Laidback Gardener Tip of the Day

To Attract Hummingbirds, You Need Flowers

20150420AOne of the most desirable birds in North America is also the smallest: the tiny but very active hummingbird. What joy to receive the visit of this little winged helicopter in your own backyard! And they are so easy to attract!

The hummingbird is the only bird in North America to feed almost exclusively on floral nectar, although it does gain a few proteins by gobbling up the insects it finds in flowers. So the more flowers you have in your garden, the more likely you are to see hummingbirds visit. You can add a few hummingbird feeders as well, but remember, they aren’t that good for the bird’s health. They still need to visit more flowers than feeders if they are to thrive!

20150419BHummingbirds prefer flowers that are rich in nectar and have a tubular shape. That’s because, with their long beaks, they are often the only creatures that can reach the nectar at the end of long floral tubes, thus ensuring it is not looted beforehand by competing insects! Although popular knowledge has it that hummingbirds prefer red flowers and they do indeed love red, they will in fact visit flowers of all colors.

Here is a short list of plants that hummingbirds love to visit:

Agastache (Agastache spp.) zones 3 to 8, according to species
Apple (Malus spp.) zone 3
Azalea (Rhododendron spp.) zones 2 to 10, according to species
Beautybush (Kolkwitzia amabilis) zone 4
Beebalm (Monarda spp.) zone 3
Bellflower (Campanula spp) zones 3 to 7, according to species
Bleeding Heart (Dicentra spp.) zone 3
Butterfly Bush (Buddleia davidii) zone 6b
Calibrachoa (Calibrachoa spp.) annual
Canna (Canna spp.) zone 8
Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis) zone 2
Catchfly (Silene spp.) zone 3
Clematis (Clematis spp.) zones 2 to 9, according to species
Cleome (Cleome hasslerana) annual
Columbine (Aquilegia spp.) zone 3
Crabapple (Malus spp.) zone 3
Crocosmia (Crocosmia spp.) zone 6
Cuphea (Cuphea spp.) annual
Currant (Ribes spp.) zone 4b
Cypress Vine (Ipomoea quamoclit), annual climber
Daylily (Hemerocallis spp.) zone 3
Delphinium (Delphinium spp.) zone 3
Fireweed (Chamerion angustifolium, formerly Epilobium angustifolium) zone 1
Flowering Maple (Abutilon spp.) annual
Flowering Tobacco (Nicotiana spp.) annual
Foxglove (Digitalis spp.) zone 4
Foxtail Lily (Eremurus spp.) zone 4
Fuchsia (Fuchsia spp.) shrub or container plant, zones 7 to 11, according to species
Hawthorn (Crataegus spp.) zone 3
Heuchera (Heuchera spp.) zone 3
Hollyhock (Alcea rosea) zone 3
Honeysuckle (Lonicera spp.) zone 3 to 6, according to species
Hosta (Hosta spp.) zone 3
Impatiens (Impatiens walleriana, I. hawkeri, etc.) annual
Lantana (Lantana camara), zone 8
Lily (Lilium spp.) zones 3 to 7, according to species
Lupin (Lupinus spp.) zone 3
Mandevilla (Mandevilla spp.) tropical climber
Mimulus (Mimulus spp.) annual
Morning Glory (Ipomoea spp.) annual climber
Nasturtium (Tropaeolum spp.) annual
Nepeta or catnip (Nepeta spp., zone 3
Pelargonium (Pelargonium spp.) annual
Penstemon (Penstemon spp.) zones 2 to 8.
Petunia, Star (Petunia exserta) annual
Phlox (Phlox spp.) zone 3b
Pink (Dianthus spp.), zones 2 to 7, according to species
Rhododendron (Rhododendron spp.) zones 2 to 10, according to species
Russian Olive (Elaeagnus angustifolia) zone 2b
Salvia or Sage (Salvia spp.) annual et zone 4
Scarlet Runner Bean (Phaseolus coccineus) annual climber
Snapdragon (Antirrhinum majus) annual
Sweet William (Dianthus barbatus), zone 4
Tritome (Kniphofia spp.) zone 6
Trumpet Vine (Campsis radicans) zone 6
Verbena (Verbena spp.) annual
Weigela (Weigela spp.) zones 3 to 5, according to species
Zinnia (Zinnia spp.) annual

Garden writer and blogger, author of 65 gardening books, lecturer and communicator, the Laidback Gardener, Larry Hodgson, passed away in October 2022. Known for his great generosity, his thoroughness and his sense of humor, he reached several generations of amateur and professional gardeners over his 40-year career. Thanks to his son, Mathieu Hodgson, and a team of contributors, will continue its mission of demystifying gardening and making it more accessible to all.

1 comment on “To Attract Hummingbirds, You Need Flowers

  1. Pingback: Creating a Bird-Friendly Yard | Laidback Gardener

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