Photo by: Megan Bonham / Shutterstock.

Is there anything more magical than watching a hummingbird, seemingly suspended in midair, dip its long beak into a flower? Sometimes you’ll hear these tiny birds before you see them, their wings making a distinctive whirring sound. When two or more appear together, you may hear the sharp “chattering” as they swoop and dive in a series of aggressive, aerial maneuvers. It’s no wonder that gardeners love to encourage these remarkable acrobats into their gardens.

Hummingbirds are primarily attracted to flowers that are tubular in shape and red in color, but are frequently seen visiting flowers that are orange, yellow, purple or even blue giving you plenty to choose from. Keep in mind that many double-flowered forms aren't accessible to pollinators.

On this page: Shrubs and Vines | Annuals | Perennials

SHRUBS AND VINES

Spilled Wine weigela. Photo by: Proven Winners.

WEIGELA

There’s a weigela to suit even the most discerning hummingbird—and gardener—with early summer blooms covering the shrub in shades from palest pink to a true red, and foliage that may be variegated, green, gold, or a rich plum. Small spaces can take advantage of newer compact varieties, while larger landscapes will appreciate the many taller options available. Weigela thrive in full sun and average garden soil, are drought tolerant once established, and are rarely bothered by deer.

Zones:

4-8

Height/Spread:

2 to 6 feet tall and 3 to 5 feet wide

Plants to Try:

Spilled Wine® (pictured), Czechmark Trilogy®, My Monet®, Tuxedo™, Maroon Swoon®

Learn more about growing weigela.

Oregon grape. Photo by: Karen Chapman.

OREGON GRAPE

Pacific Northwest homeowners are often delighted to discover Anna’s hummingbirds overwintering in their garden, a time of year when the blooms of Oregon grape (Mahonia spp.) become an important food source for them. This evergreen shrub has holly-like leaves and yellow shuttlecock-type flowers in winter that are followed by edible blue berries.

Preferring partial shade, these do well even in dry soil, with varieties available to serve as a groundcover or tall specimen plants.

Zones:

5-ll

Height/Spread:

12 inches to 10 feet tall, 2 feet to 8 feet wide

Plants to Try:

‘Charity’, ‘Arthur Menzies’, ‘Soft Caress’, creeping mahonia, ‘Marvel’

‘Riccartonii’ hardy fuchsia. Photo by: Peter Turner Photography / Shutterstock.

HARDY FUCHSIA

Consider this shrub for an easy-care addition to your hummingbird garden. Most are frost hardy, and add a bold splash of color to a woodland garden or shady courtyard, especially if you select one of the varieties with golden foliage. A cold winter may kill the shrub to the ground, but it will quickly emerge in spring from the base. It may also be worth protecting the crown with a mulch of straw or compost during the winter, and removing the covering once spring arrives.

Zones:

6-10

Height/Spread:

2 to 6 feet tall and 2 to 6 feet wide. Mature size and hardiness vary with variety.

Plants to Try:

‘Genii’, ‘Riccartonii’, ‘Beacon’

Bloom-A-Thon® White azalea. Photo by: Proven Winners.

AZALEA

Few shrubs can rival azaleas for color in spring. While evergreen varieties may be best known, the deciduous Exbury hybrids have the added advantage of fragrance and an even wider choice of colors. Whether you need a back-of-the-border showstopper, or a compact reblooming evergreen foundation shrub, there is bound to be a perfect variety to suit your needs.

Azaleas thrive in acidic, moisture retentive, well-drained soil. Their shallow roots benefit from a layer of mulch over the root zone in addition to regular water. They thrive in morning sun and afternoon shade or filtered all day sun, although Exbury azaleas are generally more sun tolerant. Cold tolerance and size vary considerably with variety.

Zones:

3-10

Height/Spread:

3 to 6 feet tall and 3 to 5 feet wide.

Plants to Try:

Bloom -A-Thon® series, Encore® series, ‘Northern Lights’ series, ‘Girard’ series

Learn more about growing azaleas.

King Edward VII’ flowering currant. Photo by: Gabriela Beres / Shutterstock.

FLOWERING CURRANT

Possibly one of the easiest shrubs to grow, this drought tolerant, deer resistant, deciduous shrub is native to the western United States and Canada. Both the species and named varieties attract hummingbirds by the dozen, so be sure to place this large shrub where you can enjoy the early spring display of pendulous, crimson flowers.

Suitable for open shade or sunnier locations, this upright, vase-shaped shrub does well in average garden soil.

Zones:

6-8

Height/Spread:

3 to 10 feet tall and 3 to 10 feet wide

Plants to Try:

‘King Edward VII’, ‘Elk River Red’, ‘Pokey’s Pink’

Double Take Orange flowering quince. Photo by: Proven Winners

FLOWERING QUNICE

Flowering quince (Chaenomeles speciosa) makes a bold statement in the early spring garden, each branch studded with clusters of small rose-like blossoms. These large, thorny shrubs were as popular in our grandparents' day as they are today, but for gardeners who prefer not to tangle with the sharp thorns, there are some new, thornless, and more compact varieties available that could even be used in a container garden.

Try cutting a few branches when the fat buds begin to swell and place them in a vase of water near a sunny window for an instant spring bouquet that will unfold over a few days. Flower colors range from palest pink to deepest crimson.

Zones:

5-9

Height/Spread:

4 to 8 feet tall and 3 to 8 feet wide

Plants to Try:

Double Take Orange™, ‘Texas Scarlet’, ‘Toyo-Nishiki’

Learn more about flowering quince.

Orange Jubilee esperanza. Photo by: sarawut muensang / Shutterstock

YELLOW BELLS, ESPERANZA

A large shrub that can be used for screening or boundary planting, yellow bells (Tecoma stans) is native to the southern United States through South America. For many gardens the native species is simply too big, with homeowners preferring the newer, more compact hybrids. Hummingbirds, however, will visit them all, gorging on the nectar deep within their yellow, orange, or apricot blooms. These shrubs need regular water and full sun to thrive. To manage the size, cut back the branches to a few buds in spring.

Zones:

8-11

Height/Spread:

3 to 25 feet tall and 3 to 20 feet wide

Plants to Try:

‘Orange Jubilee’ (pictured), ‘Gold Star’, ‘Sierra Apricot’

Trumpet Vine.
Photo by: Stephen Orsillo / Shutterstock

TRUMPET VINE

There’s nothing subtle about this fast-growing vine. Trumpet vine (Campsis radicans f. flava) needs to be grown on a large, sturdy structure to support the considerable weight. The species may also sucker profusely, which in addition to its self-seeding tendencies has resulted in it being declared invasive in some areas (check with your local extension office before planting), although it is native to the southeastern United States.

In full sun and average to lean soils, this vine will be covered with a profusion of brilliant orange tubular flowers throughout the summer months. Named varieties now extend that color palette to include yellow and red.

Zones:

4-9

Height/Spread:

25 to 40 feet tall and 5 to 10 feet wide

Plants to Try:

Flava, Balboa Sunset®, ‘Atropurpurea’

‘Dropmore Scarlet’. Photo by: Tpt / Shutterstock

TRUMPET HONEYSUCKLE

Unlike Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica) which has become invasive in many areas, the trumpet honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens) is native to the eastern United States and does not produce such an abundance of seed.

This twining vine is easily grown in average soil with the best flower production in full sun. The fragrant, tubular coral-red flowers are borne in clusters and are followed by red berries that several bird species enjoy. Primary bloom time is late spring with continued sporadic flowering until fall

Depending upon the climate this may be deciduous, semi-evergreen, or evergreen.

Zones:

4-9

Height/Spread:

8 to 20 feet tall and 3 to 6 feet wide

Plants to Try:

‘Dropmore Scarlet’ (pictured), ‘Magnifica’

Cypress Vine. Photo by: Indochina Studio / Shutterstock

CYPRESS VINE

An annual in colder climates, a re-seeding perennial in more temperate regions, and considered an invasive weed in southeastern United States, cypress vine (Ipomoea quamoclit) is a twining vine with delicate, feathery foliage and tubular, star-shaped red blossoms that hummingbirds adore.

Be sure to train the fast-growing, young vine up a trellis or similar stricture when young or it may smother adjacent plants. Cypress vine grows best in full sun, moderately fertile soil and is deer resistant.

Check with your local extension office to see if this is invasive in your area.

Zones:

6-10, or enjoy as an annual

Height/Spread:

10 to 15 feet tall and 6 to 10 feet wide

ANNUALS

Supertunia® Vista Bubblegum. Photo by Proven Winners.

PETUNIA

Perhaps the most popular annual with gardeners, these are also a favorite of hummingbirds and bees with their large, trumpet-shaped blooms. The flowers are available in every color from white to black, including speckled, spotted, and striped varieties, as well as both single and double-flowered forms.

Trim back mid-summer if these start to look leggy, but otherwise just water and fertilize regularly for an outstanding display. Compact and trailing selections are available.

Zones:

Annual

Height/Spread:

6 to 10 inches tall and 10 to 30 inches wide

Plants to Try:

Supertunia® Vista Bubblegum (pictured), Crazytunia Mandeville, Surfinia Red

Learn more about growing petunias.

Superbells® Lemon Slice®. Photo by Proven Winners.

CALIBRACHOA

If you want the vibrant color punch of a petunia with even less maintenance, Calibrachoa, also called Superbells® and Million Bells®, may be the answer. Like their larger cousins, these are available in every color of the rainbow with both single and double flower forms, yet need no deadheading , withstand rain with ease, and are a treat for hummingbirds. Choose from compact or trailing varieties.

Your hardest decision may be choosing which ones to include in your sun-loving designs this year.

Zones:

Annual

Height/Spread:

3 to 8 inches tall and 10 to 30 inches wide.

Plants to Try:

Superbells® Lemon Slice (pictured), Cruze Yellow Red Eye, Million Bells Trailing Blue

Read more about how to grow Calibrachoa.

Tiny Mice® cuphea. Photo by Proven Winners.

ANNUAL CUPHEA

This delightful annual should be included in all your summer designs if only to amuse children of all ages! The antics of visiting hummingbirds will certainly add to the fun factor of this charming genus whose flower shapes include varieties that resemble the faces of tiny mice, as well as more traditional flower forms and elongated tubes. Tuck these into hanging baskets, window boxes, and containers and stand back to watch the show.

Zones:

Annual

Height/Spread:

8 to 28 inches tall and 12 to 24 inches wide

Plants to Try:

Tiny Mice® (pictured), ‘Flamenco Samba’, Vermillionaire®, Bat Face

Learn more about growing cuphea plants.

PERENNIALS

‘Cat’s Meow’. Photo by Proven Winners

CATMINT

Catmint (Nepeta spp.) has much to offer the gardener including long-lasting blooms, drought tolerance, and deer resistance as well as aromatic foliage. Hummingbirds are also attracted to the tiny tubular lavender-blue flowers and enjoy the sheer abundance of blooms on each long flower spike.

Taller varieties of catmint benefit from a quick trim after blooming, but otherwise these perennials are easy to care for and just need to be cut down to the ground in fall.

Zones:

3-8

Height/Spread:

12 inches to 3 feet tall, 18 to 24 inches wide

Plants to Try:

‘Cat’s Meow’ (pictured), ‘Little Titch’, ‘Walker’s Low’

Read more about growing catmint.

Proven Accents® Rockin® Golden Delicious. Photo by Proven Winners.

SAGE, SALVIA

With both hardy and tender varieties of sage (Salvia spp.) available in shades of purple, blue, pink, and white, there are plenty of options for discerning gardeners and hummingbirds. There is even a fabulous golden leaved pineapple sage, Proven Accents® Rockin® ‘Golden Delicious’ (pictured), that blooms late in the season with tubular red flowers.

All are drought tolerant once established, deer resistant, and low maintenance. Mature size and cold hardiness will vary somewhat with variety.

Zones:

3-11

Height/Spread:

1-1/2 to 4 feet tall and 1-1/2 to 3 feet wid

Plants to Try:

Rockin® Fuchsia, Color Spires® ‘Indiglo Girl’, ‘Caradonna’

Learn more about growing salvia.

‘Midnight Masquerade’ penstemon. Photo by Proven Winners.

BEARDTONGUE, PENSTEMON

This long-blooming perennial is perfect for many design styles, including cottage garden, prairie, xeriscape, and rock gardens, with many shapes, sizes, and colors to choose from. There are even some varieties with deep purple foliage to extend the interest.

Spikes of tubular flowers in red, orange, purple, or blue are favored by hummingbirds and the foliage of some varieties may be evergreen in mild winters. Cold hardiness will vary with variety.

Zones:

3-9

Height/Spread:

1-1/2 to 4 feet tall and 1-1/2 to 3 feet wide

Plants to Try:

‘Midnight Masquerade’ (pictured), Firecracker, ‘Cha Cha Purple’

Read more about growing beardtongue.

‘Pardon My Cerise’. Photo by Proven Winners.

BEE BALM

Ignored by deer and rabbits, yet a favorite of hummingbirds and butterflies, the casual, pom-pom flowers of bee balm (Monarda spp.) each offer an abundance of tubular flowers in red, pink, or purple in summer. Taller, back-of-the-border varieties are now joined by more compact selections, as well as many specifically bred for resistance to mildew. Both the flowers and foliage are aromatic.

Zones:

4-9

Height/Spread:

10 to 48 inches tall and 10 to 28 inches wide

Plants to Try:

’Pardon My Cerise’ (pictured), ‘Jacob Kline’, ’Leading Lady Orchid’

Learn more about growing bee balm.

Rainbow Rhythm ‘Ruby Spider’. Photo by Proven Winners.

DAYLILY

Whether you are a serious collector of the many flower forms of daylily (Hemerocallis spp.) or simply love the showy trumpet-shaped blooms that ignite the summer garden in a kaleidoscope of colors, the hummingbirds will thank you for including them. There are tall varieties suitable for the back of the border or compact forms to line a pathway, including some that repeat bloom during the season and others that are fragrant. Each flower may only last for a single day, but they are borne in large numbers over many weeks.

Zones:

3-9

Height/Spread:

1 to 6 feet tall and 1-1/2 to 2 feet wide

Plants to Try:

Rainbow Rhythm® ‘Ruby Spider’ (pictured), Rainbow Rhythm® ‘Tiger Swirl’, 'Flasher'.

Learn more about growing daylilies.

Mango Tango. Photo by Proven Winners.

ANISE HYSSOP, HUMMINGBIRD MINT

Aromatic, drought tolerant, deer-resistant, and rabbit-resistant, the hyssop (Agastache ssp.) genus is an outstanding collection of herbaceous perennials which deserves a place in your sunny garden. Compact varieties work well in containers and hanging baskets, while mid-sized and taller selections mingle well with grasses and coneflowers in naturalistic, prairie-style designs that attract hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees. Flower colors include shades of red, orange, yellow, blue, and pink.

Avoid over watering, heavy mulches, and saturated winter soils for the best success. Taller varieties may need staking, and removing spent flower stalks will encourage more blooms. Hardiness varies with variety.

Zones:

5-9

Height/Spread:

8 to 54 inches tall and 8 to 30 inches to wide

Plants to Try:

Mango Tango (pictured), ‘Apache Sunset’, ‘Kudos Mandarin’

Opening Act Pink-a-Dot phlox. Photo by Proven Winners.

GARDEN PHLOX

A classic cottage garden perennial, garden phlox (Phlox paniculata) is also a favorite of hummingbirds. The tall stems of fragrant flowers are popular with florists, while more compact selections ensure they can be enjoyed even as a container plant. Divide clumps every few years to maintain vigor, and look for mildew-resistant varieties if that is a problem in your area.

Zones:

4-8

Height/Spread:

12 to 48 inches tall and 12 to 36 inches wide

Plants to Try:

’Opening Act Pink-a-Dot’ (pictured), ‘Starfire’, Pink Flame®, David

Read more about how to grow phlox.

Floristan Violet liatris. Photo by Walters Gardens Inc.

BLAZING STAR, GAYFEATHER

Bottle-brush flowers in violet or white are the hallmark of this popular perennial, their dramatic vertical form a welcome change from the more typical daisy shapes of the late summer border. The finely textured grassy foliage is ornamental in its own right, again providing contrast to broader leaves.

Blazing Star (Liatris spicata) is a popular addition to sunny beds that receive regular summer water, it makes a good cut flower and is deer-resistant. Hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees all enjoy the blooms.

Zones:

3-9

Height/Spread:

24 to 30 inches tall and 6 to 12 inches wide.

Plants to Try:

‘Floristan Violet’, ’Kobold’

Read more about growing liatris.

Fan Scarlet cardinal flower. Photo by Proven Winners

CARDINAL FLOWER

Cardinal flower (Lobelia spp.) is a moisture-loving perennial that thrives in full sun (in northern climates) or partial shade and is both deer and rabbit-resistant. Hummingbirds will fight over the tubular scarlet flowers which look especially dramatic on selections that have dark foliage. Varieties are available with flowers in shades of red, pink, and also white, all of which also attract butterflies.

Consider including these herbaceous perennials in rain gardens, streamside plantings, or moist woodland gardens, as well as irrigated landscape borders.

Zones:

3-9

Height/Spread:

2 to 4 feet tall and 1 to 2 feet wide

Plants to Try:

Fan® Scarlet (pictured), Starship Deep Rose

Raspberry Splash. Photo by Proven Winners

LUNGWORT

Be sure to plant several clumps of lungwort (Pulmonaria spp.) where you can see them from indoors, as they will be one of the earliest perennials to offer a reliable source of nectar for your hummingbirds in spring. Sturdy stems hold the small clusters of white, pink, or blue flowers high above the silver spotted leaves and are easy to cut for a diminutive windowsill posy.

After blooming, older varieties benefit from a quick shearing, ensuring that the hosta-like foliage comes back mildew-free and will look fabulous until it dies to the ground in late fall. Although recommended for shade gardens, lungwort also does surprisingly well in more sun, providing the soil is moisture retentive.

Zones:

3-8

Height/Spread:

8 to 12 inches tall and 15 to 18 inches wide.

Plants to Try:

Raspberry Splash (pictured), ‘Mrs. Moon’, ‘Diana Clare’.

Cape Fuchsia. Photo by: Sundry Photography / Shutterstock.

CAPE FUCHSIA

While deer may not be interested in these woody perennials, hummingbirds will flock to the tubular blooms of cape fuchsia (Phygelius ssp.). These grow well in average garden soil, are semi-evergreen in milder climates, and reasonably drought tolerant once established. In colder climates, they make excellent additions to seasonal container gardens.

The elongated, trumpet-shaped flowers come in a range of colors from hot pink, vivid orange, and salmon, to creamy yellow and pure white.

Zones:

7-9

Height/Spread:

2 to 3 feet tall and 1-1/2 to 2 feet wide

Plants to Try:

‘Moonraker’, ‘Sunshine’, ‘Magenta’

What about using hummingbird feeders?

Many homeowners use feeders filled with sugar solution to encourage hummingbirds to visit, but the sugary drink also attracts ants, bees, and wasps. And, in warm conditions the solution can quickly become cloudy with bacteria which is harmful or even fatal to the birds. Rather than using feeders, consider adding some of these plants to your landscape or containers.

RELATED:
Hummingbird Haven
Best Flowering Shrubs

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