Top 15 Colorful Hummingbird Flowers to Grow
What flowers do hummingbirds like? Turn your garden into a pollinator haven with colorful hummingbird flowers such as bee balm and salvia.
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Hummingbird flowers have three things in common. Their blooms are tube-shaped, brightly colored, and they grow where it’s easy for hummingbirds to hover and sip. If you want to attract more of these beautiful birds, plant these flowers that hummingbirds like in your yard or garden.
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Courtesy Laurie Dirkx
1. Cardinal Flower
Lobelia Cardinalis, Zones 2 to 9
Size: 3 to 4 feet tall, 1 to 2 feet wide
Cardinal flower, named for the red robes worn by Roman Catholic cardinals, needs mulch to retain moisture during summer and protect its root system during cold northern winters. It’s one of the top hummingbirds flowers you should grow.
Why we love it: This deer-resistant, reseeding and self-rooting perennial lights up partial shade or full sun areas that boast consistently moist soil. Flower spikes open from bottom to top, and stay in bloom for several weeks.
Check out the top 10 red hummingbird flowers.
Courtesy Melissa Brewer
2. Bee Balm
Monarda species, Zones 4 to 9
Size: 1 to 4 feet tall and wide
For a surefire way to attract hummingbirds with flowers, grow bee balm. This beauty grows up to 4 feet tall in full sun and starts flowering in midsummer. You can even find several varieties on the market that are resistant to mildew. Whether you choose natives or cultivated varieties, the birds can’t resist the nectar-rich blooms. Bee balm needs sun, moist soil, and plenty of air circulation to ward off powdery mildew.
Why we love it: After the tubular pink, red, white or violet flowers fade, the round seed heads add beauty in fall and winter and may self-sow.
Penstemon species, Zones 3 to 9
Size: 1 to 4 feet tall
Penstemons are North American natives that come in many forms. It’s best to plant those that are native to your area. These hummingbird flowers are low-maintenance if you place them in full sun and soil with excellent drainage; they hate wet feet, especially in the winter.
Why we love it: The options are nearly limitless. Choose from a wide palette of flower colors, including white, yellow, blue, purple, red and orange.
Hosta Species, Zones 3 to 9
Size: 6 to 30 inches
Although most hostas are grown for their leaves, they also have flowers that hummingbirds like. The large bell-shaped blooms are excellent nectar sources in hues of purple to white.
Why we love it: Everyone thinks of hummingbird plants for sunny areas, but the little fliers like a sweet treat in the shade, too.
Nepeta Species, Zones 3 to 9
Size: 1 to 3 feet tall, often wider than it is tall
Catmint is easy to grow, long-blooming, heat-tolerant, and deer- and pest-resistant. After the hummingbird flowers fade, shear off the spent blooms and about a third of the stalk for a second round.
Why we love it: Hummingbirds especially like Siberian catmint’s blue blooms (Nepeta sibirica). Just be aware that this variety can be an aggressive grower.
Check out the top 10 purple flowers that attract hummingbirds.
Agastache species, Zones 4 to 9
Size: 1 to 5 feet tall
It’s no coincidence that a common name for one of the agastache species is hummingbird mint. That type excels in dry regions. Choose anise hyssop (Agastache foeniculum) in northern, wetter climates. Tiny tubular hummingbird flowers on slender stalks grow in a variety of colors and shapes. Full sun and excellent drainage are essential for keeping plants happy.
Why we love it: Deer and rabbits leave it alone.
Learn how to create an ideal hummingbird habitat.
Courtesy Jake Bonello
7. Eastern Red Columbine
Aquilegia Canadensis, Zones 3 to 8
Size: 1 to 3 feet tall, 1 foot wide
This easy-to-grow perennial performs in part to full shade. It reseeds itself to replenish older plants, which tend to lose vigor after three or four years. The airy habit allows it to grow among other plants.
Why we love it: Sure, you can find cultivated varieties of columbines, but native columbine, with its crimson spurs and bright yellow stamens, is an early-season favorite flower that hummingbirds like.
Psst—hummingbirds also love these pink nasturtium flowers.
North Creek Nurseries Inc.
8. Trumpet Honeysuckle
Lonicera Sempervirens, Zones 4 to 10
Size: 10- to 20-foot vine
If you have a fence, arbor or trellis in full sun to part shade, plant a colorful trumpet honeysuckle vine. Hummingbirds go absolutely wild for this climber. We don’t always recommend honeysuckle—many types are invasive—but this one is an exception worth considering. It’s native to many areas, and hummingbirds will visit all summer for its nectar. The vine climbs up to 12 feet tall and thrives in full sun to partial shade.
Why we love it: After a flush of blooms in late spring, flowers continue sporadically until fall. Prune or don’t prune—your choice.
“Trumpet honeysuckle is by far the most favored hummingbird plant in my yard. It blooms all season, produces fruit that other birds enjoy and is native to the United States,” says Karen Dennis, Plymouth, Michigan.
Psst—did you know that honeysuckle is the June birth flower?
Courtesy Liz Tabb
Salvia species, annual to perennial Zones 3 to 10
Size: 1 to 6 feet tall
Pick a salvia, any type of salvia—hummingbirds like them all. The tubular blooms are just right for dipping a beak into. Salvias grow best in full sun to part shade. Annual salvia is a garden favorite, but don’t forget the power of the perennial variety. The blooms can reach 1 to 5 feet tall, flowering in bright shades of purple, indigo, maroon and even red. Grow in full sun, and you’ll probably want to add a few extra for the butterflies, too. Check out the top 10 salvias to grow for hummingbirds.
Why we love it: Almost continuously blooming, especially in hot, dry conditions, salvias come in a huge selection of colors and plant habits. Many gardeners grow these hummingbird flowers because they’re a good drought-tolerant option in summer. Don’t forget to grow it in well-draining soil for best results.
“Hummingbirds love all of the salvias, but Black & Blue is a favorite in our yard,” says Ginny Phillips Olathe, Kansas.
Courtesy Julie Droppleman
Zinnia Elegans, annual
Size: 6 to 48 inches tall
Why we love it: There are so many colors to choose from! If you’re planting a rainbow of colors and need green flowers, choose Queen Lime, Envy, Tequila Lime or other chartreuse varieties.
Learn how to attract hummingbirds to your balcony.
11. Flowering Tobacco
Nicotiana spp., annual
Often flying under the radar, this might be one of the best-kept secrets among hummingbird plants. Yes, it is an annual, but once gardeners discover the power of this flower, they eagerly plant it again and again. You can find it in a whole spectrum of colors, including pink, white, red, lavender and green.
Discover the 15 types of hummingbirds found in the United States.
Walters Gardens Inc.
12. Red Hot Poker
Kniphofia, Zones 5 to 9
Red hot poker is one of the most dramatic and visually appealing flowers in the garden, pale yellow at the base and bold orange on top. Some varieties have an extra jolt of orange. The plants grow up to 4 feet high and are among the earlier summer bloomers.
Bonus tip: You really want to plant these in well-draining soil. They’re prone to rot in boggy or even moist soil.
Discover 17 jaw-dropping facts about hummingbirds.
Walters Gardens Inc.
Delphinium, Zones 3 to 7
This towering treasure makes a statement at the back of a mixed border, as a vertical accent or in a container. With dozens of blooms on each stem, it gives hummingbirds plenty of nectar sources to share with butterflies and other bugs, too.
Bonus tip: Some varieties, like the Summer Blues pictured here, are a lot bluer than others. For heat tolerance, try the Blue Mirror cultivar.
Discover 14 questions about hummingbird feeders answered by experts.
Courtesy Eric Tome
14. Trumpet Vine
Campsis radicans, Zones 4 to 9
We see dozens of photos of hummingbirds at trumpet vine, and there’s a good reason. They like this sweet beauty! A perennial favorite of both butterflies and hummingbirds, it grows up to 40 feet tall.
Bonus tip: When you plant this stunner, it pays to invest in a good trellis, or put it next to a tree, telephone pole or sturdy fence. If you can provide this vine with good support, it will last for years.
Discover the top 10 vines for hummingbirds.
15. Coral Bells
Heuchera, Zones 3 to 9
Don’t overlook the power of pink, a color available in many species that we normally think of as having red flowers. Coral bells are valued for their foliage and shade tolerance. In late spring, the plant sends up attractive, long-lasting wands of tiny flowers that hummingbirds like all summer long.
Bonus tip: Spend time getting to know the different cultivars, which have some of the garden’s most diverse and beautiful foliage options. It won’t be long until you have your own favorites.
Check out the top 10 hummingbird plants that grow in shade.
Readers’ Favorite Hummingbird Flowers
Photo: Courtesy of Proven Winners, provenwinners.com
“Every year I place a big pot of large firecracker plant (Cuphea ‘Vermillionaire’) on my deck. Hummingbirds are zipping about just inches from me all summer!” says Janet Doherty, Scarborough, Maine.
Red Canna Lily
Courtesy Andrea Garvin
“Almost every time I look at my red canna lilies, there is a hummingbird at them,” says Liza Vaughn, Fairfax, Virginia.
Courtesy Koji Kanemoto
“My king aloe plant blooms four or five times each summer, sending up grand 4-foot stalks covered in bell-shaped flowers. Hummers sit on the branches and feed,” says Lorraine Smith, Lake Charles, Louisiana.
Next, learn what foods, how often and how much hummingbirds eat.