10 Best Flowers for Attracting Hummingbirds

Best Flowers for Attracting Hummingbirds

The Spruce

There are many flowers that can attract hummingbirds, but some are better at enticing these flying jewels than others.

When choosing hummingbird flowers for your garden or landscape, look for blooms with rich, bright colors (red flowers are particular hummingbird favorites), long or tapered shapes that can accommodate the hovering birds' long bills, and plentiful nectar to keep them coming back for more sips.

Native plants are always preferred because hummingbirds will be more familiar with the flowers and the plants will thrive with minimal care. Also, consider plants with a long bloom time or repeat blooming, which will provide a reliable food source for hummingbirds for many weeks.

The same plants loved by hummingbirds will also be attractive to butterflies, bees, and other pollinators. Check your local nursery or landscaping center for popular and appropriate cultivars for your area, and create your own hummingbird habitat today.

If you are looking for inspiration, listed below are 10 of the best flower species for attracting hummingbirds to your landscape.

Diversity is Important

It is a good idea to use multiple plants in your hummingbird garden rather than relying on one or two species. A diverse hummingbird garden will be more attractive and will provide ample food for different hummingbird species throughout the spring, summer, and fall. If you live in a southern area, you might even investigate flowers that bloom through mild winters. That way you can offer much-needed food for migrating hummingbirds overwintering in your area.

  • 01 of 10

    Bee Balm (Monarda didyma)

    red bee balm

    The Spruce / Adrienne Legault 

    The full spikes and spherical shape of perennial bee balm make it an interesting and attractive plant in the garden—and a magnet for hummingbirds, butterflies, and other pollinators.

    This flower typically grows two to four feet tall and requires dividing every three to four years. It will self-seed freely in the garden unless the flowers are dead-headed after they bloom.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 4 to 9
    • Color Varieties: Red, but purple and orange cultivars also available
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
    • Soil Needs: Rich, medium-moisture to wet soil
  • 02 of 10

    Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis)

    Cardinal Flower

    Bill Buchanan/USFWS/Flickr/CC By 1.0

    A member of the Lobelia genus of flowering plants, the cardinal flower is a perennial form that produces long stalks of flowers growing as much as four feet tall. Its rich red blooms are delicately shaped, making it attractive both as a garden plant and as a food source for hummingbirds.

    It is best positioned at the rear of mixed perennial garden beds. Adding mulch helps keep the soil moist and also prevents frost heaving in colder climates (north of zone 6). Cardinal flowers do not require division, but they are relatively short-lived perennials. However, it freely self-seeds and often colonizes permanently in the garden.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 3 to 9
    • Color Varieties: Scarlet red; white and rose cultivars also available
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
    • Soil Needs: Rich, medium-moisture to wet soil
  • 03 of 10

    Zinnia (Zinnia Spp.)

    Bright pink zinnia flower with small layered petals in sunlight closeup

    The Spruce / Leticia Almeida

    Zinnia are among the easiest of all annual flowers to grow, with bright bloom colors that make them a favorite of hummingbirds and other pollinators. Most garden zinnias are cultivars of a few species within the Zinnia genus, especially Z. elegans, the common zinnia. There are literally hundreds of cultivars available, categorized by groups according to their growth habit and flower shape.

    Heights range from six inches to about four feet, and flower colors are available in nearly every hue. After the hummingbirds have had their fill of the nectar, seeds will develop as the flowers mature, attracting finches and other seed-loving birds. Zinnias also make wonderful cut flowers.

    They like moist soil, but they can be susceptible to fungal diseases in humid conditions or when the foliage gets wet during watering. Give the plants plenty of space to encourage air circulation and avoid overhead watering.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 2 to 11; normally grown as an annual
    • Color Varieties: All colors except blue and brown
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Humusy, moist, well-drained soil
  • 04 of 10

    Salvia (Salvia spp.)

    Salvia plant with small purple flowers on spikes closeup

    The Spruce / Krystal Slagle

    The Salvia genus within the mint family is a very large one with several annual and perennial species, but the common salvias grown as garden perennials are usually cultivars of Salvia nemarosa or Salvia greggii, also known as autumn sage. Tall spikes of small, delicate flowers make salvia great plants for the backs or centers of flowerbeds.

    Perennial salvia flowers emerge in mid-summer and bloom through late summer. They will bloom repeatedly if kept moist. This clump-forming plant grows 18 to 36 inches tall, requires no division, and steadily increases in size over time. It is a very easy plant to grow.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 4 to 11
    • Color Varieties: Mauve, pink, purple, blue
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Dry to medium-moisture, well-drained soil
    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10

    Bleeding Heart (Lamprocapnos spectabilis)

    bleeding hearts

    The Spruce / Autumn Wood

    A stunning perennial plant with attractive foliage and dangling, heart-shaped blooms in white or pink, bleeding hearts perform best in cooler climates and lightly shaded locations. They grow 24 to 36 inches tall and can be divided for transplanting as they lengthen.

    Foliage may turn yellow and die back in the heat of summer, but the plants reliably return each spring. This plant likes moist soil, but it must also be well-drained to prevent root rot.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 2 to 9
    • Color Varieties: Pink, white
    • Sun Exposure: Part shade to full shade
    • Soil Needs: Rich, moist, well-drained soil
  • 06 of 10

    Butterfly Bush (Buddleia davidii)

    Butterfly bush plant with small pink flower clusters on thick elongated stalk

    The Spruce / Leticia Almeida

    True to its name, this deciduous flowering shrub is as good for attracting butterflies as it is for attracting hummingbirds. The thick, elongated clusters of flowers will bloom repeatedly from mid-summer through fall.

    This is a drought-tolerant plant that thrives in full sun and develops into a thick, luxurious shrub over time, attracting more hummingbirds and providing great shelter for different types of birds.

    Caution: Buddleia davidii is regarded as an invasive plant in some regions, so check with local authorities before planting it. The cultivars are somewhat smaller and more well-behaved than the main species.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 5 to 10
    • Color Varieties: Pink, purple, blue
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Medium-moisture, well-drained soil; tolerates drought conditions
  • 07 of 10

    Trumpet Creeper (Campsis radicans)

    Trumpet creeper plant with bright orange flowers closeup

    The Spruce / David Beaulieu

    Also called trumpet vine or hummingbird vine, this plant can quickly overpower a small area and will climb on many surfaces, including wooden arbors, fences, and trees. It has dense foliage and its long, tubular flowers are perfect for hummingbirds.

    It thrives best in full sun to partial shade, but beware of its invasive properties and aggressive growth. Frequent pruning is necessary to keep this plant from overwhelming a garden or escaping into surrounding areas.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 4 to 10
    • Color Varieties: Orange, red, yellow
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
    • Soil Needs: Average, well-drained soil
  • 08 of 10

    Lupine (Lupinus x hybridus)

    Lupine plant with purple and light pink flower spokes with leaves closeup

    The Spruce / Kara Riley

    Wild lupines do not perform well in home gardens, but many hybrids have been developed that make excellent, though short-lived, garden perennials. This early-blooming flower is ideal for attracting spring hummingbirds before other flowers have emerged and when insect food sources may still be scarce.

    Plants typically grow three to four feet tall with spikes of dense flowers, although there are also dwarf varieties available that stay under two feet tall. No division is necessary, but they need to be replanted every three years or so. In hotter climates, lupines are often grown as annuals.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 4 to 8
    • Color Varieties: Purple, blue; white, pink, and yellow cultivars also available
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Evenly moist, well-drained soil; prefers slightly acidic soil
    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10

    Columbine (Aquilegia spp.)

    Columbine plant with small red and yellow spurs on thin stem closeup

    The Spruce / Adrienne Legault

    There are several species within the Aquilegia genus that are used as garden perennials (for example, Aquilegia canadensis, the common columbine), but even more important are the many cultivars and hybrids developed from these species.

    Columbine is most often used as an edging plant around fences and flower beds. It grows from one to three feet high, depending on the variety. Removing the flower stems after blooming will prompt additional flowers.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 3 to 8
    • Color Varieties: Blue, purple, pink
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
    • Soil Needs: Average, well-drained soil
  • 10 of 10

    Petunia (Petunia Group)


    The Spruce / Kara Riley 

    Petunias are one of the most popular of all annual flowers since they are very easy to grow and quite inexpensive. They work well in just about any sunny garden location and are also favorites for containers, borders, and baskets in small spaces.

    The flower thrives best in full sun and will bloom repeatedly, providing abundant nectar for hungry hummingbirds.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 10 to 11; normally grown as an annual
    • Color Varieties: Pink, white, red, purple, blue, mixed colors
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Medium-moisture, well-drained soil

Hummingbirds Like Spider Webs

If your goal is to attract hummingbirds to your garden, don't remove any spider webs that appear among the plants. Hummingbirds use the delicate threads of these webs for material to build nests. And hummingbirds often steal insects that are trapped in spider webs.

Article Sources
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  1. Szopinska, Dorota. Diseases of ZinniaHandbook of Florists' Crops Diseases. Handbook of Plant Disease Management, edited by R, McGovern, W. Elmer, Springer, Cham, 2016, doi:10.1007/978-3-319-32374-9_28-1

  2. Buddleja davidii Franch. Orange Eye Butterfly Bush. U.S. Department of Agriculture Plants Database.