5 Flowers to Attract Hummingbirds

A brown hummingbird in a garden of colorful flowers.

Many types of hummingbirds prefer red-colored flowers, which is why it's a popular color for hummingbird feeders. But there are other kinds of flowers you can include in your garden to give it more variety and still attract your favorite little flyers. Of course, certain types of flowers—and certain species of hummingbirds—only flourish in certain regions, so you will want to keep that in mind when planning your garden. The most hummingbird-friendly flowers have lots of nectar, are shaped for the hummingbird's beaks, and are brightly colored to catch their attention. Here are some you may want to consider to make your garden a haven for hummingbirds.

1. Rose of Sharon

A white rose of sharon flower.

Originally from India and East Asia, the rose of sharon is actually not a rose at all—it's a type of hibiscus. The rose of sharon comes in a variety of colors including white, pink, red, and purple. Despite its non-tubular, flat blooms, hummingbirds are still able to drink its rich nectar. This plant becomes a bush as it grows, but can be pruned into a tree shape if you prefer. Make sure your rose of sharon has good soil drainage because if you overwater it, the leaves will yellow. Also, do your research to make sure the rose of sharon is not invasive in your area.

2. Trumpet Honeysuckle

A hummingbird eating from a trumpet vine.

The trumpet honeysuckle seems to be a favorite of the Ruby-throated hummingbird, which lives on the eastern half of the United States. Also known as “hummingbird vine,” this red, orange, or yellow flower grows in clusters with tubular shaped blooms. The more sun the vine gets, the more flowers it will produce. The only problem with this stunning flower is that it can quickly spread if you don’t keep watch of it, climbing up fences or houses.

3. Fireweed

Purple fireweed flowers.

In the western United States, Black-chinned hummingbirds are more prevalent than their ruby-throated friends. In this area, fireweed is a great attractor of hummingbirds. When you're planting this pink or purple flower in your garden, however, keep in mind that it prefers loose soil.

4. Bee Balm

A hummingbird and a red bee balm flower.

The spunky and spiky bee balm is a popular pick for gardeners looking to attract hummingbirds. Most likely, its fame comes from its tendency to be low-maintenance, as well as its unique appearance. It has a circle of tubular flowers, giving the look of a daisy, but pointier. This plant comes in varieties of red, pink, orange, or purple.

5. Larkspur

Blue larkspur flowers.

Another plant black-chinned hummingbirds enjoy is the wildflower larkspur, also known as delphinium. The scientific name in Greek means dolphin, which describes the flower’s shape. These tall plants with long flowers are an important resource for hummingbird survival because they have plenty of nectar in their blossoms. The flower grows straight upward without staking (up to five feet). You can have your pick of color because larkspur comes in white, pink, and lavender.

Make the Most of Your Garden

Even if you plant hummingbird-friendly flowers, there can be other factors keeping the tiny birds away. It's sometimes hard to tell why hummingbirds aren't flocking to your flowers. Here are some tips you may not have thought of:

Plant large patches of each plant species so the hummingbirds can see them better. Hummingbirds see in ultraviolet light, so it may take a big area of their favorite flower to attract their attention.

Make sure your hummingbird area is near some kind of foliage. Hummingbirds nest on the branches of tall shrubs and trees, which provide cover and escape from predators.

If you aren't near an area that naturally attracts hummingbirds, it may take a while for them to find your garden. Be patient and keep trying.

Consider planting the flowers near a window or sitting area so you can view the hummingbirds in action. They may be visiting right under your nose and you just aren't able to notice them unless you lead them to a visible area.

Keep your hummingbird haven free of pesticides as they can harm the small creatures.