Top 10 Colorful Flowers Hummingbirds Love
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Hummingbirds flock to blooms in every color of the rainbow. Turn your garden into a hummingbird haven with flowers such as bee balm, honeysuckle and catmint.
Hummingbird-friendly flowers have three things in common. Their flowers are tube-shaped and brightly colored, they’re scentless, and they grow where it’s easy for hummingbirds to hover and sip. Check out the top 10 colorful flowers that hummingbirds love.
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.
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. Here’s even more simple ways to attract more hummingbirds.
2. Bee Balm
Monarda species, Zones 4 to 9
Size: 1 to 4 feet tall and wide
For a surefire way to attract hummingbirds, grow bee balm. Whether you choose natives or cultiovated 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. Check out the top annual flowers that attract hummingbirds.
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. They’re 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. Here’s how to attract hummingbirds to your balcony.
Hosta Species, Zones 3 to 9
Size: 6 to 30 inches
Although most hostas are grown for their leaves, 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 flowers fade, shear off the spent blooms and about a third of the stalk for a second round.
Why we love it: Hummingbirds feed from all kinds of catmint but especially love Siberian catmint’s blue blooms (Nepeta sibirica). Just be aware that this variety can be an aggressive grower.
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 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.
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. Discover even more red flowers that hummingbirds love.
Courtesy Deborah Bifulco
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, and watch the hummingbirds go absolutely wild for this climber.
Why we love it: After a flush of blooms in late spring, flowers continue sporadically until fall. Prune or don’t prune—your choice.
Bonus! Honeysuckle is perfectly shaped for hummingbirds, like this ruby-throat. Follow these tips to take spectacular hummingbird photos.
Courtesy Todd Nelson
Salvia species, annual to perennial Zones 3 to 10
Size: 1 to 6 feet tall
Pick a salvia, any type of salvia—just as hummingbirds do. The tubular flowers are just right for dipping a beak into. Salvias grow best in full sun to part shade.
Why we love it: Almost continuously blooming, especially in hot, dry conditions, salvias come in a huge selection of colors and plant habits.
Zinnia Elegans, annual
Size: 6 to 48 inches tall
Zinnias are a treat for hummingbirds and humans. And they’re easy to grow from seed. The birds sip from the central florets, and you can snip the blooms to create indoor bouquets.
Why we love it: There are so many colors to choose from! If you’re planting a rainbow of flower colors and need green, choose Queen Lime, Envy, Tequila Lime or chartreuse varieties.