10 plants that attract hummingbirds

Hummingbirds are one of the backyard birder’s most coveted visitors! With their brilliant plumage and dazzling flight patterns, it’s no wonder that we try our hardest to attract more hummingbirds to our yards every year. Besides putting up a hummingbird feeder and using homemade nectar, another way to appeal to hummingbirds is to plant their favorite flowers in a garden, hanging basket, or container around your home.

Two important notes: 1) If you’ll be planting native perennials or annuals, be sure to check your hardiness zone! Native plants are great for your garden because they attract native insects, don’t need artificial fertilizers or pesticides, and are preferred by birds and other wildlife. 2) If you plant seed-bearing plants, don’t prune them back at the end of the season to attract even more wild birds. Non-migratory birds love to eat the seeds from the spent flowers, especially in the wintertime when other food sources are scarce.

Try filling your garden with a few of these beautiful blooms to bring more hummingbirds to your home this season!

 

  1. Bee balm

bee balm

Bee balm is one of the hummingbirds’ favorite flowers! This tubular perennial is easy to care for and gives off a fresh minty aroma. Blooms occur in mid-summer, and you can stimulate a second flowering by deadheading the flower buds immediately after they’ve finished blooming to give the hummingbirds some extra nectar as they prepare for fall migration.

Plant type

Perennial

Hardiness zones

4-9

Sun exposure

Full, partial

Bloom time

Summer

 

  1. Columbine

columbine

Columbine is the perfect plant to attract the first hummingbirds of season! Its nectar-filled spurs attract a variety of pollinators and coincides with the return of migratory hummingbirds around May. If columbine is on your list, make sure you plant it early to take full advantage of its spring blooms!

Plant type

Perennial

Hardiness zones

3-8

Sun exposure

Full, partial

Bloom time

Spring to summer

 

  1. Petunia

petunia

Petunias produce a sugary nectar that hummingbirds love. Their vast color variety makes them an attractive choice to add color to your garden, hanging baskets, or containers. Place them near your hummingbird feeder for best chance of hummingbird sightings!

Plant type

Annual

Hardiness zones

10-11

Sun exposure

Full

Bloom time

Spring to fall

 

  1. Zinnia

zinnias with hummingbird

Zinnias are a great choice for adding colorful blooms to your summer garden and are well-loved by hummingbirds. As a bonus, each zinnia head is packed with seeds which are a favorite of finches!

Plant type

Annual

Hardiness zones

2-8

Sun exposure

Full

Bloom time

Spring to fall

 

  1. Butterfly bush

butterfly bush

The flowers from the butterfly bush not only attract butterflies but are especially attractive to hummingbirds because of their high nectar count. These hardy bushes come in a variety of colors that are sure to bring bright blooms and hummingbirds to your garden. Look for the gorgeous tri-color variant for even more bursts of color!

Plant type

Perennial

Hardiness zones

5-9

Sun exposure

Full

Bloom time

Summer to fall

 

  1. Salvia

red salvia

This drought-loving perennial is the perfect choice for warmer, dry climates. Hummingbirds love the tubular shape of its flowers and the sweet nectar insides. If you reside in a cooler climate, you can still plant salvia as an annual in the summertime after the first frost, or choose a variety that works well for your hardiness zone.

Plant type

Perennial

Hardiness zones

10-11

Sun exposure

Full, partial

Bloom time

Summer to fall

 

  1. Penstemon (Beardtongue)

penstemon beardtongue

Penstemon, or desert beardtongue, thrives in hot, sunny, dry climates. This springtime bloomer brings much-needed nectar to hummingbirds early in the season as they migrate north. Ranging in color from pinks and reds to purples, hummingbirds love the tubular shape of the flowers, making penstemon a great addition to a drought tolerant garden.

Plant type

Perennial

Hardiness zones

3-8

Sun exposure

Full

Bloom time

Spring to summer

 

  1. Hummingbird mint (Agastache)

hummingbird mint

What’s not to love about hummingbird mint? As the name suggests, hummingbirds are attracted to the brightly colored flowers, high nectar count, and tubular flower shape of the hummingbird mint plant. An added bonus: this hardy perennial detracts unwanted garden pests like rabbits and deer!

Plant type

Perennial

Hardiness zones

3-10

Sun exposure

Full

Bloom time

Summer

 

  1. Delphinium (larkspur)

delphinium larkspur

Delphinium is a versatile plant that can be used as an annual or perennial in containers and gardens. Its tall blooms both attract hummingbirds and detract deer, rabbits, and groundhogs, making it a great option for gardeners with an eye on pests. Typically available in purple, blue, or white, delphinium also comes in a dwarf variety that requires less maintenance.

Plant type

Perennial

Hardiness zones

3-7

Sun exposure

Full

Bloom time

Summer to fall

 

  1. Trumpet honeysuckle

trumpet honeysuckle

Trumpet honeysuckle is an attractive vine that is favored by hummingbirds due to its bright and tubular-shaped flowers. Be aware that this vine has a tendency to spread quickly, so regular pruning is required to keep it in the location you desire. This showy perennial is best grown in dry, arid climates where it’s less likely to spread.

Plant type

Perennial

Hardiness zones

4-11

Sun exposure

Full, partial

Bloom time

Spring to summer

 

 

These 10 plants provide a good basis for a hummingbird and pollinator garden. To find more plant options that are native to your area, you can search Audubon's native plants database or take a look at the Pollinator Partnership planting guides. And check out these 12 plants to attract even more wild birds to your yard!



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