How to Attract Hummingbirds to a Garden

How to Attract Hummingbirds to a Garden

Posted by Tammy Sons on Mar 01, 2022

A lush green landscape and vibrant perennial gardens give homeowners sought-after leisure beauty. But would the addition of hummingbirds hovering in front of blooms and butterflies spreading the wings make your experience otherworldly?

10 Best Flowers for Attracting Hummingbirds

If the answer is a definite “Yes,” making this dreamscape a reality could be within your reach. By integrating select flowering perennials into gardens and other areas of your property, the scents and nectar will act as a magnet and attract hummingbirds and butterflies.

Which Plant Attributes Attract Hummingbirds?

Hummingbirds require a minimum of 3 grams of nectar daily to maintain their strength. That amount of nectar generally equals the fast-winged bird’s total body weight. Contrary to popular belief, hummingbirds need substantial rest because their wing rate can exceed 50 movements per second. Those are reasons hummingbirds don’t waste time with plants that produce low nectar levels or get routinely pillaged by bees. They tend to gravitate to the following attributes.

  • Color: Hummingbirds like the color red blooms and similar hues. Many types of bees do not recognize red well, making these untouched flowers more likely to possess higher levels of nectar.
  • Shape: tubular-shaped blooms typically garner more attention from hummingbirds. Again, this shape can be difficult for bees to enter, making them a better food resource. Of course, they won’t pass up other flower shapes when available.

Hummingbirds practice pragmatism when entering a flower-rich landscape. They look for colors and shapes likely to provide the nutrition they require. They also tend to feed on tiny insects attracted to the nectar as well.

Which Flowering Plants Best Attract Hummingbirds?

Although upwards of 300 species of hummingbirds populate the planet, only about two dozen migrate from Mexico and Central America through the U.S. and Canada during the warm weather. The Allen’s (Selasphorus Sasin), Rufous (Selasphorus Rufus), and Anna’s (Calypte Anna) hummingbirds rank among the most colorful, possessing bright red, green, and pink feathers.

What may be surprising to gardening enthusiasts but many of the prized perennials can draw hummingbirds and butterflies. What tends to be missing from properties are enough long-blooming perennials to make that occur. The following options lead the list of flowering perennials likely to invite these lovely creatures.

  • Black-Eyed Susan: The gorgeous yellow-gold blooms start in June and can run into October. These flowering perennials reach upwards of 28 inches. They spread and flourish with little maintenance and remain well-suited to attracting hummingbirds and butterflies.
  • Goldenrod: These native plants mature to 4-5 feet tall, 30 inches wide, and typically bloom in late summer and run into fall. The yellow blooms give off a scent many liken to licorice.
  • Honeysuckle: While some varieties bloom during spring, certain types can repeatedly yield flowers. Considered a spreading vine, Honeysuckle floods the landscape with an unmistakable aromatic fragrance that hummingbirds and butterflies won’t overlook.
  • Larkspur: The dark purple flowers blossom in early spring. They tend to hover over many perennials, reaching heights of 5-7 feet.
  • Trumpet Vine: Also referred to as the “Hummingbird Plant,” its tubular flowers vary in color. They can emerge as yellow, red, orange, or a blended color. They can spread to 40 feet and generally bloom from June through September.
  • Virginia Bluebells: This herbaceous perennial matures to 2-3 feet and offers tubular spring flowers. Considered nectar-rich, they remain a go-to plant for attracting hummingbirds.
  • Wisteria: Known for its awe-inspiring blue and lavender flowers, Wisteria’s heady scent attracts a wide variety of butterflies. Hummingbirds like the shape of the Wisteria flowers and potent nectar.

North American gardeners enjoy access to a wide range of flowering plants that can harm hummingbirds. Plants tailored to their preferences and those that bloom for long periods rank among the best choices. Naturally, the way you organize these flowering plants will also impact hummingbird traffic.

Simple Gardening Tips To Attract Hummingbirds

We all know about the quickness and agility of hummingbirds. Those attributes mean that home gardeners do not necessarily have to create exclusive hummingbird gardens. Flowering plants such as Honeysuckle, Wisteria, and Virginia Bluebells, among others, can be deployed as creepers to cover trellises, sides of decks, fences, and other hardscape elements. These spreaders will attract hummingbirds and butterflies in droves.

Designated gardening beds infused with flowering perennials tend to attract these amazing creatures. But one or two preferred plants won’t necessarily win them over. It’s crucial to group flowering plants together that bloom at the same time each year. Long-blooming plants can serve as a backdrop for those that flower for portions of the growing season. The key to a robust hummingbird landscape calls for the sweet smell of nectar-rich flowering perennials.