15 Plants to Attract Hummingbirds

Want to appeal to hummingbirds? Consider these flowers they love to visit.

©2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2009, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2010, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Delphinium

Hummingbirds love delphinium, which blooms in early summer. Height for these perennials can average anywhere from 2 to 8 feet tall, depending on variety. Delphinium requires rich soil, and areas with relatively cool summers.

Gayfeather

Want to add a vertical element to your midsummer garden? Consider gayfeather, whose purple, lavender or white spires are like 3-foot-tall exclamation points. Butterflies and hummingbirds are big fans of this sun-loving perennial.

Chilean Glory Flower

Irresistible to hummingbirds, Chilean glory flower is a fast-growing evergreen that offers a profusion of red-orange tubular flowers tipped with yellow from late spring to fall. The light green leaves are small and boldly veined on this climber.

Cardinal Flower

Lobelia cardinalis features reddish purple stems, bronzy leaves and scarlet flowers. A perennial, it can reach four feet tall and spread up to 36 inches wide. Cardinal flower appreciates full sun and moist, well-drained soil. Consider growing in a container in a wetlands setting, and water this plant often. Cardinal flower blooms beginning in mid summer through the first frost. Move indoors during the winter.

Butterfly Bush

Buddleia davidii attracts butterflies with its blooms of lavender, pink, white, purple, red or yellow. These blooms can appear beginning in early spring and continue until first frost. In full sun, butterfly bush can grow up to 10 feet tall. Butterfly bush is an aggressive grower, and removing spent blooms will encourage more attractive, fragrant flowers for a long period. Grow in massed plantings in cottage gardens and butterfly gardens, and use in border plantings. This small shrub also is a natural draw for hummingbirds.

Flowering Tobacco

The annual Nicotiana alata works well in containers. Its fragrant flowers bloom in pink and white from late spring to early fall. It attracts birds and butterflies.

Weigela

The showy blooms of weigela (Weigela florida) come in pink, red, yellow, lavender or white, depending on cultivar, and appear in mid to late spring. Some cultivars feature variegated foliage; other types have purplish or maroon leaves. This deciduous shrub, native to northern China and Korea, can grow as tall as 9 feet and can spread even wider, but compact varieties are available. It works best in borders. Weigela thrives in full sun and also attracts hummingbirds.

Foxglove

If you’re thinking about adding a cottage-garden look, you may want to consider foxglove (Digitalis purpurea), which may extend up to 6 feet when in bloom, depending on the variety and growing conditions. It prefers moist, well-drained soil and full sun to medium shade. Its blossoms — in purple, pink, yellow and white — attract hummingbirds. Please note that all parts of the plant are poisonous to people, pets and livestock. Foxglove is considered invasive along the West Coast and in some parts of New England.

Salvia

All salvia species are characterized by vertical spikes of vibrant flowers that can be found in hues of blue, red, pink or violet. Bloom time varies according to variety, and their flowers are a welcome sight for hummingbirds. Salvia nemorosa 'Ostfriesland' is an erect, clump forming perennial salvia that is noted for its compact form, long bloom period, purple stems and violet purple flowers.

Yarrow

Varieties of the tough summer-blooming yarrow come in yellow, white, orange, red, pink and coral. Butterflies and hummingbirds enjoy its blooms, which start early in the season and can last into mid fall, depending on the species and variety. Yarrow grows best in well-drained, average to poor soil, and can reach up to 48 inches.

Bee Balm

Bee balm's blooms appear in mid to late summer, and can even remain into the fall. The striking flowers come in white, pink, red or purple, and complement the dark, aromatic foliage. This perennial is susceptible to powdery mildew, so plant in full sun to part shade and select resistant varieties. Bee balm likes medium to wet soil and works well in a wildlife garden. 'Cambridge Scarlet’ is attractive to bees, but this bergamot is equally attractive to hummingbirds. 

Maltese Cross

The fiery flowers of Maltese cross (Lychnis chalcedonica) appear on 2- to 4-foot stems in early summer. Sow in sun or part shade in moist, well-drained soil, and cut back after flowering to encourage re-bloom. The flowers may also attract hummingbirds.

Hollyhock

Want to add some height to your cottage garden? Consider including hollyhock (Alcea rosea), which blooms over a long period in summer. Depending on cultivar, its blooms come in singles and doubles in shades of lavender, pink, purple, red, salmon, apricot, white and yellow. The fast-growing hollyhock can reach up to 8 feet in height, and its blooms also attract butterflies and hummingbirds. Hollyhock is a biennial or short-lived perennial but reseeds itself readily in the garden.

Mexican Sunflower

Attract hummingbirds and butterflies to your garden with the fast-growing Mexican sunflower. This annual loves full sun and typically reaches five to six feet tall or more. Dwarf selections also are available. 'Fiesta del Sol' grows two to three feet tall.

Wild Columbine

The perennial Aquilegia canadensis is hardy in zones 4a - 10a. Consider for an alpine or woodland garden, where it will attract butterflies and birds. It can grow up to 24 inches tall.