“What flowers attract hummingbirds?”

 

flowers that attract hummingbirds

 

This is probably the most common question people have as they construct their hummingbird garden and habitat.

 

I know it was for me.

 

Trying to sort through hundreds of potential flowers that hummingbirds (might) like was more frustrating and time-consuming than I had initially thought.  I have spent hours trying to find the perfect mix of flowers and plants to optimize my backyard for hummingbirds.


*Go directly to the list of hummingbird flowers!*


I have finally realized that the hummingbird flowers in my backyard will always be a work in process; adding, removing, and experimenting with different plants is part of the fun!

 

Regardless, I thought it would be worthwhile to share some of the best flowers that I use or have come across that attract hummingbirds.

 

But first, here are 4 guidelines that I tried to follow when selecting the hummingbird flowers that appear on this list:

 

1. Lots of Nectar!

 

When trying to find flowers that hummingbirds like, it starts and ends with nectar.

 

Nectar is the only reason that hummingbirds visit flowers in the first place. They need this sugar solution to fuel their high energy lifestyle. (They flap their wings around 60 times per SECOND)

Hummingbirds in slow motion. Starts at about the 1:00-minute mark.

 

Also, a common trait of many flowers that attract hummingbirds is they are long and tubular. Insects have a hard time reaching the nectar in these types of flowers, but hummingbirds, with their long beaks and tongues, are perfectly adapted.

 

2. Native to North America:

 

In my opinion, the best flowers to use for hummingbirds are native to North America. I think they not only provide excellent sources of energy but are also preferred by other pollinators, caterpillars, spiders, etc.

 

So you won’t find the popular Butterfly Bush on my list below. If you didn’t know, this ornamental plant originates from China.

 

But the line between what is native and what is not is a bit murky. Some plants originate from other continents, but are so popular and have been in North America so long that they are considered “naturalized” in the wild. Also, most plants you see in nurseries are not what you would find in nature anyway, but some cultivar of the wild version of that flower species.

 

So I did my best when trying to make sure the hummingbird flower was native. Forgive me if it’s not perfect. 🙂

 

How do you know if a plant is native?

 

*Bonus Tip* There is a helpful search tool located on the United States Department of Agriculture website. If you are not sure if a plant is native, type in the scientific name or common name in the search bar on the left-hand side. It will show you whether the plant is native to North America, introduced, or both.

 

3. Easy to Find:

 

I tried to select plants that you didn’t have to order a year in advance from a specialty nursery and then have it shipped across the country.

 

I wanted to find hummingbird flowers that were common and typically supplied by your local nursery or easy to buy from a reputable company online. In fact, most of these flowers can be ordered and shipped from Amazon and I tried to include a link whenever possible.

 

4. Relatively Easy to Grow:

 

I am certainly not a master gardener. Any plants that I consider have to be suitable for amateurs and don’t require a lot of attention once they are in the ground, albeit getting watered, fertilized, and pruned every so often.

 

It’s also imperative to consider your Plant Hardiness Zone when selecting any flowers, shrubs, or trees.

hardiness zone for hummingbird flowers

Check out the USDA website to type in your specific zip code.

Whenever you buy a plant, it will display the hardiness zones that it will thrive in. For example, I live in Northeast Ohio, which is zone 6a. If I bought a flower that had a plant hardiness zone range of  8a – 12a, then I know it won’t survive our cold winters. There are also many plants that only thrive in colder (lower) zones and can’t live through the hot summers of the south.

Making sure your hummingbird flowers are appropriate for YOUR hardiness zones is extremely important! And it’s the reason that a hummingbird garden in Alabama will look completely different than the hummingbird habitat I have created in my backyard in Ohio.

But creating your own regionally unique area for hummingbirds is part of the fun!

 

Ok, it’s time to check out some of the best hummingbird flowers!

 


28 Common Flowers That Attract Hummingbirds

 

In full disclosure, this list has a slight preference for flowers that attract the Ruby-throated Hummingbird and grow in the eastern United States.

 

This is because I live in Ohio and it’s the only hummingbird that we can attract!

 

I tried my best to find flowers can be planted across the United States, or have regional cultivars designed for different hardiness zones and climates. I even included a few hummingbird flowers that only grow in western North America.

 

If you have specific questions, please consult a local nursery or use the comments section below!

 

1. Trumpet Vine (Also called Trumpet Creeper)

 

native flowers and plants for hummingbirds

 

Trumpet Vine is an excellent flower to attract hummingbirds (it’s even commonly referred to as “hummingbird vine”), as it features long, tubular, bright flowers with lots of nectar.

 

It’s native to the southeast United States but is easy to grow in most of the country. And I do mean GROW. It has a reputation for growing like crazy, and I can second that with my first-hand experience. It needs to be trimmed regularly, or it will take over an entire area. The vine gets so big that many birds will even nest in its dense foliage!

 

It is widely available, and I can always find Trumpet Vine at my local nurseries. Typically, it takes a year or two after planting to start getting bright and beautiful flowers.

 

USDA Hardiness Zone: 4-9

Life Cycle: Perennial

Approximate Mature Size: Vines can grow up to 40 feet high

Bloom Time: July to September

Scientific NameCampsis radicans

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2. Trumpet Honeysuckle

 

flowers that attract hummingbirds

 

Another vine that is native to the eastern United States, Trumpet Honeysuckle is a favorite of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds. The birds love the bright clusters of red and orange flowers.

 

It has similar features to the Trumpet Vine, and many people get the two mixed up. A benefit of the Trumpet Honeysuckle is that it’s not as aggressive and does not get as big as the Trumpet Vine. Because of this, Trumpet Honeysuckle may fit better in your hummingbird garden.

 

USDA Hardiness Zone: 3-9

Life Cycle: Perennial

Approximate Mature Size: 15 feet tall x 6 feet wide

Bloom Time: May – June

Scientific Name: Lonicera sempervirens

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3. Red Cardinal Flower

 

best native plants to attract hummingbirds

 

The Red Cardinal Flower is an excellent addition to any backyard hummingbird habitat. I love that it’s native to almost the entire lower 48 states and eastern Canada.

 

It’s gorgeous when in bloom, providing vibrant red tubular flowers. In fact, the flowers are too long for most insects, and the Red Cardinal Flower relies on attracting hummingbirds for pollination.

 

It grows best when not in full sun and likes moisture. In the wild, I always see them on the side of shady, northern Michigan streams while kayaking every August.

 

USDA Hardiness Zone: 3-9

Life Cycle: Perennial

Approximate Mature Size: ~ 3 feet

Bloom Time: Mid to late Summer

Scientific Name: Lobelia cardinalis

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4. Bee Balm

 

how to attract hummingbirds with flowers

 

Bee Balm is a smaller, perennial flower. Hummingbirds, along with bee’s and butterflies, love visiting these plants to get nectar. It’s native to eastern North American and the Pacific Northwest. 

 

There are over 50 cultivars commercially available, representing many different colors. Some are mildew resistant, and certain ones will be better for your region than others, so please check the hardiness zone and do your research.

 

Other common names for Bee Balm include monarda, horsemint, oswego tea, and bergamot.

 

Easy to grow, deer resistant, and drought resistant!

 

USDA Hardiness Zone: 4-9

Life Cycle: Perennial

Approximate Mature Size: 3-4 feet tall, up to 3 feet wide (depends on which cultivar selected)

Bloom Time: July – September

Light Requirements: Full Sun, but also does well with a bit of shade

Scientific Name: Monarda didyma

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5. Sage (Salvia)

 

What flowers attract hummingbirds?

 

 

Sage has it all; it looks great in your garden, attracts hummingbirds, easy to grow, and the leaves can even be eaten!

 

Sage is the common name of any plants under the genus Salvia. Unfortunately, it’s going to be hard to give a lot of specific details about which Sage flower would do best in your backyard.

 

That’s because there are hundreds of different species of Sage on Planet Earth, and many more cultivars that grow well in hummingbird gardens all across the country.

 

Sage comes in all different sizes and colors. Some are annual, some perennial. Many are native to the Americas, but the most common, Salvia officinalis (Common Sage) originates from the Mediterranean but is so common it is considered naturalized in North America.

 

One thing most variations of Sage have in common is they have spikes of flowers that are tubular in nature. And these flowers are great for attracting hummingbirds, along with other pollinator insects, moths, and butterflies.

 

My advice is to do some more research and find a variety that will do well where you live. Luckily, Salvia is VERY COMMON at most nurseries.

 


6. Rhododendron

 

Flowers that attract hummingbirds

 

If you have ever seen a Rhododendron in full bloom at the end of May, you will agree that their display is incredibly beautiful. You can’t blame hummingbirds for being attracted. In fact, my awkward high school prom photos were even taken in front of our large Rhododendron bush that was in full bloom in our front yard.

 

One of the most popular plants at any nursery, there are over a thousand different species of Rhododendron that have been identified, with the majority of them originating from Asia.

 

But the Rhododendron species that I recommend for hummingbirds is native to North America.

 

Its scientific name is Rhododendron catawbiense, and it’s commonly referred to as Catawba rosebay, Catawba rhododendron, mountain rosebay, purple ivy, purple laurel, purple rhododendron, red laurel, rosebay, or rosebay laurel.

 

It has beautiful, dark green foliage all year and hummingbirds will love the gorgeous pink flowers each May. It’s also incredibly hardy and can survive cold winters.

 

USDA Hardiness Zone: 4-8

Life Cycle: Perennial

Approximate Mature Size: Up to 10 feet tall and 10 feet wide if not pruned.

Bloom Time: Spring

Light Requirements: Part Shade. Typically the more moisture provided, the more sun it can handle.

Scientific NameRhododendron catawbiense

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7. Lupine

 

lupine

 

Lupine features beautiful, long spikes of flowers. There are many different species and cultivars available, and hummingbirds should like them all.

 

They come in all sizes and colors, so there should be some sort of Lupine that fits your hummingbird garden perfectly.

 

USDA Hardiness Zone: 4-9

Life Cycle: Perennial (some Annual)

Approximate Mature Size: Too many variations to list, but the average is 3 feet tall and wide.

Bloom Time: Depends on zone and variety, but typically May – July.

Light Requirements: Sun to Part Shade

GenusLupinus

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8. Columbine

 

Hummingbird flower

 

Columbine flowers refer to any of the many species from the genus Aquilegia, many of which are native to North America.

 

I love the unique look of Columbine, and luckily so do hummingbirds! It’s pretty flowers typically bloom in May, right when hummingbirds are making their way back north, so this may be the first plant that you see hummers visiting each Spring.

 

It’s interesting to note that insects have a hard time accessing the nectar, so hummingbirds should have this flower all to themselves.

 

There are many species and hybrids available.  For those of us that live in the eastern half of the United States, Red Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis) is a great option.

 

USDA Hardiness Zone: 3-8

Life Cycle: Perennial

Approximate Mature Size: ~3 feet high

Bloom Time: May

Light Requirements: Grows well in the shade. If full sun, provide lots of moisture.

GenusAquilegia

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9. Lily

best flowers to attract hummingbirds

 

There too many species of lilies to count, but true lilies (Genus Lilium) are typically defined by large,  beautiful flowers that grow from bulbs.

 

Lilies are show stoppers in your backyard garden, and it’s just a bonus that hummingbirds are also attracted to their flowers.

 

Here are two native species to get you started:

 

Eastern USA & Canada: Canada Lily (also called Wild-yellow Lily or Meadow Lily)

  • Attracts Ruby-throated Hummingbird
  • Blooms June – July
  • 3-8 feet high
  • Scientific Name: Lilium canadense

 

Western USA & Canada: Columbia Lily (also called Tiger Lily)

  • Attracts Rufous Hummingbird
  • Blooms June – August
  • 4 feet high
  • Scientific Name: Lilium columbianum

 


19 More Hummingbird Flowers!

 

The nine flowers above are some of the best and most common native flowers that will attract hummingbirds.

 

But COUNTLESS other plants will also perform well in your backyard hummingbird habitat. Due to time and space, I’m not able to give great descriptions of the rest, but thought it would be helpful to provide a list of other native flowers to check out.

flowers that hummingbirds like

*I need your help! Please use the comments section below to tell us about your favorite hummingbird flowers in your backyard.*

 

Just a reminder that you will need to do more research regarding each plants zone compatibility, sun requirements, bloom time, etc.

 

Perennial Hummingbird Flowers, Shrubs:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Annual Hummingbird Flowers:

 

 

  • 25. Petunia
    • *Native to South America, but has been introduced and naturalized across North America.

 

 

 

 


My Favorite Tip When Choosing Hummingbird Flowers:

 

Select Different Bloom Times!

 

If you want hummingbirds visiting your backyard all summer, this is very important. You need to spend some time planning out when each of your flowers is going to bloom.

 

Remember that hummingbirds start migrating north in early Spring and then leave again in late Summer. Your challenge is always to have one of your flowers in full bloom to provide a natural nectar source.

 

If you want to view my guides for attracting hummingbirds and designing your backyard hummingbird garden, then check out the below articles:


Final Thoughts

 

Honestly, this was one of the harder posts that I have had to write.

 

At first glance, it seemed easy to come up with a list of the best flowers to attract hummingbirds. But once I started doing my research and analyzing the flowers in my backyard, I realized the sheer amount of options that are available and that having a successful hummingbird garden depends on regional differences.

 

This article will hopefully be a good starting place and point you in the right direction. There are many more native flowers that didn’t make this list, so my advice is to consult a local hummingbird expert or nursery to find the best species or variety of flowers for your specific climate.

 

Before you go, can you please answer this question in the comments below?

 

What flowers do hummingbirds like best in your backyard?

 

Thanks for reading!

 

Scott

34 responses to “28 Common Flowers That Attract Hummingbirds (Native, Easy To Grow)”

  1. Leah Novak says:

    I live in Indiana and while the hummingbirds like the petunias they LOVE the feeders! Lol

  2. Martina Derrer says:

    If deer are a challenge, maybe get annuals in a basket and hang them high. I’ve seen bright red and orange/gold trumpet shaped flowers, although I can’t remember what their names are.

  3. Terry Wrigley says:

    I have a lot of these flowers/shrubs in my garden, but unfortunately the deer destroy a lot too. Any suggestions for deer resistant flowers & shrubs that attract hummingbirds and butterflies? (I’m in southwest Ontario)

  4. terri says:

    Cannana’s! Got some from an old neighbor many years ago. Yes you have to dig them up in zone 6 (almost zone 5) for the winter and replant in spring, but the humming birds love them

  5. Lynette says:

    I live in northwest Ohio and I typically plant a variety of annual salvias for the hummingbirds since they bloom from the time they are planted until after the hummers leave. This year I decided to plant a cuphea vermillionaire and it has become the most visited flower of all! I plant to plant several next year as well as some of the flowers listed here.

  6. Donica Robinson says:

    Rose of Sharon. Zone 5. I live in Zone 4, but planting it right next to my house seemed to keep it safe and the hummingbirds were all over it.

  7. Dana Calhoun says:

    I live in Pennsylvania always get flowers hummingbirds love, many listed here. They also love my hostas when flowers bloom but this year deer have been destroying many hostas. My question is because someone recommended deer repellent spray, will the hummingbirds still be able to enjoy the hostas flowers?

  8. Michael Sarcione says:

    Hardy Geraniums or cranesbills. I have several pink ones that only boom once mid spring, but the Ruby throats dine on them here on Cape Cod.

  9. Sylvia Rodriguez says:

    I live in Fountain Colorado and the hummingbirds like the Rose of Sharon and the Honeysuckle. We have mama Hummer build a nest right outside our back porch on a string like and enjoy watching her feed baby Hummer.

  10. Jim Smith says:

    I live in Southern California and the hummingbirds like my Lily of the valley and Lily of the nile. I very much like to attract hummingbirds and butterflies to my garden. Your post and all the comments are very helpful to me. Thank you for this.

  11. Susie Douglas says:

    I live in Iowa and the house I bought doesn’t have many flowers around it. Previous owner must’ve had out feeders because I’ve noticed hummingbirds flying around. Lots of good advice on setting up a hummingbird garden. I’m going to try.

  12. Ghalib Ali says:

    I also live in Northeast Ohio, so this write up has been very helpful! Im still in the planning phase, but this will definitely be a valuable reference! Thank you!

  13. Martina Derrer says:

    Is it my imagination or has anyone else noticed how hummingbirds, bees and butterflies do not feed at those hanging baskets you can get at the grocery store. I’m wondering if the hybridization of new species reduces the amount of nectar and are therefore just for show…

    • Scott says:

      Hey Martina, I agree with you and that is probably correct, or the flowers are native to other countries where hummingbirds are not located.

  14. Meredith James says:

    I work at a garden center in the Pacific Northwest and Hotlips Salvia is a very popular selection; we can hardy keep it stocked! Now that I know it attracts hummers, I’ll be bringing one home for my yard!

    My Gaura will be in bloom soon, so I’m anxious to see if they like that flower. I know I do! Right now they’re all over my honeysuckle and my red roses.

  15. Alma says:

    I’m in North Texas and the hummers here enjoy Red Yucca, Coral Honeysuckle, Autumn Sage, and (non native) Black and Blue Salvia.

  16. Bev says:

    I live in eastern PA and my hummingbirds love the hibiscus plant that I have on the back porch every summer. I also had planted a bag of seeds that were for hummingbirds and butterflies last year and they loved them as well, but attracted a praying mantis, is it true that a praying mantis can get a hummingbird? Also, the hummingbirds love the Rose of Sharon bushes. Thanks for this site, very helpful!

  17. Alice Lowran says:

    Are your pulmonaria in pots or in the ground? I have pulmonaria as a border but have never seen hummingbirds at them.

  18. Alice Lowran says:

    Several years ago I bought a cute annual called “Hot Lips Salvia.” It’s lipstick pink and white flowers immediately attracted hummingbirds to the planter garden on my deck. They bloom all summer, so the hummingbirds are here until they migrate south. Pinch back the branches and it bushes out.

  19. margot gulliford says:

    I plant Streptocarpella (a variety of African violet) in wall- hung pots on my covered back deck and on my front porch. This pretty little plant has violet like flowers on arching stems, and grow well in diffuse and low light. Hummingbirds will fly right into the covered deck and porch to get them and if I am sitting quietly I am often lucky enough to get a little face to face visit before they fly off again.

  20. Lori says:

    I live in Wisconsin and plant my canna bulbs in the spring. They don’t flower until late summer/early fall, but the hummingbirds love them!

  21. Diana says:

    This time of year (May) the hummingbirds love the pink/purple Lungwort flowers in my yard. They also really like the blooming Rhododendron bush. Later on it’s bee balm and phlox.

  22. Martina Derrer says:

    My main concern is early spring. The hummer is here and nothing is in bloom yet. The trilliums have started but I don’t think they are of much interest. I’m toying with the idea of growing stuff indoors and then just putting it out in pots when the weather warms.

  23. I just moved to the Eastern Townships in Quebec. I’m right at the base of Mt Orford and have seen a ruby-throated hummingbird flitting about. I’m in the planning stages of what to plant for these beautiful beings. This post and comments are very helpful. 🙂

  24. I’m in southern Ontario and in this cold wet spring the hummingbirds are going for the oriole feeder as well as their own, and love the pulmonaria (lungwort) which is one of the very first flowers to show here

  25. Christel says:

    On m balcony the hummingbird really liked the red fortune flower last year hopefully he will come again this year

  26. Susie king says:

    I have lots of hummingbirds.my canalillies are where they stay…and now i have lantana and they swarm it.they come up every year in beds.strange though that they go right past my hydranjas.wonder why?

  27. Marjorie Morrison says:

    I live outside of Grand Rapids Michigan and the hummingbirds in my garden love the zinnias, the obedience plants, and most of all the Mexican sunflower or tithonia. Unfortunately, the deer love the tithonia, too!

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