingbirds in my area love the Fuschia plant, so I get one every year. The problem that I have is with bees and wasps, and need a way to keep them away from the feeder without killing them. They also go after the grape jelly I put out for the Baltimore Orioles. Does anyone have any suggestions?

I have 2 Fuchsia hanging

By June Wilson

I have 2 Fuchsia hanging plants for the hummers but the robins and blackbirds won't stay out of them and the hummers are cautious about approaching them. I also have 2 humming bird feeders one at each end of the porch for the hummers . how do I get the robins and blackbirds to stay away from the hanging plants ?

Bees and wasps like yellow

By Bright colors

Bees and wasps like yellow flowers. The last 3yrs I had a swarm of bees that took over my hummer feeders and scared off the scouts. I then only had about seven of them vs the 20 or more I had previously. Last year mofher nature planted large clumps of Indian mustard, which are yellow. The bees went to them and left my feeders alone. Next year I will make sure that I have a lot of yellow flowers in the early spring growing in the proximity of the feeders

The HUM from a hummingbird is

By gardengurl

The HUM from a hummingbird is made by the vibration of their wings.

Many of the plants listed

By gardengurl

Many of the plants listed above are not hummer plants though a hummer may investigate them. Sweet rocket, mint and purple loosestrife are very invasive and will choke out natural vegetation. Some honeysuckles that are either European or Asian are also extremely invasive. For the eastern part of the US Lonicera sempervirens in the native honeysuckle that has coral red flowers and a very well behaved perennial vine.

Which are the hardiest for

By Sandra Pohlman 2

Which are the hardiest for full sun? I have a small patio area and a few hummers coming regularly. I'd like to draw more! I've bought hibiscus bushes but have nowhere to store them for winter.

Sandra, I assume your are in

By gardengurl

Sandra, I assume your are in zone 6 or colder. I moderate a hummingbird forum. Many of the plants listed above are more for butterflies than hummers though the the hummers will investigate them. Hardy perennials in sun for hummers would include Coral Honysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens), Coral Bells (Heuchera sanguinea), Penstemon barbatus coccineus, Agastache rupestris, Salvia azurea, Eastern Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis). Salvias, Penstemons and agastaches need excellent drainage. the native eastern columbine needs moist but well draining soil and Coral Bells will work with most soils as long as it doesn't stay too wet. Iris fulva works well in wet areas as does Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis) Monarda Jacob's Cline' works in sun or shade but needs moist soil. Red Hot Poker does well in half day sun and is somewhat doubht tolerant and Crocosmia 'Lucifer' does well in parto or full sun. but does best in well draining soil. There are lots of more tender plants that will work great for attracting hummers. Check out The Hummingbird Forum We discuss the best plants to grow and where to find them.

Right now I have 4 feeders

By Deborah Dambrosi

Right now I have 4 feeders hanging out, others in my area have seen the flying jewels, but I haven't yet. I'm hoping to see some soon. I planted salvia, nasturiums and butterfly bushes. I have to get more planted. I'm sure they'll show up at my place soon. I also put out some fake Hawaiian Leis, they're colorful and they're hanging on a former swing that I'm using to hang my jewel feeders on.

Here are a few tried & true

By gardengurl

Here are a few tried & true Hummer plants that I grow for the hummingbirds that spend the summer with me.
Stachys coccinea (Texas Betony)- annual
Salvia subrotunda - annual
Salvia greggiis - zone 7 hardy
Salvia guaraniticas - zone 7 hardy
Salvia coccineas - annual
Agastache rupestris - zsone 6 hardy
Agastache cana - zone 6 hardy
Canna indica - zone 8 hardy
Penstemon barbatus coccineus - zone 6 hardy
Penstomon murrayanus - zone 6 hardy
Crocosmia 'Lucifer' - zone 6 hardy
Bignonia capriolata (Crossvine) - z 6 hardy
Cypress Vine - annual vine
Cardinal Climber- annual vine
Lobelia cardinalis (Cardinal flower) - perennial
Hersperaloe parviflora (Red Yucca)zone 6 hardy
Red Buckeye - zone 6 hardy
Bleeding Hearts - perennial
Aquilegia canadensis (eastern columbine)- perennial
Silene virginica - perennial
Heuchera (Coral Bells) - perennial
Russelia equisetiformis - annual
Pentas - annual
Cuphea ignea 'David Verity' - annual
Ipomopsis rubra (Standing cypress)biennial
Silene regia -zone 6 hardy

Others that I haven't tried yet are Turks Cap,Native Azaleas, and Penstemon eatonii,

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