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The Best Plants for Hummingbirds

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Hummingbird feeding on flowers

 

Here is a good reference list for the plants that hummingbirds prefer the most.

 

AbutilonAbutilon

  • Annual with 150 species
  • Bell-shaped flowers that bloom all summer into fall
  • High sucrose content

 

Agastache

Agastachia
  • Herbaceous perennial with 10 species
  • Prefers well-drained organic soils and part to full sun
  • Colors range from pastel apricot to blues and purples
  • Blooms summer to fall

 

 

 Aquilegia - Columbine

Columbine
  • Perennial with 60-70 species 
  • First flower frequented by hummers on return in spring
  • Prefers part shade

 

 Fuchsia  Hummer feeding on Fuschia

  • Annual with over 100 species
  • Prefers part shade
  • Profuse blooms in containers
  • Perennial in zone 10-11
  • Prefers well-drained, rich soil and regular watering
  • After flowering produces an edible fruit

 

 Justica - Shrimp Plant

Shrimp Plant
  • Tropical loved by hummers that adds interest to any pot
  • Native to Mexico, it is an evergreen shrub that should be brought indoors during the cold season
  • Justica is a profuse bloomer

  

Kniphofia -  Red Hot Poker

Red Hot Poker
  • 50 or more species 
  • Herbaceous perennial native to Africa
  • Basal evergreen leaves
  • Tall spiked flowers open over summer
  • Colors from yellows to vivid red

 

Lobelia Red Lobelia with bee

  • Over 300 species from native cardinalis and siphlicata to annual varieties
  • Native varieties prefer moist organic soils and full sun or part shade Cardinalis is a favorite and sought after in wild

 

 Lonicera - Honeysuckle

 Lonicera sempervirens - coral honeysuckle
  • Over 150 species but plant the native Lonicera sempervirens varieties 
  • Blooms late April thru fall and is loved by hummers due to very high fructose in nectar.
  • Major Wheeler is a red-orange and John Clayton is bright yellow

 

Monarda - Bee Balm Bee Balm

  • Over 12 varieties available
  • Red varieties like Jacob Kline and Fireball are favorites
  • Native plant that prefers full to part sun and good air circulation to prevent powdery mildew

 

Penstemons - Beard’s Tongue

Beardstongue
  • Many species are native and have non-tubular flowers 
    with lip providing high sucrose
  • Native varieties include Husker’s Red or any Penstemon digitalis

 

Salvia

Salvia
  • One of the largest genus of plants that offer tubular flowers ranging from white to deep red to deep blue 
  • Perennial plants as well as annual varieties provide nectar to hummingbirds
  • Annual types include Hot Lips, Black and Blue, Amistad etc
  • Perennial types include Marcus, Blue Hill, Caradonna and Rose

Tecoma Tecoma

  • Over 10 species of tropical vining bushes that offer very high sucrose
  • Flowers are usually yellow or orange with red throats

 

 Sage 

Pineapple Sage
  • Pineapple sage which blooms prolifically in late August through October is a great source of sucrose as hummingbirds migrate
  • This plant is a tender perennial 

 

 Others 

Trumpet Vine

Trumpet Vine
  • Large trumpet-shaped flowers full of sucrose
  • Flowers area a little large but they work
  • Hummers pollinate as well as feed on Trumpet Vine flowers

Brugmansia

  • Another tropical that provides large trumpet-shaped 
    Brugmansia
    flowers for feeding
  • Also fragrant and best used in planters.

Hummingbirds like tubular flowers as they hold more nectar that is rich in sucrose.  Red is their favorite color as they can see it further away but any color will do.  The shape of the flower and the amount of nectar dictates how many hummingbirds you attract.  When plants are ready to be pollinated, the secretions of nectar increase.  Nectar includes sucrose, glucose, and fructose. This process is repeated throughout the summer into fall as flowers are produced.

If you provide enough planted food sources then your hummingbirds will stop using your feeders.  They also do not use feeders during nesting and hatching time as proteins are required for rearing young - they prefer spiders, gnats, and small insects.

Keep in mind that Hummingbirds feed insects to their young.  For them to nest and remain in your garden, plant some of the following plants that harbor insects needed to raise young. 

  • Quercus alba 
    Hummingbird eating a moth
  • Quercus phellos
  • Quercus palustris
  • Quercus rubra
  • Quercus bicolor
  • Prunus serotina
  • Pinus strobus 
    Humminbird nest
  • Acer rubrum
  • Liriodendron tulipifera

Magnolia grandiflora, and other native trees, will harbor the insects they require, as well as nesting sites.

 

 





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