Making your yard a magnet for hummingbirds is easy if you provide the three basics: water, shelter and food.
Attracting hummingbirds to your yard with flowering plants is a very entertaining gardening activity. Children, in particular, delight in seeing these winged jewels darting from flower to flower in search of their next sip of nectar. While many non-gardeners use hummingbird feeders as nectar sources, planting colorful flowers, shrubs and vines brings added beauty to the landscape and an appreciation and understanding of how the natural world is interconnected.
Gardening to attract hummingbirds is easy to do. By providing water, shelter and an assortment of colorful flowering plants, you will be rewarded with the company of these wonderful wild birds. You will also help ensure their future by replacing food and habitats that have been lost due to human activities like agriculture and urbanization.
Hummingbirds prefer water sources that drip or spray. A fountain with multiple tiers that drip or a very low volume mist nozzle attached to a branch or tree trunk are ideal. Remember to locate the mist nozzle or fountain in the open, situated away from hiding spots where cats can hide and ambush the birds.
Conifers, shade trees and taller shrubs, will provide a sheltered perch where the hummingbirds can rest, build nests and safely survey their garden domain. Placing small handfuls of clothes drier lint in the branches will provide material for the "hummers" to build their nests.
Planting a variety of plants with different blooming times will help to keep hummingbirds happy all season.
Plants That Attract Hummingbirds In Spring And Summer
For late spring and early summer color it is recommended to plant the following:
Orange Carpet Creeping Hummingbird Trumpet (Zauschneria garrettii Orange Carpet) is a wonderful late-season, low-growing hummingbird plant.
Another late-season bloomer is Red Birds in a Tree (Scrophularia macrantha).
Even More Plants That Attract Hummingbirds
To fill in the back of the perennial border, the easy to grow Butterfly Bush (Buddleia) is unsurpassed. This late summer blooming shrub comes in a range of colors, including burgundy ("Royal Red"), pink ("Pink Delight"), purple ("Black Knight"), and lavender ("Dartmoor"). A difficult to find but wonderful spring-blooming Butterfly Bush, Buddleia alternifolia, produces long, graceful flower spikes that hummingbirds and butterflies love.
Trumpet Vine (Campsis) is a vigorous plant, useful for covering large expanses of fence or wall. It has large trumpet-shaped flowers in yellow and various shades of orange.
The scarlet or orange flowered honeysuckles, Lonicera, offer the gardener a more refined and smaller growing choice for small fences and trellises.
It is a little known fact that hummingbirds eat large quantities of small insects, such as aphids and whiteflies, as an essential part of their diet.
Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa) is a must-have for the pollinator garden with clusters of bright orange flowers in summer. This native wildflower is easy to grow, cold hardy, and does well in poor, dry soils. Asclepias is an important nectar source for Monarch butterflies and the sole host plant for Monarch caterpillars. Drought resistant/drought tolerant (xeric).
30-36" tall x 18" wide. Golden Spur columbine yellow blooms for months beginning in late spring with a profusion of large, cheerful yellow flowers that attract hummingbirds. Allow the plant to reseed itself to form colorful long lived colonies. (seed propagated).
Agastache Kudos Ambrosia (Hummingbird Mint Hyssop) is a compact-growing Agastache hybrid, with long-blooming flower spikes in a delightful changing color mix of creamy coconut, pale orange and light rose-pink. Blooms early summer through September. Highly attractive to hummingbirds and butterflies.
'Prince of Orange' Oriental Poppy (Papaver orientale 'Prince of Orange') has huge bright-orange flowers with crepe paper-like petals that light up the late spring garden. It is easy-to-grow and long lived. It thrives in clay and loves cold winters.