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How to Attract Hummingbirds to Your Garden

Updated on January 27, 2015

Hummingbird Plants

Hovering, then zipping away off to find more nectar. Spend time watching a hummingbird and you will witness a truly remarkable being.

Industrious, determined and assertive good words to describe a hummingbird’s character. A flying jewel is an excellent phrase to capture their appearance.

Some years back I was sitting on my balcony overlooking Lake Superior; there was a red gladiolus planted in a container about three feet away. I was watching the clouds float by; I noticed a small brilliant being hovering near the glad. As I watch the humming bird turned around and gave me a look that said hey what you are doing on my balcony.

You can attract hummingbirds to your yard with a feeder and this is a good way to lure them in before the flowers are in full bloom, however, if you are a gardener and want hummingbirds to visits, consider planting one or all of the following six plants.

Bee balm: Bee balm or Monarda didyma will not only attract hummingbirds, but will also encourage butterflies, bees, and other nectar-seeking creatures to stop by. These nectar seeking beings love the tubular flowers.

Bee balm is also known as horsemint, wild bergamot, and Oswego tea.

Bee balm does best in full sun but will accept light shade. It will do very well in moist soils that is rich in compost or other organic material.

Butterfly bush:

The butterfly bush or Buddleja davidii is well known for its ability to attract butterflies but is also pulls in hummingbirds. The butterfly bush is a deciduous to semi-evergreen shrub that has a weeping form reaching anywhere from 6-12 ft (1.8-3.7 m) tall with a spread of 4-15 ft (1.2-4.6 m)

Red Columbine:

Red columbine or Aquilegia Canadensis is a well known perennial wildflower. Red columbine can be grown in sunny areas but does well in shade. This It will reach 24-36" tall with a 18" spread at maturity.


Daylilies or Hemerocallis enjoy full sun and the bright yellow variety are hummingbird magnets. Daylilies can tolerate light shade, but flower best with a minimum of six hours of direct sun. Light shade during the hottest part of the day keeps the flowers fresh.

Do not plants daylilies near trees and shrubs that are likely to compete for moisture and nutrients.


Salvia is a relatively common plant and the red variety is very attractive to hummingbirds.


I am very fond of the old world look of the zinnia and are a great cut flower. They need at least six hours of sunlight per day.

The butterfly bush can stand alone as a specimen plant in your back yard or better still plant two if you have the room. The other five can make an attractive garden that will attract hummingbirds and butterflies, you will find that bees drop by and help pollinate.


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  • Bob Ewing profile image

    Bob Ewing 6 years ago from New Brunswick

    Here in Northern New Brunswick, the hummingbirds do not overwinter. There would be no food source except feeders and that is too chancy for survival. I am pleased you found the be useful, have a great day.

  • Eloise Hope profile image

    Eloise Hope 6 years ago from Portland, Oregon, USA

    The Anna's hummingbird is around in the winter, too. I cannot imagine what they eat then! The plants you mention would be a long succession of bloom for hummingbirds in the spring, summer and into fall with the butterfly bush; perhaps for winter or early, early spring, some forsythia, Yule Tide camellia (if your zone is not too cold) and some of the winter daphne and quince? But what for real winter? What do they eat then? Thanks for this great post; you've really got me thinking.

  • Bob Ewing profile image

    Bob Ewing 7 years ago from New Brunswick

    While I have several bird feeders for hummingbirds I stock with plants.

  • LaquandaKleno profile image

    LaquandaKleno 7 years ago

    That's quite a comprehensive list of plants. As for feeders, are there any in particular you recommend? So far, I found this new feeder by Perky-Pet. It fills from the top and looks really easy to clean and fill:

  • Bob Ewing profile image

    Bob Ewing 8 years ago from New Brunswick

    Thanks, I am fond of them all.

  • profile image

    Nolimits Nana 8 years ago

    Good choice of plants!