Hummingbirds, those fantastic little birds, bring natural entertainment to our gardens with their glittering plumage and fearless behavior. To attract these feathered sprites, your backyard needs the right plants that provide both food and shelter. Discover the best plants for hummingbirds and transform your garden into a hummingbird oasis.
Why Do Hummingbirds Love Flowers?
Hummingbirds are insectivores, meaning flower nectar is their primary food source. While they also feed on insects, nectar is essential for their survival, given their high metabolism. These glittering birds need to consume nectar several times per hour to thrive.
Hummingbirds are attracted to places abundant in flowers and feeders. They won’t linger in areas lacking blooms, as they need quick access to ample food sources. The mutual relationship between hummingbirds and flowers involves pollination, benefiting both parties. By planting these flowers, you support the ecosystem, enhance your garden’s colors, and provide a vital food source for these remarkable birds.
Flowers That Attract Hummingbirds
Scientific Name: Aquilegia canadense
This elegant plant boasts long stalks reaching up to two feet, adorned with red, pink, and yellow blooms that hang upside down. Blooming just before the return of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, Red Columbines thrive in moist or well-drained soils under partial shade.
Scientific Name: Lilium canadense
A lovely species growing up to four feet tall, the Canada Lily features hanging, bell-shaped flowers in yellow, red, or pink. Popular among hummingbirds, these flowers flourish in woodland meadows, preferring moist soil and either sun or partial shade.
Scientific Name: Lonicera sempervirens
A climbing vine with tubular red flowers, the Coral Honeysuckle attracts Ruby-throated Hummingbirds and other hummingbird species. Distinguishable from the invasive Japanese Honeysuckle by its straight and tubular blooms, Coral Honeysuckles thrive in sunny spots with moist, drained soil, making them ideal for planting next to a fence or trellis.
Scientific Name: Monarda didyma
Wild mint reaching three feet in height and two feet in width, the Bee Balm features bushy vegetation topped with red and light purple blooms. The slender tubular flowers attract hummingbirds and thrive in various garden conditions.
Scientific Name: Lobelia cardinalis The Cardinal Flower, belonging to the Bellflower family, is a herbaceous plant known for its vibrant red blooms. Standing at an impressive four feet tall, this plant serves as a beacon for hummingbirds. Its striking color and tubular shape make it an ideal choice for these delightful birds. Cardinal Flowers thrive in moist or wet soils, basking in full or partial sunlight.
Scarlet Sage and other Sage Species
Scientific Names: Salvia coccinea, Salvia lemmonii, Salvia greggii Scarlet Sage and various Sage species have evolved to entice hummingbirds and butterflies. These plants, ranging from two to four feet in height, boast stalks adorned with bright red or yellow, tubular, bell-shaped flowers. Some varieties even showcase purple blooms, attracting hummingbirds of all kinds. Optimal growth occurs in well-drained soils under partial or full sunlight.
Scientific Name: Campsis radicans The Trumpet Creeper, a vine with dark green foliage, offers an abundance of red, tubular flowers. Despite some considering it a weed, this native species plays a crucial role as a food source for insects and hummingbirds. Growing up to 60 feet, the Trumpet Creeper thrives in sunny conditions.
Scientific Name: Impatiens capensis Spotted Jewelweed, reaching two to four feet in height, features delicate stalks adorned with orange, orchid-like flowers. Hummingbirds find these flowers irresistible. Ideal for moist and wet soils, this plant adds a touch of elegance and is perfect for areas near water features or ponds.
Blue Giant Hyssop
Scientific Name: Agastache foeniculum Belonging to the “hummingbird mints” family, Blue Giant Hyssop and other Agastache species are excellent choices for attracting hummingbirds and insects. Lavender-colored blooms crown stalks ranging from two to four feet in height. These plants thrive in well-drained soils with ample sunlight.
Scientific Name: Fouquieria splendens A desert native, Ocotillo, with slender, spiny sticks, showcases red, tubular blooms after rains. Thriving in arid zones, this plant is a valuable resource for hummingbirds. Create a bird-friendly garden by incorporating Ocotillo, especially if you reside in the American southwest or northern Mexico.
Scientific Name: Penstemon barbatus
An herbaceous plant ranging from one to three feet in height, the Bearded Penstemon boasts tubular, lavender-colored
Hummingbirds, with their enchanting presence, can transform your garden into a lively and colorful haven. By strategically choosing specific plants, you can create an environment that not only enhances the beauty of your outdoor space but also attracts these delightful birds. Let’s dive into an extended list of hummingbird-friendly plants, understanding their characteristics and how they contribute to a vibrant garden.
Scientific Name: Chamaenerion angustifolium Fireweed, an herbaceous plant, boasts a height ranging from one and a half feet to an impressive eight feet. Characterized by slender leaves and a reddish stalk crowned with delicate tubular flowers, Fireweed attracts various insects and hummingbirds. This plant flourishes in full sun or partially sunny conditions, thriving in well-drained soil, especially in northern regions.
Scientific Name: Heuchera sanguinea Coral Bells, low and aesthetically pleasing herbaceous plants, feature rounded or maple-shaped leaves. Their stalks showcase tiny pink or coral-colored flowers, proving irresistible to hummingbirds. Whether in red, orange, yellow, purple, or native green foliage, Coral Bells thrive in full or partial sunlight, preferring rich, well-drained soils with neutral or acidic conditions.
Scientific Name: Spigelia marilandica Indian Pink, a short herbaceous wildflower, stands at one or two feet tall. Dark green, spade-shaped leaves accompany a stalk adorned with dark red and yellow flowers. A regular native food source for Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, Indian Pink finds its niche in shaded areas with moist, slightly acidic soil.
Scientific Name: Aesculus pavia Red Buckeye, also known as the “Firecracker Plant,” is a deciduous tree or shrub reaching heights of up to 20 feet. Dark green, drooping leaves and stalks bearing clusters of red, tubular flowers make it ideal for hummingbirds. Thriving in well-drained, moist soils and sunny conditions, Red Buckeye blooms three years after planting, predominantly found in the southeastern USA.
Fireweed – Extended
Scientific Name: Chamaenerion angustifolium Fireweed, a fascinating herbaceous plant, showcases impressive height variability, ranging from one and a half feet to an astonishing eight feet. Recognized for its slender leaves and a reddish stalk crowned with a clump of delicate tubular flowers, Fireweed stands out in any garden. These blooms serve as a valuable food source for various insects and hummingbirds, making it an ecological asset.
Coral Bells – Extended
Scientific Name: Heuchera sanguinea Coral Bells, admired for their low stature and pleasing aesthetics, present rounded or maple-shaped leaves. The key attraction lies in the abundance of tiny pink or coral-colored flowers gracing their stalks, creating a visual spectacle. Hummingbirds are drawn to this plant, making it a must-have for those looking to entice these winged visitors. Thriving in full or partial sunlight, Coral Bells prefer rich, well-drained soils with neutral or acidic conditions.
Indian Pink – Extended
Scientific Name: Spigelia marilandica Indian Pink, a charming short herbaceous wildflower, typically reaches heights of one or two feet. Characterized by dark green, spade-shaped leaves and a stalk adorned with dark red and yellow flowers, it adds a delightful touch to shaded garden areas. Hummingbirds, particularly Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, find these tubular flowers irresistible. Thriving in shaded environments with moist, slightly acidic soil, Indian Pink is a versatile and attractive addition to any garden.
Red Buckeye – Extended
Scientific Name: Aesculus pavia Red Buckeye, also known as the “Firecracker Plant,” introduces itself as a small deciduous tree or shrub with the potential to reach heights of up to 20 feet. Dark green, drooping leaves and stalks adorned with clusters of red, tubular flowers make it a picturesque choice for hummingbird enthusiasts. The vibrant blooms act as a lure for hummingbirds, contributing to the ecological diversity of your garden. Thriving in well-drained, moist soils and sunny conditions, Red Buckeye rewards gardeners with its splendid display, particularly in the southeastern USA.
How To Make Your Garden Hummingbird-Friendly
Hummingbirds bring joy to gardens, but creating the perfect haven for them requires some thought and effort. Adequate food sources, achieved through well-maintained hummingbird feeders and native flowering plants, are crucial. Strategically placing feeders in partially shaded spots, out of reach for cats, ensures a safe feeding environment. For those opting for multiple feeders, spacing them apart prevents crowding.
In terms of plants, selecting species that hummingbirds prefer, as highlighted by the 15 plants mentioned earlier, is essential. Moreover, avoiding planting seeds with harmful pesticides, such as neonicotinoids, is a responsible choice. These pesticides pose a threat not only to birds but also to various insects.
Diversity in flowering plants is key. Cultivating various types that bloom at different times ensures a continuous food supply for hummingbirds throughout the breeding season. Additionally, keeping an eye out for potential predators like cats, praying mantises, and bullfrogs is essential. Taking precautions, such as keeping cats indoors and creating barriers against potential threats, helps create a haven for these delicate creatures.
FAQ on Plants For Hummingbirds
What plant attracts hummingbirds the most?
Plants that attract hummingbirds the most are characterized by low stature and small, tubular flowers. Examples include Lupine, Sage, Trumpet Honeysuckle, and various Sages. While hummingbirds can feed from flowers of various colors, they show a preference for orange and red blooms.
What shape flowers do hummingbirds like best?
Hummingbirds are particularly drawn to slender, tubular flowers. The elongated shape of these flowers complements the hummingbird’s feeding mechanism, making it easier for them to extract nectar.
What is the best hanging planter for hummingbirds?
Selecting an appropriate hanging planter for hummingbirds involves choosing one with vibrant, tubular flowers. Plants like Fuchsia, Trumpet Vine, and Hanging Basket Sage are excellent choices, providing both aesthetic appeal and a convenient feeding spot for hummingbirds.