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!

Reader Comments

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I live on a second floor and

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

The Editors's picture

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: http://www.almanac.com/content/plants-attract-hummingbirds
 

They love my Mexican

They love my Mexican Petunia's <3

I found a baby hummer that

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?
thanks,
Mary Samardzich

If the baby hummingbird is on

The Editors's picture

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.

Yes, the feathers will grow

Yes, the feathers will grow back in time.

I believe I have a sweet rose

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 ...

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

I'm your Pensacola neighbor

I'm your Pensacola neighbor and I have a variety of flowers on my patio that seem to attract. I have begonias, petunias, variety of lilies, hibiscus and chenille. I plan to buy a Rose of Sharon and Trumpet vine because I have read that these attract hummingbirds. Since seeing one last weekend and then seeing several at my feeder I have caught what I think is hummingbird fever. : )

I work in a Christmas store,

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

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

I've planted lilacs,

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

The Editors's picture

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

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

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

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

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?

Bees and wasps like yellow

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

I have 2 Fuchsia hanging

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 ?

The HUM from a hummingbird is

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

Here are a few tried & true

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,

Many of the plants listed

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

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

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

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.

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