Plants to Attract Hummingbirds
You can attract hummingbirds to your garden in a number of ways. It's best to combine as many of these strategies as possible.
- Shade trees and shrubs provide perches, protection, and shade.
- Provide a combination of flowering plants and several hummingbird feeders.
- A garden pond and waterfall or a shallow pan of water—no more than ¼-inch deep—will allow hummingbirds to drink and bathe.
- If you want hummingbirds in your garden, don't use pesticides. The birds might ingest pesticides that have been sprayed on flowering plants. Pesticides also eliminate the small insects that hummingbirds rely upon for protein.
Be patient if this is your first attempt to attract hummingbirds. It may take several weeks for them to find your flowering plants and feeders. Once they do, you will see them year after year—they must pass the word around!
Fill hummingbird feeders with a boiled solution of four parts water to one part white refined sugar. Do not add food coloring—it's not necessary. Clean sugar-water feeders every three to five days, using a brush and mild detergent solution. Rinse well.
In general, plants that have red, hot pink, orange, and bright yellow flowers—all the hot colors—will attract hummingbirds. Although these tiny birds will feed on many flowers, the tubular ones are especially attractive. Hummingbirds sip nectar and also eat tiny insects and spiders. They may drink up to eight times their body weight daily in water.
Aside from the nectar-filled flowers you can grow, a good hummingbird garden should also consist of an entire habitat for the birds. Make certain that there is always fresh water available for drinking, as well as for bathing. Create both sun and shade areas in your hummingbird garden. Hummingbirds need a place in shade to perch as well as to build their nests. Willows and eucalyptus trees provide nesting materials which your hummingbirds will use, along with bits of leaves, spider webs, moss, and lichens to build their tiny nests.
Hummingbirds must feed 3-5 times per hour, and your hummingbirds may become reliant on your garden for food, but there may be periods when there are no blossoms from which they can get nectar. It is a good idea to provide hummingbird feeders hung about thirty feet apart throughout your garden for these times. The best color for a feeder is bright red to attract the birds from a distance. Never fill your feeders with anything but sugar-water mix of 1 part sugar to 4 parts water, or with premixed hummingbird food from the store. Do not use food coloring of any kind, and never, never use honey. (Honey can develop a fungus which can be fatal to hummingbirds)
Fuchsias, especially red ones
Geraniums, red and pink
Flowers of most herbs
Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis)
Salvia ‘Black and Blue’
Coral Bells (Heuchera)
Butterfly Bush (Buddleia)