Plants that Attract Hummingbirds

How to Attract Hummingbirds to Your Garden

February 11, 2020
plants-attract-hummingbirds

Do you love to watch hummingbirds fly around your garden? Learn which types of plants attract hummingbirds and how to create a hummingbird-friendly environment in your garden!

Attracting Hummingbirds: How to Create the Perfect Environment

For centuries, gardeners have been fascinated with the beauty and aerobatics of 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, water, and security.

  • Herbs, flowering shrubs, dwarf trees, and vines can all 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’s 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 feeders with red parts, red plant labels, red thermometers, and even red clothes on a gardener. Note: Do not use red dye in a hummingbird feeder; there is concern that it may harm the birds. Instead, use plain, clear sugar water (1 part white sugar mixed with 4 parts water). The birds love it! If your feeder does not have red on it, attach a red label or other item to attract them.
  • 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.
  • Find more tips for introducing hummingbirds to your garden here!

An often-asked question is, “Why do hummingbirds hum?” We can’t say for certain, but suspect that it might be because they don’t know the words!

All jokes aside, the real answer is that hummingbirds are capable of beating their wings up to 80 beats per second, producing a buzz audible to human ears.

Hummingbird at purple flowers

Flowers that Attract Hummingbirds

Here’s a list of flowering plants that attract hummingbirds. Choose varieties in red and orange shades.

Many of the plants that attract hummingbirds also attract butterflies. Learn more about attracting butterflies to your garden.

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
Iris Iris
Flowering tobacco Nicotiana alata
Foxglove Digitalis
Lily Lilium
Lupine Lupinus
Pentas Pentas
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

Hummingbird at feeder

Hummingbird Facts

Hummingbirds are one of the most interesting birds! Here are some fun facts about these little birds:

  • Bee hummingbirds are the tiniest of all birds, weighing less than an ounce and measuring only 2 inches long.
  • Their brightly-colored, iridescent feathers and quick movements make them appear as living sun catchers—hence their nickname, flying jewels.
  • Hummingbirds have the 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 their body weight each day to replace the calories that they burn up. This means eating almost constantly—from sunrise to sunset—and visiting over a thousand flowers every day.
  • You can hear the call of a ruby-throated hummingbird here.
  • Learn more about hummingbirds here.

If you’re a fan of hummingbirds, you probably like to see other birds flying around your garden, too. Explore these tips for a bird-friendly garden.

Do you have hummingbirds or other birds in your garden? Let us know in the comments below!

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Reader Comments

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Hummingbird Feeder

This is our 4th year to put out hummingbird feeders, and our most productive. We had at least 6 pair of hummingbirds visit us this year. There was two hummingbird nests that we know of and both hatched out babies. We have pictures of them.

Flowers for hummingbirds

In my central Maryland garden, I watched a hummer enjoying the blossoms of jewelweed. They also feed on the red blossoms of canna, monarda and trumpet vine.

plants that attact hummingbirds

Malvaviscus arboreus var. drummondii (Turk's cap) has little red flowers and the hummingbirds that come to our yard love the plant.

hummingbirds

I have kept bird feeders for hummers for years. Although I have never seen lantana mentioned as attraction for hummers, they love my lantanas. Thought maybe lantana might be mentioned as attractive for hummingbirds.

My Hummingbird

I choose to believe the one Hummingbird I've seen in the garden is the same one each time and, by adoption, is now 'my' Hummingbird. He is particularly fond of the red mandevilla. I'll be off to the hardware store today for a feeder.

Hummingbird

Hi, I also planted Mexican sunflowers last year. The hummingbird loved them. I started them inside this year. I have planted bee balm and have some feeders. I’m excited to see what happen this year

Zone plantings

I am interested in growing plants that attract hummingbirds and butterflies and it would be a lot simpler if plants are grouped in zones so I dont have to waste time making sure that my choice of plants will not survive because of wrong PH soil for instance.. The Mississippi River is the great divide of PH soil.. East of that is acidic whiel the west of that is alkaline. Southwestern states are also different as they are to the extreme of alkaline soils.. And those plants are very hard to find and they are not even sold in big box stores that carry nursery departments.. A lot of people use pesticides that kills off butterflies, anyway.. What is the point after all if nobody bothers to mention that to readers who use them..

Hummers!

I live in the high desert of California. And look forward to my Hummers every year. And they are here every month of the calendar. I love their shimmery colors as they flit about. We can see them here pretty much from sunrise to sunset. They visit our nectar feeders on our porch daily. They are curious creatures! And many times seem to follow me around and about from front to back and side yards just to see what I am up to!

Humming Birds

The humming birds usually arrive in our area sometime in May. When I'm out in the garden, the "hum" of the wings if they approach close-by always startles me because it's a LOUD sound -- almost like the hum of an electric fan. I make the sugar water without red coloring and we enjoy seeing them dart around the yard as they visit the feeders and various flowers.
We love feeding the birds all year long and have a wonderful variety coming to our yard. We also put out grape jelly for the orioles and have loads of them visiting our feeder all summer.

Humming birds

I have humming birds every year. I love watching them. I have a feeder and I make the sugar water for them. If there's more then one they fight over the feeder

Flowers that attracts hummingbird

Hi, thanks for sharing this post. I observed in my garden that plants such as Cosmos(orange) and zinnias attracts hummingbirds as well. I see them drinking the nectar from these plants.

Humming birds

We used to have a lot more but the Power Co.came in and cut down lots of trees. Trying to find ways to get them back.

Birds

Every year we have two nestlings of bluebirds, about eight babies a year. Also hummingbirds are
Always around my hummer feeders. i think I have a wren nesting somewhere nearby but cant can't locate her nest yet. Hummers were a Little late this year but their out among the Azealas now.
Some are bossy little critters. Bluebird peeking out her nesting house now, sitting in her eggs while
Male feeds her.

Birds in my garden

I have a bunch of hummingbirds (6 to 8), Vermilion Flycatchers, Inca Doves, sparrows, Finches as well as other birds I can't identify. Lucky me!!

hummingbirds

i record yearly info to my calendar and it amazes me that these beautiful little birds show up on the same day. last year they arrived on april 20th and this year it was the same. they are such a blessing and always make me smile.

Hummingbird

I was going to pull up a purple cauliflower plant that had bolted in my garden until I noticed the hummingbirds swarming all over the yellow flowers.

Humming bird

I have a humming bird feeder in the front yard but only one bird feeds there and does not allow others to join him. I also have plants that should attract them but so far no luck please help

Mexican Sunflower

I planted a Mexican Sunflower last summer in my raised bed not realizing how huge they get, but noticed the Black Swallowtail butterflies and a humming bird were enjoying it all summer. I'm considering planting another one this year, just not in my raised bed! They get about 5' tall and 4' wide with an open habitat so lots of room to fly around. You will need to deadhead at least once or twice a week for continuous blooms.

Bees

Do the plants that attract butterflies and hummingbirds also attract bees?

Pollinator Plants

The Editors's picture

Generally speaking, yes, they do. However, some plants have specialized flowers that are designed specifically for certain pollinators. Thin, tubular flowers are better suited for hummingbirds and butterflies, which can reach into the flowers with their tongues.

Where to hang nectar jar.

The sun rises at the back porch in the morning and in the front porch in the afternoon. And those are the only two spots I have to feed the hummingbirds. Will the sun hurt the nectar? Please advise.
Thank you and I remain Sincerely
Norma Iris Montalvo

Hang nectar in shady area

You will need to hang the nectar in a shady area as it will get pretty hot in full sun. Do you have a tree you can hang it from that will give it some shade?

Hummingbird feeder

We don't have a tree on our rental property, and when the sun shines on the front patio, it is very intense. I notice some neighbors hang their feeders from the patio ceiling beams and the hummingbirds do feed.

Is there some other way to put the feeders on a pole or a covered pole.
Thank you, and I remain,
Sincerely, Norma Iris

Bird Murder

It has occurred to me that a hummingbird had just impaled another hummingbird while flying. I didn't ask for this, thanks a lot!

Question about plants that attract hummingbirds

We have an Althea outside our dining room. Hummingbirds are attracted to it. Do those plants have any nectar that the Hummingbirds can get to?
Thanks,
Bobby

Do Hummingbirds Like Althea Nectar

The Editors's picture

Hi Bobby,

Yes! Hummingbirds love nectar from althea flowers. Keep those althea plants healthy to encourage the hummingbirds to stay around!

Do Hummingbirds like Althea Nectar?

Thanks, for the reply. The Althea we have is a Rose of Sharon. Are Hummingbirds attracted to all Althea’s? I want to add another one to our yard in front, possibly a different color.
Thanks,
Bobby

Althea Plants

The Editors's picture

No problem! We love to help. Yes, hummingbirds are attracted to all types of althea plants. Go right ahead and plant the type that you want!

Bully Bird

I enjoy watching the hummingbirds on my patio feeding. I have verbena, petunias, pineapple sage plants on my patio to feed them. I can't wait until they start feeding on them. There is this one hummer that always fight and runs off other hummer from feeding and perches on top of the hook and guards it. I call him my little bully Bird, because he's very territorial.

Hummingbird feeder food

I've been using a 1/3rd cup sugar to 1 cup water for early migration, due to the energy used by the birds. Then the 1/4th cup to 1 cup there after. Is this OK, or should I just go with the latter?

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