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10 Gorgeous Flowers to Attract More Hummingbirds to Your Garden

No, we’re not saying to ditch your feeders entirely—but planting these nectar-rich flowers will undoubtedly bring more hummingbirds to your garden.

Considered by many to be an indicator species, the presence of hummingbirds in your flower garden is a sign of good fortune. These tiny, colorful birds can bring fascinating movement and energy to your backyard. Hummingbirds overwinter in Mexico and Central America, migrating north to the United States beginning in early spring. 

Buddleia, petunias, lupine, salvia, lobelia, zinnias, larkspur, foxglove, hollyhocks, and impatiens are among the best flowers for attracting hummingbirds. A blend of annuals and perennials, paired with several shrubs and trees, is essential for cultivating a hummingbird-friendly garden and yard. 

The excitement of the first hummingbird sighting of the year is beyond comparison, so don’t be late in planting these hummingbird-attracting plants in your garden!

The best types of plants for a hummingbird garden

Hummingbirds love tubular flowers that are red or orange in color, but that doesn’t mean that they will turn their noses up at blooms with cooler hues. The best strategy is to plant red and orange flowers in drifts that catch hummingbirds’ attention and interplant blue and purple blooms between the fiery drifts. 

Plant a mix of annuals, biennials, and perennials for staggered blooming that will feed your local hummingbird population all summer long. Hardy annuals and biennials are among the first to bloom, followed by perennials and warm-season annuals. Having a variety of different species will ensure that as one plant is dying back, another plant is at its prime, and still, another is just starting to open.

Draw hummingbirds to your porch with hanging baskets spilling over with trailing blooms, or direct them to your landscape with flowering shrubs and perennials. However you choose to design your hummingbird garden, be sure to provide the birds with some kind of shade, whether through a shade screen or by planting trees. Although hummingbirds may seem to be constantly in motion, the tiny birds do need to stop for rest every so often and escape the heat. 

10 of the best flowers for hummingbirds

Hummingbirds are attracted to brightly colored, trumpet-shaped flowers that are rich in nectar. Though hummingbirds are opportunistic feeders, planting these flowers in your garden will generate interest and likely increase the number of birds on your property. 

1. Buddleia

More commonly known as butterfly bush, buddleia is a favorite of hummingbirds too. Buddleia is a perennial flowering shrub characterized by fragrant, tapered flowers reminiscent of lilac (thus the plant’s other nickname, ‘summer lilac’). We love Butterfly Hybrids for their 12-inch plumes that may be lavender, violet, pink, red, or white in color. 

2. Petunia

Technically tender perennials, petunias are most often grown as annuals—especially in cooler climates. The trailing plants and fragrant flowers are popular choices for hanging baskets and border plantings. Petunias come in nearly every imaginable color of the rainbow, so choosing the perfect variety for your garden is easy! Carmine Velor Wave may be our all-time favorite spreading petunia—this All-America Selections Winner is prized for its bold color and symmetrical growth habit. 

3.Lupine

Derived from the original blue North American wildflowers, lupines are hardy perennials that thrive in colder climates and poorer soils. Lupines are among the first flowers of spring and, as such, are reliable and early food sources for hummingbirds and other pollinators. Lupine stems are excellent for cutting, and the blue and gold flowers of the Sunrise variety look absolutely striking in bouquets. 

4. Salvia

An ornamental variety of the sage species, salvia is an aromatic plant with spikes of colorful, tubular flowers ranging in color from red to pink to blue. Like sage, salvia is a hardy perennial and highly drought-tolerant plant. Flare is the go-to variety for hummingbirds, and bees seem to prefer Victoria Blue. Other than attracting more pollinators to the garden, planting salvia has another added benefit—the plants’ distinctive smell may help deter deer and rabbits.

5. Lobelia

Also known as cardinal flower, lobelia is a native species to the Americas. This perennial gets its name from its striking ruby-red tubular flowers and lance-shaped leaves. 

Regatta Formula Mix is a lovely variant with particularly productive blue-purple blooms. Plant lobelia in hanging baskets and place hummingbird feeders nearby to draw more hummingbirds to your porch.

6. Zinnia

Zinnias are a lovely addition to any garden and one of the easiest annuals to grow. Zinnias are quick to bloom, and the branching plants produce an abundance of flowers that are popular with butterflies, bees, and of course, hummingbirds. Zinnias are a staple in cut flower bouquets for their long, straight stems and layered petals. There are as many colors and variations as you have planting space for, but hummingbirds seem to be particularly fond of Dreamland Hybrid Red. 

7. Larkspur 

A cool-season hardy annual, larkspur is a favorite cut flower treasured by hummingbirds and other nectar-sucking pollinators. Reaching three to four feet tall at mature height, the colorful flower spikes are the perfect height to catch the attention of hummingbirds. We can’t get enough of Giant Imperial Mix, an heirloom variety containing blue, pink, purple, and blush blooms.

8. Foxglove

Technically a biennial, foxgloves are a staple in many gardens for multiple reasons—their tolerance for shade being one. The gorgeous trumpet-shaped blooms can reach four or five feet tall and range in hue from white to apricot to purple. Though foxgloves are toxic to humans and animals when ingested, the nectar-rich flowers are a favorite of hummingbirds. Dalmatian Hybrid Mix features the perfect blend of peach, cream, and purple plumes that look gorgeous in the garden and in the vase.

9. Hollyhock

Another biennial and cottage garden classic, hollyhocks are a member of the mallow plant family, which also includes hibiscus and okra. Hollyhock blooms come in nearly any color; some varieties can reach six feet tall or more. Hollyhocks do best in well-draining soil and full sun. Choose between the traditional Single Old-Fashioned Country Romance Mix or the vividly bi-colored Halo Mix—both are excellent options for attracting hummingbirds!

10. Impatiens

One of the more popular shade-loving plants, impatiens are a favorite of hummingbirds and gardeners alike. The compact plants produce prolific and petite flowers in white, pink, purple, or red. Impatiens are ideal for hanging baskets, containers, and borders—anywhere that receives partial shade. Accent Premium Formula Mix is a best-seller for its blend of 18 different colors and earliness to flower. 

Provide a safe space for hummingbirds

Hummingbirds are small and particularly vulnerable to predators. You can help keep them safe by planting flowers near bushes or trees where they can take cover in case of danger. Bushes and trees also provide shade and cover from the afternoon heat, which the birds really appreciate.

Additionally, make sure that your garden is free of pesticides and other chemicals that could harm hummingbirds. Even organic pesticides and fertilizers can do damage to these small birds with such high metabolisms. Use biological pest control to control pests whenever possible, and use mulch, fabric, and tarps to suppress weeds rather than herbicides.

Hummingbirds will also thank you if you provide them with a water source (pure water, not sugar water). That could take the form of a bird bath, a water feature, or a sprinkler—these tiny birds get thirsty when they flit from flower to flower!

Set out hummingbird feeders early

Hummingbirds may arrive in your area before your flowers are in bloom, so go ahead and put those feeders out, even if it’s a week or two before you expect your first visitor. Hummingbirds typically reach the gulf coast by mid-February, land in the Southeast by mid-to-late March, and work their way up the east coast through the remainder of spring, reaching New England by May.

Hummingbirds need to eat frequently to maintain their high metabolism, and a sugar water solution makes the perfect meal. Only use regular cane sugar (no artificial or alternative sweeteners), and do not use red dye, as it can be dangerous for hummingbirds. Make sure to change the nectar every few days to prevent fermentation or bacterial growth and to keep the feeders free of any ants or bugs.

You can use feeders in combination with flowers to create an ideal hummingbird environment. Place the feeders near the plants hummingbirds enjoy, and they will learn to associate them with the flowers. Make sure to give hummingbirds enough space to move between and around the feeders, and there will be plenty to go around.

In summary

Humans have long been attracted to the same flowers that draw hummingbirds. Impatiens, petunias, hollyhocks, salvia, and zinnias—you didn’t need another excuse to grow these garden gems, but now you have one. If not for your own enjoyment, grow these nectar-rich flowers for the hummingbirds! 

Attracting hummingbirds to your garden can be a rewarding and exciting experience. By planting the right flowers, providing a safe space, and setting out feeders, you can create a summer home for these tiny creatures. So next time you're out in your garden, keep an eye out for those quick, darting movements and listen for the distinct hum of a hummingbird's wings.

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