13 Flowers That Attract Hummingbirds to Your Garden

Trumpet Creeper with Hummingbird
Photo: Rolf Nussbaumer/Getty Images

Everyone hopes to be blessed with hummingbirds in the garden. The antics of these petite, jewel-colored birds are endlessly fun to watch. They are the only birds capable of sustained hovering and can even fly backward and upside down. Hummingbirds are surprisingly fast and also territorial, often engaging in high-speed chases around the garden.

The ruby-throated hummingbird is the only species that nests east of the Mississippi, but there are 17 species total living in the U.S., many near the Mexican border. These migratory birds will follow their favorite blooms as the seasons change, stopping wherever they can refuel. Give them a garden loaded with these tasty nectar-producing flowers, and you're sure to lure hummingbirds for your outdoor entertainment.

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Salvia

Black and Blue Salvia
Ralph Anderson

This deer-resistant family of flowers is considered one of the best for attracting birds and butterflies. Plant 'Black and Blue' salvia in the middle of the garden or at the back of a border in full sun, where it will grow to 3 or 4 feet tall. Or plant the shorter red salvia in the flower bed or in a pot. 'Black and Blue' is hardy in USDA Zones 7 to 10, while red salvia is grown as an annual in areas cooler than Zone 9.

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Trumpet Creeper

Trumpet Creeper with Hummingbird
Rolf Nussbaumer/Getty Images

Flowers on this fast-growing native vine are large and also carry a heavy nectar load, which will meet the carbohydrate needs of hummers. You can let it grow wild in natural areas or keep it pruned on arbors and fences. Trumpet creeper can grow to 35 feet and blooms best in full sun.

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Cardinal Flower

Cardinal Flower
Ralph Anderson

This self-sowing, native perennial thrives in moist soil and prefers full or partial sun. It offers an excellent source of nectar for hummingbirds from late spring through fall⁠—in fact, the plant is dependent on them for pollination. Wild cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis) can grow 4 or 5 feet tall, while more compact cultivars like 'Queen Victoria' top out at 3 feet.

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Lantana

Lantana with Butterfly
John O'Hagan

Depending on its location, this heat-tolerant, sun-loving shrub can be grown as a perennial or an annual. Plant it in the ground or in a hanging basket—hummingbirds are good enough hunters to track down the nectar anywhere. Some varieties grow into a large shrub, while others are more suitable for the front of the flower bed. Generally hardy in USDA Zones 7 and above.

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Petunia

Pink Petunia
Ralph Anderson

Hummers migrate at treetop height, where they can easily spot any vibrant blooms below. Grab their attention with a large grouping of pots filled with this vivid, inexpensive annual. Plant them in full sun and deadhead regularly, and your petunias will bloom from late spring until fall.

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Butterfly Bush

Butterfly Bush
TracieMichelle/Getty Images

The cone-shaped clusters of brightly colored blossoms on this sun-loving, drought-tolerant shrub are what first attract hummingbirds, and the high nectar content will keep them coming back for more through summer and fall. Hardy in USDA Zones 5 to 9, but considered invasive in some states.

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Columbine

Columbine
Jill King / EyeEm/Getty Images

Columbine (Aquilegia) is one of the earliest bloomers on our list, providing an important food source for hummingbirds that arrive in spring. Columbine's delicate, nodding flowers bloom best in part shade in the South. Once the flowers fade, this perennial serves as an attractive groundcover.

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Azaleas

Light Pink Encore Azalea Blooms
Rush Jagoe

Bird watchers note that the native, deciduous azaleas that bloom in spring or summer attract hummers, but long-lasting Encore azaleas are also known for enticing birds to stop by for a sip. Plant them in sun or part shade, where they will bloom in spring, summer, and fall.

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Bee Balm

Bee Balm
Jacky Parker Photography/Getty Images

Look closely at the flowers of bee balm, and you will notice each petal is a tiny tube perfect for a feeding hummingbird. Plant in a moist, sunny or partly sunny spot, and you're sure to have a healthy flower patch blooming every summer. Most Monarda plants are hardy in USDA Zones 4 to 9.

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Indian Pink

Indian Pink (Spigelia marilandica)
Photo: Ralph Lee Anderson

Indian pink (Spigelia marilandica) is an excellent hummingbird magnet for shadier gardens. The intensely scarlet, tubular flowers of this native perennial open in late spring. Indian pink can be grown in the shade, but will stay more compact and sport more blooms if grown in a partly sunny area.

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Beardtongue

Beardtongue
Getty Images

Penstemon, also known as beardtongue, is sure to attract all kinds of pollinators with showy spikes of bell-shaped purple, pink, or white flowers. Beardtongue shoots up to about 3 feet tall when it blooms in late spring or early summer. Plant in full sun in soil with good drainage.

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Phlox

Pink Phlox Bloom
Steve Bender

Every garden needs garden phlox, a tall clumping perennial that sports sweet-scented flower heads for weeks in summer. Plant a variety of purples, pinks, and whites to create a multi-colored flower buffet for the birds. Phlox is hardy in USDA Zones 4 to 8 and blooms best in full or part sun.

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Pentas

Spring Garden Flowers: ‘Stars and Stripes’ Pentas
Photo: Ralph Anderson

Pentas is a tender tropical perennial grown as an annual in most climates. The red, purple, or pink blooms thrive when many other annuals melt away in the scorching summer heat. Plant them in full sun and they will bloom all summer long.

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