22 Plants to Attract Hummingbirds
Want to appeal to hummingbirds? Hummingbirds are attracted to a wide variety of flowers — usually those that are red and tubular — but to others as well. Consider these flowers they love to visit.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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'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.
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.
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.
Also known as beardtongue, penstemon has everything that makes for an ideal hummingbird flower: long, tubular blooms (the shape is hard for insects to sip nectar from but easy for hummingbirds), sweet nectar and a flower spike filled with lots of little blossoms. Penstemon grows best in sandy or gravelly soil with little fertilizer. Mulch with gravel, not bark, and let plants self-seed to ensure a healthy stand. Perennials, with varieties hardy from Zones 3-9.
While some gardeners think that the red tubular blooms of 'Gartenmeister Bonstedt' fuchsia beckon hummingbirds best, these zippy birds find all fuchsias irresistible, including this variety, 'Swingtime.' To keep your fuchsia flowering like mad, give it full to part shade, consistent soil moisture and regular feeding throughout the growing season. Annual and perennial types, hardy in Zones 7-10.
This showstopper vine opens blooms that lure in hummingbirds. Coral or trumpet honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens) offers many great varieties, including 'Dropmore Scarlet' (shown), 'Major Wheeler' and 'Alabama Crimson.' Do your homework before planting honeysuckle. Make sure the variety you choose isn’t invasive in your area (these varieties shouldn’t be). Perennial vine, hardy in Zones 4-9.
Red Hot Poker
It’s not hard to see where red hot poker (Kniphofia) gets its name. Those flaming torches boast blossoms packed with nectar that draws hummingbirds like crazy. Dagger-like leaves make a strong architectural statement in the garden. Look for varieties with flowers in shades of red, gold, lime and white. Good winter drainage is key for success with this perennial, hardy in Zones 5-9.
A summer bloomer, garden phlox (Phlox paniculata) offers hummingbirds a rich nectar source on plants that open large flower heads made up of lots of individual blossoms. Different varieties grow from short (under 12 inches) to stately (up to 36 inches) and open sweetly fragrant flowers in many shades, including pink, burgundy, lavender and white. This variety is 'Bright Eyes.' Full sun to part shade produces best flowering. Perennial, hardy in Zones 3-8.
The name on this one says it all--it’s definitely a plant-it-and-they-will-come scenario. Hummingbird mint (Agastache) includes an array of plants that grow well in desert or moist conditions. The trick is to find the right one for your region. Varieties open flowers in many different hues, including purple, gold, blue and orange. With all hummingbird mints, it’s best to leave stems in place through winter to help protect the plant crown or growing point. Clip stems in early spring 4 to 6 weeks before last frost. Perennial, hardy in Zones 5-9.
This flaming beauty is a cousin of gladiolus and grows from a bulb, sending lance-like leaves up to form a striking clump. Flowers dance along wiry stems, with one bloom opening each day. The variety ‘Lucifer’ is a hummingbird magnet with its fiery red flowers. Plant crocosmia bulbs in spring, giving them a spot in full sun for best flowering. Perennial, hardy in Zones 6-9; ‘Lucifer’ is hardy in Zones 5-9.