Flower Facts Flower Information Garden

Plants and Flowers that Attract Hummingbirds

green hummingbird sips nectar from an orange flower

Do you love the idea of hummingbirds hanging out in your yard? You could just put up hummingbird feeders, but why not design your yard to be as attractive to these beautiful birds as possible? As an added benefit, the nectar-producing flowers hummingbirds love also attract other pollinators like butterflies and bees.

Here are some of the best plants and flowers that attract hummingbirds. As a bonus, many of these blooms also look amazing in flower arrangements.

Gardens that Attract Hummingbirds

In general, hummingbirds are most attracted to brightly colored (red, orange, or yellow) tubular flowers, as they produce the most nectar and are the perfect shape for the bird’s long beak and even longer tongue to reach the sweet goodness inside the bloom.

Don’t rely on a single plant species to bring the birds you want to see. Choose a variety of flowers that are suited for your USDA Growing Zone and the growing conditions of your garden. A diverse hummingbird garden is not only more attractive to look at, but it will also offer plenty of food for different species throughout the year.

Also, the overall habitat needs to provide security, shelter, and water in addition to the food provided by the flowers for the tiny birds to want to stick around as long as possible.

Here are some tips to keep in mind when designing your garden to attract hummingbirds:

  • Create a tiered habitat by combining flowering shrubs, vines, dwarf trees, and herbs to provide shade at varying levels.
  • Don’t overcrowd the flowers. Hummingbirds need space to hover and navigate between the flowers while their wings beat more than 70 times per second, creating their trademark humming sound.
  • Spread the red. Hummingbirds are especially attracted to the color red, and it doesn’t have to be just flower blooms. Consider adding a red garden gnome, red plant labels, or even wearing red clothes while you’re out in the garden to attract the birds’ attention.
  • Provide a source of moving water. Hummingbirds will happily take a bath on the fly if you provide a gentle, continuous water spray (like from a sprinkler).

Note: As much as hummingbirds love the color red, don’t add food dye to any sugar water you put in a hummingbird feeder, since it may harm the delicate creatures. Simply use 1 part white sugar mixed with 4 parts water and let red details on the feeder itself attract the birds.

Bee Balm (Monarda didyma)

brown and white hummingbird sips nectar from bright pink bee balm

Not only is bee balm (also known as wild bergamot) excellent at attracting hummingbirds to your garden, but it’s also one of the best plants that repel mosquitoes – nice! A member of the mint family, bee balm features red, white, purple, or pink blooms. It requires good air circulation to prevent downy mildew and does best in moist soil with full sun, although it does tolerate partial shade.

Growing up to 4 feet tall, bee balm will bloom all summer if you deadhead spent blooms.

  • Sunlight: Full sun to partial shade
  • Zone: 4-9
  • Blooms: Summer to fall

Snapdragon (Antirrhinum majus)

dark pink snapdragons

Snapdragons open their “mouth” when pinched in the right spot. That’s why, among flowers that attract bees, snapdragons attract mostly large bumblebees since smaller honeybees can’t open the bloom’s “jaws.”

Although snapdragons are only hardy in zones 7 to 11, they prefer cooler temperatures and make an excellent annual flower across much of the country. Snapdragons bloom for a long time, starting at the bottom of the stalk and working their way up.

  • Sunlight: Full sun to partial shade
  • Zone: 7-11
  • Blooms: Spring to fall; may slow down in mid-summer

Sunflower (Helianthus annuus)

bright yellow sunflowers with blue sky in the background

Did you know the center of a sunflower bloom is actually made up of numerous tiny tubular-shaped flowers loaded with nectar? That’s why sunflowers attract hummingbirds and bees despite having a more “flat” shape than other flowers that attract pollinators.

Sunflowers are available in tons of varieties, with some growing up to 16 feet tall and others maxing out at about 1 foot. While they are most commonly bright yellow, sunflowers can also be brown, maroon, orange, or red.

(P.S. – You don’t need to wait for your garden to bloom to get speedy sunflower delivery!)

  • Sunlight: Full sun
  • Zone: 4-9
  • Blooms: Summer

Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis)

bright pink cardinal flower amongst greenery

Named after the red robes Roman Catholic cardinals wear, the cardinal flower requires mulch to retain moisture in the summer and protect the roots during the winter in colder climates. This perennial self-seeds and easily colonizes a garden with its purple, white, pink, blue, or red flowers.

If you live near any amount of open space, you’ll likely appreciate that the cardinal flower is deer-resistant despite growing to about 4 feet tall.

  • Sunlight: Full sun, partial shade
  • Zone: 3-9
  • Blooms: Summer to early fall

Petunia (Petunia spp.)

pink and purple petunia blooms

Easy-to-grow petunias are one of the most popular annual flowers, and since they bloom repeatedly in full sun, they provide plenty of nectar for hummingbirds to enjoy. Petunias are available in nearly every color of the rainbow and can be grown in a container, garden, or hanging basket as long as they get enough sunlight.

Petunias do need to be fed once or twice a growing season to keep them blooming.

  • Sunlight: Full sun
  • Zone: 10-11
  • Blooms: Spring through fall

Columbine (Aquilegia spp.)

a cluster of white and blue columbine flowers

While all columbines attract hummingbirds, red columbine contains twice the sugar content of other varieties, making it the prime choice for a hummingbird garden.

Growing from 1-3 feet tall, columbine is most frequently used as edging plants around flower beds and fences. You can remove the flower stems after blooming to prompt additional flower growth.

Fun fact: The lavender and white Rocky Mountain columbine is the official state flower of Colorado and it grows at altitude better than the Eastern red columbine.

  • Sunlight: Full sun to part shade
  • Zone: 3-8
  • Blooms: Spring to summer

Zinnia (Zinnia spp.)

dark orange zinnia blossom

One of the most popular annuals in the United States, zinnias grow easily from seed and are available in nearly any color you can imagine with heights ranging from 6 inches to 4 feet. Zinnias like moist soil, but avoid overhead watering as it can lead to fungal diseases.

If you’re a fan of more birds than just hummingbirds, zinnias develop seeds as they mature that will attract finches and other seed-loving birds once the hummingbirds have had their fill of nectar.

  • Sunlight: Full sun
  • Zone: Annuals in 2 to 8, perennial in 9 to 11
  • Blooms: Late spring through first frost

Fuchsia (Fuchsia spp.)

greyish hummingbird feeding from a pink and purple fuchsia flower

With red, violet, white, pink, or purple flowers that dangle from elongated stems, fuchsia is an excellent option for hanging baskets. One species, hardy fuchsia (Fuchsia magellanica) is also known as hummingbird fuchsia for its ability to be a hummingbird magnet.

Named after 16th-century German botanist Leonard Fuchs (hence the spelling), fuchsia plants can be either vining and trailing or bushy.

  • Sunlight: Partial to full shade
  • Zone: Annual in most, perennial in zones 10-11
  • Blooms: Spring through fall

Trumpet Creeper (Campsis radicans)

orange trumpet creeper blooms

The long, tubular blooms of the trumpet creeper (also called trumpet vine or hummingbird vine) are perfect for hummingbirds to drink nectar from. Whatever you call it, this plant can easily overpower small areas by climbing on a variety of surfaces, including trees, fences, and arbors, so it requires frequent pruning. Alternatively, plant your trumpet vine next to a telephone pole or tree and watch it grow up to 40 feet tall.

  • Sunlight: Full sun to part shade
  • Zone: 4-10
  • Blooms: Throughout summer and fall

Butterfly Bush (Buddleia davidii)

purple butterfly bush blossoms with orange and black butterflies on them

Despite its name, butterfly bush also attracts plenty of hummingbirds with its thick, elongated clusters of blue, purple, or pink flowers. This drought-tolerant plant blooms repeatedly from mid-summer through fall and thrives in full sun.

Note: Butterfly bush is considered invasive in some areas, so check local regulations before planting.

  • Sunlight: Full sun
  • Zone: 5-10
  • Blooms: Mid-summer through fall

Salvia (Salvia spp.)

Purple salvia flowers swaying in the wind

Moderately drought-resistant, salvia is a large genus of plants in the mint family (which is why the leaves give off a distinctive fragrance when you crush or cut them). There are many different annual and perennial species of salvia, with autumn sage (Salvia greggii) being one of the more popular varieties.

Growing anywhere from 1 to 6 feet tall depending on the variety, salvia comes in bright shades of red, maroon, indigo, purple, blue, pink, mauve, and more.

  • Sunlight: Full sun
  • Zone: 4-11
  • Blooms: Summer through fall

Bleeding Heart (Lamprocapnos spectabilis)

pink and white bleeding heart flowers glowing in the sunlight

With heart-shaped red, pink, or white flowers that appear to be dripping out their insides, the aptly named bleeding heart is a rich source of nectar for hummingbirds. Bleeding heart prefers moist, well-drained soil, lightly shaded locations, and cooler climates. Although the foliage may turn yellow and die back in the summer heat, this perennial reliably returns each spring.

  • Sunlight: Part shade to full shade
  • Zone: 2-9
  • Blooms: Spring

Catmint (Nepeta species)

lavender catmint blossoms

Deer- and pest-resistant, catmint thrives on neglect if it’s in well-draining soil with full sun. The spikes of pink, white, or blue flowers bloom throughout the growing season. Often wider than it is tall, catmint typically grows to around 1 to 3 feet tall.

  • Sunlight: Full sun
  • Zone: 4-8
  • Blooms: Late spring and summer

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