11 Nectar Plants for Hummingbirds You Aren’t Growing Yet
Mix up the flowers in your hummingbird garden. These annual and perennial nectar plants are hidden gems that your pollinators will love.
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Nectar Plants: Aloe Vera
Aloe spp., Zones 9 to 11
You probably know that you can grow aloe vera as a houseplant (it’s a popular succulent to grow near the kitchen, so you can quickly soothe burns). But when you grow these nectar plants outdoors, they may produce colorful flowers that hummingbirds love.
Discover more succulents that will attract pollinators.
Via Proven Winners
Campanula spp., Zones 3 to 9
These plants are pretty adaptable; they’re both heat tolerant and can also handle partial shade. You do need to remember to water them regularly. For gorgeous violet blue colored flowers, try Rapido Blue (above). Avoid growing creeping bellflower, Campanula rapunculoides, which is considered invasive.
Walters Gardens, Inc
Ajuga reptans, Zones 3 to 9
Its unusual name leaves a little to be desired, but bugleweed is truly a dazzling perennial. These nectar plants thrive in shade, act as a ground cover and don’t tempt hungry rabbits and deer. Black Scallop (above) has dark, almost black, leaves and spikes of pollen-rich blue flowers that will attract hummingbirds and butterflies.
Don’t forget to grow the top 10 red hummingbird flowers.
Cleome hassleriana, Annual
Commonly known as spider flower, cleome gets its common name from the long and threadlike flower stamens and elongated seedpods. The flowers readily self-seed and are also beloved by butterflies. Mix cleome in with other annuals such as zinnias and cosmos.
Dahlia spp., Zones 8 to 11 or Annual
They hit their stride in late summer, so dahlias are an ideal nectar plant for hummingbirds fueling up for their long fall migration journey. Don’t be intimated by the extra effort needed to grow dahlias. Where winters are cold, dig up the tubers after a killing frost and store them in a cool, dry area such as your garage. Then replant them in spring.
Courtesy Desiree Skatvold
Fuchsia, Annual to Zone 9
If you can find a fuchsia hanging basket at the garden center this spring—grab it! Your hummingbirds will thank you. These flowering nectar plants grow well in partial shade, so don’t worry if you don’t have an open sunny spot in your yard.
Check out more of the best potted flowers for hummingbirds.
Courtesy Kim Mitas
Spigelia marilandica, Zones 4 to 8
Often overlooked, this colorful southeastern native plant is known as a hummingbird favorite by gardeners who have grown it. Indian pink flowers in late spring to early summer and does best in shade gardens with moist soil and light shade to part sun. For vibrant red and yellow flowers, try Little Redhead.
Grow cardinal flower to attract butterflies and hummingbirds.
Mexican Bush Sage
Salvia leucantha, Annual to Zone 8
You’re probably already growing salvias for hummingbirds, but Mexican bush sage provides a valuable late-season food source during migration. In zones 9 to 11, these nectar plants will bloom from late fall to early summer. In zone 8, grow it for the pretty blooms that last until the first cold snap kills it to the ground; the plant will return the following year.
Lychnis coronaria, Zones 4 to 8
Bring in hummingbirds with this easy-t0-grow, drought-tolerant perennial, which is sometimes known as dusty miller for its silvery foliage. You’ll also find butterflies visiting the white, magenta or pink flowers. Deer tend to leave this one alone.
Psst—hummingbirds will flock to a hummingbird mint plant.
Courtesy Melinda Allen
Ipomoea lobata, Zones 10 to 11 or Annual
This flowering vine is highly attractive to hummingbirds. Grow in full sun for the most blooms. The common name, Spanish flag, refers to the gradient of vivid red to yellow flowers. Plant it outdoors after the last spring frost.
Courtesy Miyoko Stevens
Verbena bonariensis, Zones 7 to 11 or Annual
This butterfly and hummingbird magnet also produces seeds that attract goldfinches later in the season. Tall verbena is a self-seeding annual in colder areas. Newer compact varieties such as Meteor Shower produce fewer seeds. It prefers sun as well as moist, well-draining soil and tolerates occasionally dry conditions.
Next, check out the top 10 annuals that attract hummingbirds.