The Only Homemade Hummingbird Nectar Recipe You Need

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Wondering how to make hummingbird nectar to fill your feeders? Get the simple DIY recipe for homemade hummingbird nectar.

hummingbird nectar recipeCourtesy Kathy Schlosser
Female ruby-throated hummingbird

Homemade Hummingbird Nectar Recipe

Commercial hummingbird nectar is convenient, but you can easily make your own. Stir up the perfect homemade hummingbird nectar recipe by combining 4 parts water to 1 part table sugar. Bring the water to a boil to break down the sugar completely. Once it’s cool, refrigerate what you don’t use between fillings. Pure white table sugar is the safest option for for hummingbirds. Many consider organic sugar, which doesn’t tend to be fully refined to pure sucrose, unsafe for feeding hummingbirds. And skip the red food dye! The birds don’t need it, and it’s easier to monitor the freshness of colorless sugar water.

Check out 13 questions about hummingbird feeders answered by experts.

How Often Should You Change Hummingbird Nectar?

You can avoid mold by filling feeders only halfway and cleaning them before each refill. With the typical 4:1 ratio of water to sugar, a ruby-throated hummingbird probably won’t drink more than about 2 fluid ounces per day. Placing your feeders in the shade will help to keep hummingbird nectar from spoiling too quickly. Change out the mixture every three to five days—and more frequently on hot days.

Psst—we found natural ways to keep bees and wasps away from hummingbird feeders.

hummingbird gets nectar from flowersCourtesy Laurie Wilson
Anna’s hummingbird enjoying nectar from a torch lily plant

Plant Nectar Flowers for Hummingbirds

Another nectar source comes from your garden! Hummingbirds feed on flower nectar as well as sugar water. Try planting these red flowers that hummingbirds love. Here’s how to create an ideal hummingbird habitat. And skip the pesticides. These tiny birds also eat plenty of insects for protein.

Next, learn about the 15 types of hummingbirds found in the United States.

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Kenn and Kimberly Kaufman
Kenn and Kimberly are the official Birds & Blooms bird experts. They are the duo behind the Kaufman Field Guide series. They speak and lead bird trips all over the world. When they're not traveling, they enjoy watching birds and other wildlife in their Northwest Ohio backyard.