Flowers That Hummingbirds Like. My Favorites

by pawpaw

If you have Hummingbirds in your area, you might be searching for flowers or plants to enhance the look of your yard or garden, as well as attract Hummingbirds.

Here I will list some of my favorites, and show of few of them, with Hummingbirds on them.
I don't think there is a person on the planet, who doesn't enjoy seeing these little birds buzzing about from flower to flower. We have a few that visit our yard every year, and it is very enjoyable to just sit on our wooden bench swing, and watch them.

If you have them in your area, and plant the right types of flowers and shrubs, you can enjoy watching them too.
Photo: author

My #1 Favorite---Rose of Sharon, (Hibiscus Syriacus)

If I had to pick one plant, shrub, or flower to have, and no other, it would be Hibiscus syriacus. It is most often referred to as Rose of Sharon, or hardy Hibiscus, or just Hibiscus. 

My grandparents had Rose of Sharon bushes when I was a young child, and you could always count on seeing Hummingbirds on them. 

Hummingbirds are attracted to the color red, but they will go to just about any color of flower. Many Rose of Sharon flowers have a red or pink center. They are available in a wide array of colors now, and more are being developed all the time. They can be purchased all ready to be planted in your yard or garden, or you can buy seeds. 

They can be considered a large shrub, or small tree. With pruning, you can keep them at a more manageable size. When we first move to our home, there was one already growing, and we saw as many as 7 Hummingbirds at once on it. Since then, we have planted another one, and have had several that have come up from seeds. 

Like Rose of Sharon, Bee Balm can be purchased as a plant, or can be started from seeds. I've found that Bee Balm is a very hard perennial. It has a tendency to spread, so I would suggest having it planted in a confined space, so it won't invade the space of other plants.

Ours Bee Balm plants are red, but they do come in a variety of other colors. One thing I like about them, is that the flower heads have multiple small flowers. Many times, Hummingbirds will try to hit each flower, so they end up staying in one spot a little longer than with some other flowers. 

When it comes to attracting Hummingbirds, I think that Petunias are vastly underutilized. When I'm talking about using Petunias, for Hummingbirds, I'm talking about using them in hanging baskets, and window boxes. This gets them off the ground, and away from cats. We have cats, and although we've never had one catch a Hummingbird, it does make me a little nervous when I see them working flowers close to the ground. 

By using a hanging basket, you can locate your petunias for easy viewing. They can also be used to photograph Hummingbirds. Instead of trying to guess which flower the Hummingbird will go to next, you can set your camera up on a tripod, and wait for them to come in. 

Hummingbird Nests

Depending on where you live, and how well you do attractive Hummingbirds, you may even get to watch them raise their babies. Their nests are unbelievably small. Even if you don't get that lucky, it is still worth the effort to supply them with flowers they enjoy. 

Hummingbird Feeding Babies

We got a Butterfly Bush for the first time, a couple of years ago, and I'm already a fan. They are very hardy, and are loaded with blooms. Like Bee Balm, there are loads of little flowers all concentrated in one area, so you get to see the Hummingbirds for a longer period of time, before them move on. 

To be honest, we don't really plant Lantana for the Hummingbirds. We just love the way they look, and they also attract lots of butterflies, which we also enjoy. The Hummingbirds do go to them sometimes. They have clusters of small flowers.

As well as butterflies, the Hummingbird moths in our area also like them. The Hummingbird moths can be almost as entertaining, as real Hummingbirds. 

More Flowers to Attract Hummingbirds.

Here are a few other flowers to consider. (Items here will vary according to availability)
Updated: 05/15/2015, pawpaw
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pawpaw on 12/03/2013

Wow, wish we had them here.

paperfacets on 12/02/2013

We have a slew of Annas visiting all year, but this fall I saw a very pretty Allen's trying to nose into the feeder. He flew with a lovely spread of tail features.

pawpaw on 06/06/2013

Thanks. I agree, they are certainly worth having, with or without the little hummers.

EliasZanetti on 06/06/2013

Very beautiful article. Your flower selection is wonderful and worth having in your garden regardless of the hummingbirds being available or not.

pawpaw on 04/23/2013

Thanks for the great information on the butterfly bush. Wasn't aware of that. I might have to give Pineapple sage a try. We also have Hibiscus moscheutos (a pink and white variety), it is extremely cold hardy, as we set a record for cold in our area the winter before last, and it didn't harm it a bit.

cazort on 04/23/2013

I've had good luck attracting hummingbirds to my garden with monarda species...there are several different species with different colors. Another plant you might consider is Pineapple Sage--if you live in a warmer climate, although I had it bloom overwinter in Delaware. If you live farther south, it'll bloom when hummingbirds are still around. It also makes a delicious herbal tea.

I recommend against people planting butterfly bush--it's beautiful, and it does attract / support pollinators from its nectar, but it can be an ecological trap for butterflies--it attracts the adults but none of their larvae can survive on it. See:

I think it's important to plant native plants when possible. Hummingbirds tend to do better with nectar from non-native flowers, but insects fare less well--and hummingbirds do depend on eating insects too, especially when raising their nestlings. That's why I think monarda sp. are a great choice--they are native, AND they also make a delicious herbal tea. There is even one species of Monarda, wild bergamot, that smells so similar to the bergamot orange that if you mix it with black tea, it tastes very similar to Earl Grey tea.

If you have a wet area in your yard, I've also found hummingbirds love jewelweed--it grows in area with consistently wet soil.

I also love hibiscus flowers...I recommend Hibiscus moscheutos (Rose Mallow) as a native option! It is very cold hardy, growing well into Canada, and it also thrives in wet areas.

pawpaw on 04/23/2013

You know how much fun they can be to watch then. We use feeders to, but I guess we like to give them a smorgasbord. That is a good point about them going to any color of flower. They also visit a wide variety of flower types. But they do seem to have their favorites.

dustytoes on 04/23/2013

Since I don't yet have many flowering plants in my yard, I put out a hummingbird feeder the first week of May and have it full all summer. I usually see a couple of birds that visit it all day long. I've noticed that hummingbirds visit many types of flowers and they don't have to be red.

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