Did you know that the hummingbird flaps its wings about 80 times per second? And that it can fly in all directions including backward and upside down? The flying jewel actually derives its name from the humming noise produced by the flapping. The beauty and aerobatics of the hummingbird are some of the reasons homeowners just can’t get enough of the little bird species. You’d be forgiven for going out of your way to attract hummingbirds in your garden or backyard.
Although many people use nectar to entice hummingbirds to visit their homes, this route is ineffective reason being that you might not keep the birds coming back to your garden over and over. The best technique is to create an ideal habitat complete with plenty of hummingbird-friendly flowers, nectar, pollen, shrubs, certain trees, and a water source. Speaking of flowers, here are the top hummingbird flowers to consider planting if you want to have an influx of hummingbirds for the long haul.
1. Trumpet Vine (or Trumpet Creeper)
Loosely referred to as the “hummingbird vine,” the Trumpet Vine has long, tube-like, bright flowers and plenty of nectar. It is native to the Southeast part of the United States but can be easily grown across the country. And when it comes to growth, this flower is quite sporadic; be ready to trim it on a regular basis. The Creeper can grow so huge and high (up to 40 feet) that birds create their nests in its foliage. You’ll need a year or two for it to bloom and let out its bright and beautiful flowers. Trumpet Vine blooms anytime from July to September.
2. Red Cardinal Flower
Another exceptional flower to include in your hummingbird habitat is the stunning Red Cardinal Flower. From the name, you can guess its color. It looks vibrant when in full bloom! Its flowers are not only vibrant but also delicately –shaped. The sight of the eye-catching red flowers together with the stunning color of the hummingbird sucking nectar from it is a truly delightful sight. What people love about the Red Cardinal is that it grows in all states of America and eastern Canada as well. It features long flowers, too long for most insects. The hummingbird is perhaps the only bird that can cause pollination on the flower. To get the most of the Red Cardinal, grow it when the sun isn’t harsh. The flower which grows to a mature size of 3 feet blooms well in mid-late summer.
3. Salvia (Sage)
If you have a flowerbed, you might want to include Salvia flower right in the middle of it or the back corner. Characterized by tall spiked of tiny, delicate colorful flowers, this is one flower that calls hummingbirds from the wild. It is also known for its pineapple or sage spice fragrance—a factor that helps attracts the birds—and its compact nature (grows up to a height of 1 foot). The color of the flowers range from pink and purple to mauve and blue and often emerge somewhere in mid-summer maintaining their bloom through late summer. Some sages are perennial while some are annual and although native to the Americas, the most common species Salvia officinalis hails from the Mediterranean.
The name of this flower might be a mouthful but its beauty is certainly a welcome addition to any garden. It is common to spot its full-on display during May when its pink flowers bloom. There are tens of Rhododendron species out there with most of them originating from the Asian continent. But the most common recommended species — the Catawba rosebay (or mountain rosebay, purple ivy, Catawba rhododendron, red laurel) is native to North America. The beautiful flower that grows to a height of 10 feet and a width if 10 feet features magnificent dark green foliage throughout the year. The dense foliage together with its beautiful pink flowers make hummingbird flock around it all day long.
Columbine is a collective name for all flowers belonging to the genus Aquilegia, a majority of which originate in North America. The Columbine flowers (said to resemble Jester’s caps) are as unique as hummingbirds. Like Rhododendron, these pretty flowers come to full bloom in May, at the time when the birds find their way back North. It has long flowers that make nectar inaccessible to other insects and grows up to 3 feet high during spring and about similar width. Columbines come in a variety of colors depending on the species. Perennials can have blue, red, pink, yellow, purple, or salmon blossoms.
6. Butterfly Bush
The name sells this one out. Although it is ideal for attracting butterflies, the Butterfly Bush, also known as the summer lilac, or orange eye has a big enough heart for hummingbirds as well. It is native to Hubei and Sichuan provinces of Central China and features thick, elongated flowers in the colors of pink, blue, and shades of purple. The best part about the Butterfly Bush is that it blooms repeatedly, starting mid-summer all the way to fall. It is drought-resistant and thrives in full sun, developing a luxurious, vigorous shrub over time that can grow as high as 5-10 feet. This is where the beloved birds love to camp all day long. Butterfly Bush takes approximately a year to grow into full bloom after planting it.
The Lupine is worth a special mention on this list of hummingbird flowers. It has long, beautiful spikes of flowers that come in different sizes and colors(including white, red, purple, pink, orange, and cream) and attractive grayish-green foliage. Even with so many different species, the hummingbirds seem to appreciate every single one of them. Some of them are annual while some are perennial and typically bloom around May to July. Lupines are native to Mediterranean and Andes Mountains and grow to a mature size of about 1-5 feet tall, blooming within two months of being planted.
8. Bleeding Hearts
The good old bleeding heart flower got its name from its heart-shaped, pillow-like flower with a dangling pendulous drop. Bleeding hearts often bloom during spring filling the air with a sweet aroma and beauty. Although they maintain their bloom well through the beginning of summer, the plants usually disappear the rest of the summer. This is because they love the shade and not extreme sun and heat. The flower finds its roots in Siberia, Korea, northern China, and Japan and grows up to a 3 feet tall and similar width. Its blossoms range from pink, white, and red blossoms.
Petunias are among the popular hummingbird flowers in the world. They are prolific bloomers with a few varieties needing deadheading to enhance their longevity. However, a majority of Petunia varieties bloom throughout summer unless exposed to extreme heat. You can find a petunia in virtually every color, but blue, pink, purple, and yellow are the most common ones. This plant has wide trumpet-shaped blossoms and a branched, sticky and hairy foliage that the birds love greatly. Petunia varieties come in single and double blooms, striped, solid, or veined colors, ruffled or smooth petals, mounding and cascading habits and some with fragrance. They are native to Argentina and grow up to 24 inches tall and three feet wide. Petunias are ideal for borders, containers, and baskets and thrive best in full sun.
10. Bee Balm
Also known as horsemint, bergamot, and monarda, Bee Balm is a small perennial flower that often attracts bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds in equal measure. Native to Eastern North America and the Northwest Pacific, this incredible flower is easy to grow and is both drought and deer-resistant. The Bee Balm is characterized by full spikes that assume a spherical shape. This plant thrives best in extreme sun and grows to a mature size of 12-36 inches high. Common cultivators are available in orange, pink, and purple, all of which draw the attention of hummingbirds of all species.
Hummingbird Flower Selection Tips
If you want the buzz of the hummingbird in your garden, you have to select the right flower. There are basic tips of success when it comes to selecting a hummingbird flower.
• Color: While fragrance is the ultimate bait for butterflies and a plethora of other insects, birds aren’t good sniffer. However, they relate to color quite well. Hummingbirds love a red roost any time. To them, red is a sign of food. Once in your garden, you will notice the birds gravitating towards red blossoms. Other colors that attract the birds include yellow, orange, lilac, purple and pink shades.
• Flower Form: Color may be paramount when selecting a hummingbird flower but you’ll definitely want to think about the form too. Long, tubular blooms are designed for the hummingbird.
• Plenty of Nectar: When selecting a hummingbird flower, everything starts and ends with nectar. After all, this is what brings these birds to your flower garden in the first place.
• Availability: You don’t want to wait a whole year to have your flowers shipped across the country. Select flowers that are common and supplied by your local nursery or a reputable online company.
• Ease of growth: Not all people are masters at gardening. Look for the ones that are low maintenance.
• Early blooming or length of the blooming period
• Ease of planting and maintenance
• Showiness of bloom
• Diversity in shape, size, and form
• The attractiveness of the foliage
Best Places to Buy Hummingbird Flowers
If you are wondering where you can get your hand on a hummingbird flower, here are some ideas:
• Local Nurseries: The best place to begin your hummingbird flower search is your local nursery. Ask your friends and family which ones are reputable and make your way to one of them.
• Amazon: Amazon is a great platform for all varieties of hummingbird flowers. It might take you a few days to have your flower to be shipped but you’ll get a variety.
• AliExpress: More or less like Amazon. Order your flowers based on your preferences and budget and wait for them to be shipped over.
• Etsy: Etsy is a true gem when it comes to buying hummingbird flowers and a wide range of plants. You can find any plant you can imagine.
Tips for Successfully Growing/Planting the Flowers
It is not uncommon to have a bad experience with planting hummingbird flowers. This is because they need care and maintenance to thrive well. Follow these tips to ensure success with planting and growing them.
• If you are growing perennial flowers, cut the plant next to the ground once it has bloomed. This ensures it grows back the following year.
• Although hummingbird flowers like dry soil, it may benefit from occasional springs of water when the sun is too hot.
• Choose Natives Over Exotics: Natives, planted in the right ground can easily bloom with little care
• Select Your Locations Carefully: A good plant distribution promotes peace among the angels from on high.
• Research your hardiness zone and plant accordingly
Questions and Answers
What Is a Hummingbird’s Favorite Flower?
Any bright flower with plenty of nectar will become an instant hummingbird favorite. The Red Cardinal, Trumpet Creeper, and Salvia are perhaps high on the jewels’ priority lists.
Do hummingbirds like petunias?
Absolutely; with all that rich, textured foliage and bright blossoms, why wouldn’t they?
Do hummingbirds like lantana?
Yes. Especially the Sunset cultivar species with gold centers bordered by orange that later converts to pink.
Do hummingbirds like roses?
No. Roses don’t have strongly appealing blooms.
What potted flowers attract hummingbirds?
Snapdragons, salvias, impatients, and begonias
What color of flowers attracts hummingbirds best?
Bright colors: red (mostly), yellow, orange, purple, and pink.