Best Plants to Attract Hummingbirds

  • 01 of 11

    Hummingbird Plants

    Hummingbird.jpg
    Photo: © Marie Iannotti

    Seeing a hummingbird darting through your garden is as delightful as seeing your flowers burst into bloom. To attract hummingbirds and keep them coming back to your garden regularly, you will need to include a few hummingbird plants in your design. What makes a plant a hummingbird favorite? Basically it needs to be nectar rich and preferably tubular in shape. On the following pages are 10 hummingbird plants that fit the bill. Plants with an asterick (*) are great for containers or hanging...MORE baskets.

    Take a look at the plants and growing information in this gallery, then check even more tips for attracting hummingbirds to your garden.

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  • 02 of 11

    Agastache

    Agastache (Hummingbird Mint)
    Marie Iannotti

    There are many varieties of Agastache and all of them are high in nectar. Agastache rupestris, shown here, is part of a group called the Hummingbird Mints. They are also butterfly magnets.

    More border plants that are open invitations to hummingbirds are Bee Balm (Monarda hybrids), which also lives up to its name and attracts bees by the hivefull, and those towers of flowers, Delphinium, Hollyhocks and Foxgloves.

    Hardiness: USDA Zones 5 - 10
    Exposure: Full Sun to Partial Shade
    Bloom Period: Summer...MORE into Fall

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  • 03 of 11

    Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis)

    Cardinal flowers prefer a slightly moist soil.
    Photo: © Marie Iannotti

    Cardinal Flowers are a great choice for adding drama to a shady corner. Hummingbirds can spot their vivid red flowers no matter where you tuck them.  And they are native plants in many areas.

    Another native plant choice, also great for partial shade, is red columbine. Red columbine is so sweet, children often compete with hummingbirds, pulling the flowers apart for that precious drop of nectar.

    Hardiness: USDA Zones 2 - 9
    Exposure: Full Sun to Partial Shade (Needs more shade in dry areas)
    Bloom...MORE Period: Summer into Fall

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  • 04 of 11

    Coral Bells (Heuchera sanguinea)

    Coral Bell Flowers
    Photo: © Marie Iannotti

    Who would have thought the delicate flowers of coral bells would be large enough to attract hummingbirds? Coral bells are a favorite of hummingbirds, but they only bloom once a season and many gardeners cut them off, to put the energy into the plants leaves. If you want hummers to visit you, let them bloom.

    There are many great perennials that will keep your hummingbirds happy. Choose a Hosta with beautiful flowers, like the sweet smelling Hosta plantaginea. Or try one of those long bloomers, Lupi...MOREne, Larkspur and Liatris.

    Hardiness: USDA Zones 3 - 8
    Exposure: Full Sun to Partial Shade
    Bloom Period: Late Spring / Early Summer

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  • 05 of 11

    Four O'Clocks (Mirabilis jalapa)

    Mirabilis jalapa (Four O'Clocks)
    Photo: © Marie Iannotti

    Four O'Clocks do not open until late in the afternoon, but they are worth waiting for. Their tubular flowers are perfectly shaped for visiting hummingbirds.

    If you'd like to get an earlier start, morning glories (Ipomoea tricolor) open with the sun and remain open until the afternoon heat. They also re-seed readily on their own, so although they are annuals, you often only need to plant them once.

     More Tips for Growing Four O'Clocks

    Hardiness: USDA Zones 7 - 11
    Exposure: Full Sun
    Bloom...MORE Period: Mid-Summer

    More Tips on Growing Four O'Clocks

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  • 06 of 11

    *Fuchsia

    Fuchsia Blossoms
    Photo: © Marie Iannotti (2008) licensed to About.com, Inc.

    There are more than 100 species of fuchsia. Most of them are tropical or semi-tropical and are grown in many areas as annuals. The trailing varieties are perfect for hanging baskets and can attract a wide variety of visitors, wherever you hang them.

    More on Using Fuchsia in Containers

    Hardiness: USDA Zones 6 - 9
    Exposure: Partial Shade
    Bloom Period: Mid-Summer into Fall

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  • 07 of 11

    *Lantana (Lantana camara)

    Lantana (Shrub Verbena)
    © Marie Iannotti

    Lantana was once of the plants our readers recommended for novice gardeners. It is a striking plant and if you are lucky enough to be growing it in USDA Zone 8 or higher, you can grow it into a shrub or even a standard the size of a small tree. The rest of us can still enjoy it as an annual. It's also nice in containers.

    For those in cooler climates, try Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus), also a woody shrub capable of being trained into a small tree and covered in flowers for weeks on end.

    Har...MOREdiness: USDA Zones 9 - 11
    Exposure: Full Sun
    Bloom Period: Summer into Fall

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  • 08 of 11

    *Petunia

    Tubular petunias flowers are good for attracting hummingbirds.
    Photo: © Marie Iannotti

    Who hasn't grown petunias? They're a garden staple. The flowers are also the perfect shape for a hummingbird dinner. Some of the newer varieties are not particularly fragrant and may no have as much nectar as the older open pollinated varieties, but give them a try.

    Petunias are natural creepers and often used in hanging baskets. If you'd like a longer vine for trailing or climbing, some good choices in clude  *Canary Creeper (Tropaeolum peregrinum), *Cardinal Vine/Cypress Vine (Ipomoe...MOREa sloteri) and the quick growing Scarlet Runner bean.

    Hardiness: Annual
    Exposure: Full Sun
    Bloom Period: Spring through Fall

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  • 09 of 11

    *Savlia (Salvia cultivars)

    Salvia coccinea 'Lady in Red'
    Photo: © Marie Iannotti

    New Salvia varieties are constantly being introduced and they are wonderful for attracting hummingbirds and butterflies to your gardens. Whether the blues of Mealy Cup Sage (Salvia farinacea), 'Black and Blue' Anise sage  (Salvia guaranitica) or scarlet  Lady in Red, these hummingbird plants will blue virtually non-stop throughout the season.

    Although gardeners might take *Impatiens for granted, hummingbirds see them for the treat they are. Another annual hummingbird plants that has been...MORE in gardens for generations is flowering tobacco or Nicotiana.

    Hardiness: Annual
    Exposure: Full Sun to Partial Shadde
    Bloom Period: Spring through Fall

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  • 10 of 11

    *Snapdragon (Antirrhinum majus)

    Snapdragon Flowers
    Photo: © Marie Iannotti

    Snapdragon flowers only snap shut on children's fingers. Hummingbirds can navigate them with ease. Snapdragons are cool season bloomers, attracting the first hummers to visit your garden and making an encore at the end of the season.

    Bleeding Heart (Dicentra species) are equally charming to both gardener and hummingbird and like snapdragons, prefer cool spring weather.

    Hardiness: USDA Zones 8 - 9
    Exposure: Full Sun to Partial Shade
    Bloom Period: Prefer the cool seasons of Spring and Fall

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  • 11 of 11

    Weigela (Weigela cultivars)

    Wine & Roses® Weigela (Weigela florida 'Alexandra')
    Photo courtesy of Proven Winners - www.provenwinners.com

    Weigela is making a big comeback, after being written off as a stuffy old shrub. New varieties have colorful and/or cut leaf foliage, giving them a long season of interest. Most also have flowers with the tubular shape favored by hummingbirds.

    Flowering quince (Chaenomeles speciosa) is an even earlier bloomer, for the early bird, and butterfly bush (Buddleia davidii) will bloom throughout most of the summer, [Note, buddleia has become invasive in some areas.]

    Hardiness: USDA Zones 5 - 9
    Exposure: Fu...MOREll Sun to Partial Shade
    Bloom Period: Late Spring / Early Summer

    More Tips for Growing Weigela