10 Best Flowers for Attracting Hummingbirds

top hummingbird flowers

The Spruce

There are dozens of flowers that can attract hummingbirds, but some flowers 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 hummingbird favorites, but there are also other colors), special long or tapered shapes that can accommodate the hovering birds' long bills, and plentiful nectar to keep hummingbirds coming back for more sips.

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.

Here are 10 of the best flower species for attracting hummingbirds to your landscape.

Garden Design Tip

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. It is a good idea to create diversity in your hummingbird garden rather than relying on one or two species. A diverse hummingbird garden will be more attractive, and it 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, which will offer food for migrating hummingbirds overwintering in your area.

  • 01 of 10

    Bee Balm (Monarda didyma)

    Bee Balm

    Kristine Paulus/Flickr/CC by 2.0

    The full spikes and spherical shape of bee balm makes it an interesting and attractive plant in the garden—and a magnet for hummingbirds, butterflies, and other pollinators. This perennial plant is known as bee balm precisely because it is so attractive to pollinators. Bee balm typically grows 2 to 4 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; 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, cardinal flower is a perennial form that produces long stalks of flowers growing as much as 4 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. Mulching helps keep soil moist and also prevents frost heaving in colder climates (north of zone 6). Cardinal flower does not require division, but it is a relatively short-lived perennial. 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.)

    Zinnias

    Swallowtail Garden Seeds/Flickr/CC by 2.0

    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 6 inches to about 4 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. Zinnias 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

    manuel m. v./Flickr/CC By 2.0

    Tall spikes of small, delicate flowers make salvia a great plant for the backs or centers of flowerbeds. 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. 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

    JFXie/Flickr/CC By 2.0

    A stunning perennial plant with attractive foliage and dangling, heart-shaped blooms in white or pink, bleeding hearts perform best in cooler climates and thrive best in lightly shaded locations. It grows 24 to 36 inches tall and can be divided for transplanting as it grows larger. Foliage may turn yellow and dies 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

    Mike's Birds/Flickr/CC By 2.0

    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 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 Vine

    David Prasad/Flickr/CC By 2.0

    Also called trumpet vine or hummingbird vine, this plant can quickly overpower a small area and will climb on many surfaces, including 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

    Hannah Fortney/BLM/Flickr/CC By 1.0

    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 3 to 4 feet tall with spikes of dense flowers, although there are also dwarf varieties available that stay under 2 feet tall. No division is necessary, but these are short-lived perennials that will 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

    Andrey Zharkikh/Flickr/CC by 2.0

    This elegant perennial flower may have been named for the Latin word Columba, the same as for the common rock pigeon Columba livia, but it is ideal for hummingbirds. 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 1 to 3 feet high, depending on 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)

    Petunias

    Dan Keck/Flickr/CC By 1.0

    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.