8 Flowering Plants That Hummingbirds Don’t Like

We asked our Field Editors to tell us about the flowers that their hummingbirds never visit.

Hummingbirds prefer some colorful flowers more than others. They typically seek out long, tube-shaped flowers—especially red ones. But have you ever wondered which plants that hummers aren’t so crazy about? This list is a good place to start. Keep in mind that your own results may vary based on your location, habitat, and other backyard factors.

Birding experts Kenn and Kimberly Kaufman say ruby-throated hummingbirds, in particular, have to be more adaptable than many other hummingbirds because they migrate such a long distance through different habitats, dealing with big variations in weather and climate. It’s an advantage for them to be flexible and to check out whatever flowers are available.

do hummingbirds like roses
Courtesy Susan Terry
Hummingbirds don’t like roses as much as other flowers

Roses

Do hummingbirds like roses? Our Field Editors say no. “Hummers seem to stay away from flowers with a large opening, like roses. Instead, they visit the flowers that are tiny, like lilacs. I think their narrow little beaks help them to drink easier from something smaller. They will also drink from tomato plant flowers. Just my observation,” says Donna Stafford Sleight. We found 11 nectar plants for hummingbirds you aren’t growing yet.
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Courtesy Laura Netro Price
American goldfinch on black-eyed Susans

Black-Eyed Susans

“I can’t say I’ve ever seen (hummingbirds) on the purple coneflowers, black-eyed Susans, daylilies, or astilbe,” says Birds & Blooms Field Editor Judy Roberts.

Backyard tip: You will want to add these seed-bearing plants to your goldfinch garden.

Discover the best perennials to grow for hummingbirds.

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Courtesy Marcie Pottinger

Irises

“I only have a few hummingbirds visit during warmer months. However, I notice they never show any interest in my iris blooms. In my many years of gardening, I have never seen any hummingbirds visit them,” says Field Editor Lori Burdette-Bowers. Check out the top 10 purple flowers that attract hummingbirds.

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Courtesy Nora Hicks

Daylilies

“I have hundreds of daylilies and have never seen a hummer at them,” says Field Editor Robin Evans. To attract hummingbirds, try growing canna lilies instead.

Only have room for a container garden? Grow these potted flowers and plants that attract hummingbirds.

Bnbbyc18 Katelyn Cheek
Courtesy Katelyn Cheek

Coneflowers

We know that these easy-to-grow perennials are popular with butterflies and songbirds, but do hummingbirds like coneflowers? “As others have said, I’ve never seen hummingbirds feed from echinacaea (coneflower), daylilies, or roses. In addition, they don’t visit my Tecoma stans, which has larger flowers, or coral honeysuckle,” says Field Editor Pat Northington.

Backyard Tip: Even if you haven’t had luck attracting hummingbirds, don’t give up. Juveniles will be looking for a place to eat, so you could attract visitors at any time.

seed bearing plants, easy perennials, autumn joy sedum
Justus de Cuveland/Getty Images
Autumn joy sedum

Sedum

“In 50 years of extensive gardening, I have never seen (hummingbirds) feed on sedum. We had five varieties in the gardens blooming this year, pink, purple, yellows, and various sizes from ground covers to nearly 3 feet tall—never saw a hummingbird on any of them,” says Field Editor Keith Golden. Psst—hummingbirds will flock to a hummingbird mint plant.

Shasta Daisy - Becky
ZoomTravels/Getty Images

Shasta Daisies

“I love the way that Shasta daisies look, but they attract nothing to my yard. The hummingbirds fly right around them to other things. Not even the butterflies would touch them,” says Field Editor Rebecca Williamson. We found the best salvias to grow for hummingbirds.

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Courtesy Arlean Bower

Oriental Poppies

“We have a large bed of oriental poppies and have never seen the hummers visit them,” says Field Editor Sue Gronholz. You might have better luck attracting pollinators with these native plants instead.

Next, check out the top 10 hummingbird plants that grow in shade.

Lori Vanover
Lori has 20 years of experience writing and editing home, garden, birding and lifestyle content for several publishers. As Birds & Blooms senior digital editor, she leads a team of writers and editors sharing birding tips and expert gardening advice. Since joining Trusted Media Brands 13 years ago, she has held roles in digital and print, editing magazines and books, curating special interest publications, managing social media accounts, creating digital content and newsletters, and working with the Field Editors—Birds & Blooms network of more than 50 backyard birders. Passionate about animals and nature, Lori has a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural and Environmental Communications from the University of Illinois. In 2023, she became certified as a Wisconsin Extension Master Gardener, and she is a member of the Wisconsin Society for Ornithology and sits on the organization's Publications Advisory Committee. She frequently checks on her bird feeders while working from home and tests new varieties of perennials, herbs and vegetable plants in her ever-growing backyard gardens.