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Best Flowers to Attract Hummingbirds

Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Anna's Hummingbird, Black-chinned Hummingbird, Rufous-tailed Hummingbird, Violet-crowned Hummingbird, Long-tailed Sylph, Sword-billed Hummingbird, Bee Hummingbird, Giant Hummingbird

Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Anna's Hummingbird, Black-chinned Hummingbird, Rufous-tailed Hummingbird, Violet-crowned Hummingbird, Long-tailed Sylph, Sword-billed Hummingbird, Bee Hummingbird, Giant Hummingbird

Hummingbirds are small birds belonging to the family Trochilidae, known for their iridescent plumage, rapid wing-flapping, and extraordinary agility in flight. There are over 300 species of hummingbirds that are native to the Americas, with the highest species diversity found in South and Central America.

Hummingbirds have the highest metabolism of any bird species, requiring them to consume large amounts of energy-rich food daily. Their heart rate can exceed 1, beats per minute, and they take around 250 breaths per minute while at rest. To fuel their high-energy lifestyle, they may consume up to 50% of their body weight in nectar daily.

They have a specialized diet that provides the energy and nutrients they need to sustain their high metabolism and active lifestyles. Their diet primarily consists of two main components: nectar and insects.

Nectar: The primary energy source for hummingbirds comes from the sugar-rich nectar of flowers. Nectar is composed mainly of glucose, fructose, and sucrose, providing them with the quick energy they need to fuel their rapid wing beats and hovering abilities. Hummingbirds have an exceptional ability to digest sugar rapidly, which allows them to extract energy from nectar within minutes of consumption. They can consume up to their body weight in nectar each day to meet their energy needs.

Insects and spiders: While nectar provides hummingbirds with the necessary energy to sustain their active lifestyle, it lacks the proteins, fats, vitamins, and minerals that are essential for their overall health and growth. To meet these nutritional requirements, hummingbirds consume small insects and spiders. These make up a smaller portion of their diet, but they are crucial for muscle and feather development, as well as reproduction. Examples of insects they may eat include fruit flies, gnats, aphids, and small beetles.

Hummingbord, Lantana

Hummingbirds have also been known to visit sugar water feeders and eat tree sap, fruit juice, and even ashes and sand to obtain essential nutrients. However, these sources are not a replacement for their natural diet and should only serve as supplements.

Creating a garden that attracts hummingbirds can be a rewarding and enjoyable way to interact with these fascinating creatures. By incorporating a variety of nectar-rich plants, you can provide a valuable food source for hummingbirds while also creating a beautiful and colorful garden. Here is a comprehensive list of plants that attract hummingbirds:

Trumpet vine (Campsis radicans): This vigorous, climbing vine produces large, trumpet-shaped flowers in shades of orange, red, or yellow. The tubular flowers are filled with nectar, making them a popular choice for hummingbirds.

Coral bells (Heuchera): With their delicate, bell-shaped flowers on tall, slender stems, coral bells are a favorite among hummingbirds. The flowers come in various shades, including red, pink, and white.

Bee balm (Monarda): This perennial features showy, tubular flowers in vibrant red, pink, or purple hues. The fragrant foliage and nectar-rich flowers of bee balm make it a popular plant for attracting hummingbirds and butterflies.

Guide Information

Genus Penstemon, Agastache, Digitalis, Alcea, Aquilegia, Buddleia, Nepeta, Campsis, Petunia, Fuchsia, Monarda, Lupinus, Lonicera, Lobelia, Lantana, Kniphofia, Heuchera, Salvia, Canna
Attracts Hummingbirds
Campsis radicans (Trumpet Vine)
Heuchera ‘Black Forest Cake’ (Coral Bells)
Monarda (Bee Balm)

Salvia: With over 900 species, the Salvia genus offers a wide variety of flower shapes, sizes, and colors. Many species, such as Salvia guaranitica and Salvia coccinea, are highly attractive to hummingbirds.

Columbine (Aquilegia): These charming, nectar-rich flowers come in various colors and are well-loved by hummingbirds. The spurred, bell-shaped flowers provide easy access to nectar.

Fuchsia: With their pendulous, tubular flowers, fuchsias are ideal for attracting hummingbirds. Available in an array of colors, fuchsias can be grown in hanging baskets, containers, or as shrubs.

Aquilegia (Columbine)
Salvia (Sage)
Fuchsia

Penstemon: This perennial produces tall spikes of tubular flowers in shades of red, pink, purple, and white. Many species of penstemon, such as Penstemon barbatus, are particularly attractive to hummingbirds.

Red hot poker (Kniphofia): Also known as torch lily, this perennial plant boasts tall spikes of tubular, red or orange flowers. The nectar-rich blooms are a favorite of hummingbirds.

Cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis): This striking, native wildflower features brilliant red, tubular flowers that are highly attractive to hummingbirds. The plant prefers moist soil and can be found growing along streams and in wetlands.

Lobelia cardinalis (Cardinal Flower)
Penstemon digitalis (Foxglove Beardtongue)
Kniphofia (Red Hot Poker)

Butterfly bush (Buddleja): While primarily known for attracting butterflies, butterfly bushes also draw in hummingbirds with their long, nectar-rich flower spikes in various colors.

Hummingbird sage (Salvia spathacea): As the name suggests, this sage variety is a hummingbird magnet. It produces spikes of tubular, red flowers and has a pleasant, fruity scent.

Foxglove (Digitalis): This biennial plant features tall spikes of tubular, bell-shaped flowers in a range of colors. Foxgloves are particularly attractive to hummingbirds due to their nectar-rich blooms.

Buddleja ‘Blue Chip’ (Butterfly Bush)
Salvia spathacea (Hummingbird Sage)
Digitalis (Foxglove)

Lantana: This hardy, sun-loving plant produces clusters of tubular flowers in various color combinations. The nectar-rich blooms are appealing to hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees alike.

Lupine (Lupinus): These perennials produce tall, spiky flower clusters in shades of blue, purple, pink, or white. The nectar-rich flowers are a favorite of hummingbirds and other pollinators.

Canna: With their large, tropical-looking leaves and showy, nectar-rich flowers, canna plants make a bold statement in the garden while also attracting hummingbirds.

Lantana urticoides (Texas Lantana)
Lupinus arboreus (Tree Lupine)
Cannas (Canna Lilies)

Hollyhock (Alcea spp.): These tall, stately plants produce large, showy flowers in a variety of colors, including red, pink, white, and yellow. Hollyhocks are biennials or short-lived perennials that can add vertical interest and old-fashioned charm to a garden. Their nectar-rich flowers will attract hummingbirds as well as other pollinators.

Petunia (Petunia spp.): Petunias are popular annuals that boast a wide range of colors and flower forms. The trumpet-shaped flowers are not only attractive to hummingbirds but also provide a continuous supply of nectar throughout the summer months. Plant petunias in hanging baskets, containers, or garden beds to add a splash of color and attract hummingbirds.

Snapdragon (Antirrhinum majus): Snapdragons are a favorite among gardeners for their tall spikes of tubular flowers that come in a variety of colors. These plants are particularly attractive to hummingbirds due to the rich nectar content of their flowers. Snapdragons make excellent additions to borders, cutting gardens, or containers.

Alcea rosea ‘Halo Blush’ (Hollyhock)
Antirrhinum majus (Snapdragon)
Petunia

Agastache (Agastache spp.): Also known as hyssop or hummingbird mint, agastache is a genus of perennials with tubular flowers in shades of blue, purple, pink, or orange. The plants are not only attractive to hummingbirds but also emit a pleasant fragrance that adds another dimension to the garden. Agastache is drought-tolerant, making it suitable for xeriscaping or low-water-use gardens.

Catmint (Nepeta spp.) is a perennial herbaceous plant known for its attractive, fragrant foliage and blue or purple flowers. While it is more commonly associated with attracting bees, butterflies, and even cats (due to its similar scent to catnip), it can also be appealing to hummingbirds. The tubular flowers of catmint provide a nectar source for hummingbirds, and its long blooming period offers a continuous supply of food throughout the growing season. To attract hummingbirds with catmint, choose varieties that produce larger, more prominent flowers, such as Nepeta ‘Walker’s Low’ or Nepeta × faassenii ‘Six Hills Giant’.

Lonicera sempervirens, commonly known as trumpet honeysuckle or coral honeysuckle, is a native, non-invasive climbing vine that is highly attractive to hummingbirds. This deciduous or semi-evergreen plant produces clusters of tubular, trumpet-shaped flowers in shades of red, orange, or yellow from late spring to early summer. The bright flowers are rich in nectar and provide an excellent food source for hummingbirds. Trumpet honeysuckle is a great choice for adding vertical interest to your garden, as it can be trained to grow on trellises, arbors, fences, or even as a ground cover. It is relatively low-maintenance, drought-tolerant, and resistant to pests and diseases.

Lonicera sempervirens (Trumpet Honeysuckle)
Agastache (Hyssop)
Nepeta (Catmint)

By including a mix of these plants in your garden, you will create an appealing and diverse environment for hummingbirds to visit. Offering a variety of nectar sources will ensure that these tiny, energetic birds have plenty of sustenance throughout the growing season.

Discover These Helpful Guides for Further Reading

30 Fun Facts About Hummingbirds
How To Attract Hummingbirds With Success
Hummingbird
While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.

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