5 Best Plants to Attract Hummingbirds to Your Garden

Hummingbirds Favorite Nectar Filled Plants

Hummingbirds are fun birds to watch.  They hover while drinking from long tubular flowers with their long tongues.  Hummingbirds are very territorial so multiple feeders are required for everyone to get a drink.  As an alternative, you could plant perennials that hummingbirds love and feed them nature’s nectar.

Hummingbirds prefer the nectar of red, orange, and pink flowers but will drink from others. At least nineteen species of plants in the eastern United States are pollinated primarily by the ruby-throated hummingbird, the only hummingbird east of the Mississippi. West of the Mississippi, nineteen species of hummingbirds are regularly seen in the United States.  

Here are our five picks for the best hummingbird-attracting perennials wherever you live.

Butterfly Milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa)

Butterflies are not the only ones attracted to butterfly weed.  Hummingbirds love them, too.  Butterfly weed is native to North America.  It is typically found in dry, rocky, open woods, meadows, prairies, fields, and roadsides.  Butterfly weed has flowers in golden yellow, orange, and red/Burgandy and green leaves.  In addition to butterflies and hummingbirds, butterfly weed attracts bees, moths, and other pollinators.  Deadheading the spent blossoms will make the plant produce more blooms.  Butterfly weed is heat and drought-tolerant and deer and rabbit-resistant.

Zone

Height

Width

Bloom time

Sunlight

3-9

1-2 feet

1-1.5 feet

Spring, Summer

Full Sun

Indian Pink Plant (Spigelia marilandica)

Indian pink plants are native to North America and grow in forests.  They have long red flowers with yellow middles and dark green leaves.  Indian pink likes dappled sunlight, so it is suitable for under trees.  In addition to attracting hummingbirds and pollinator insects with its flowers, the seeds of Indian pink plants attract songbirds.  This plant is very fire resistant.  One note of caution is that all parts of the plant are poisonous.

Zone

Height

Width

Bloom time

Sunlight

5-9

1-2 feet

1.0-1.4 feet

Late Spring, Early Summer

Partial Shade

Trumpet Vine (Campsis radicans)

Trumpet vine from TN Nursery

The trumpet vine is a vigorous woody vine that climbs up structures and other plants.  It has orange tubular flowers and dark green leaves.  Native to the southeastern United States, trumpet vine grows in swamps, forests, and thickets.  It is naturalized in much of the northeastern United States.  Trumpet vines are moderately resistant to deer, drought, and heat.  Expect to prune the vine to keep it in check, or it will outgrow its space.

Zone

Height

Width

Bloom time

Sunlight

4-10

30-40 feet

1-10 feet

June-September

Full Sun, Partial Shade

Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginica)

Virginia bluebells are attractive to hummingbirds despite being blue. The foliage is purple at first before turning bluish-green to grayish-green. The buds are pink and open to reveal blue flowers. Virginia bluebells are native to central Canada and the central and eastern United States. They like floodplain thickets and forests. In addition to hummingbirds, they attract bees and other pollinators. They are also rabbit-resistant.

Zone

Height

Width

Bloom time

Sunlight

3-9

1-2 feet

1-1.5 feet

Spring

Deep Shade, Partial Shade

Red Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis)

The red cardinal flower is native to North America and likes to grow in moist woodlands, wet meadows, and along streams and ponds in the wild.  The leaves are dark, shiny green, and the flowers a brilliant red.   Bees, butterflies, and other pollinators are also attracted to this plant.  The plant is poisonous if eaten in large quantities.

Zone

Height

Width

Bloom time

Sunlight

3-9

4-5 feet

1-2 feet

Late Summer/Early Fall

Partial Shade, Full Sun

Other Ways to Support Hummingbirds

Hummingbirds need water, shelter, and food. They also need nesting material to line their nests.

Water

A bird bath or water fountain will do the trick. Place a brick in a bird bath so the hummingbird can perch and reach the water quickly. Most of the water a hummingbird needs comes from nectar, but they also like a drink from time to time.

Shelter

Hummingbirds like to nest on the tiny limbs of trees and shrubs. They prefer trees with rough bark and lichens to smooth-barked trees. Their nests are the size of a golf ball. They sometimes nest in shrubs that have nectar-bearing flowers. Their nests are usually 5-20 feet in the air with nothing but the tree limb under them.

Nesting Material

Hummingbirds collect spider webs to hold their nests together. The female lines the nest with soft blossoms such as milk thistles and milkweed, and she camouflages the nest with lichens and leaves to hide it from predators.

Hummingbirds prefer long tubular flowers in red, orange, and yellow.  They will sip nectar from other flowers, though.  To attract the birds to your yard, provide water, shelter, nesting material, and nectar.  Natural nectar is much better for hummingbirds than artificial nectar.  Plant different flowers from spring through late fall for the best results.  Butterfly milkweed, Indian pink plant, trumpet vine, Virginia bluebells, and red cardinal flower are good choices to provide nectar to your hummingbirds.

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Spigelia Indian Pink - TN Nursery

Spigelia Indian Pink

Spigelia Indian Pink is a native wildflower beloved for its striking tubular, red-and-yellow flowers, which attract hummingbirds and thrive in shaded woodland gardens. Incorporating landscaping projects offers many benefits, enhancing outdoor spaces' visual aesthetics, ecological diversity, and overall vibrancy. This unique perennial plant presents distinct features that contribute to various aspects of landscape design. Spigelia Indian Pink is a stunning herbaceous perennial native to woodland areas across the inland regions from Texas to Florida and Virginia to Missouri. This wildflower plant has a distinctive flower and is commonly grown in gardens as an ornamental plant. After a closer look at this beautiful flower in the Astrid family, you can easily incorporate it into your landscaping design. The Eye-Catching Beauty Spigelia Indian Pink This wildflower has a stunning look that is easily identifiable. The flowers bud straight out from the top of the stems in an elongated fashion. This bright red or pink bud then sprouts a small, delicate flower at the top. This yellow flower has a star-like shape with six petals. The large, pointed leaves have a dusty green hue. When the plants are in full bloom, usually in May, you can enjoy a sea of green, red, and yellow in your garden. Spigelia Indian Pink is Great For Supporting Wildlife  This plant strongly attracts hummingbirds to its flowers. Hummingbirds are natural pollinators, promoting the health of other plants in your garden. In addition, hummingbirds eat wasps, mosquitoes, aphids, ants, and other pesky insects that you may prefer to keep out of your space. The roots of this lovely plant also dispel several types of worms that could otherwise damage the plants. The Hardiness Of Spigelia Indian Pink While this wildflower plant prefers moist soil, it is hardy enough to withstand drought. When it has adequate moisture, the plant will grow taller and thicker. The dry months of the year stymie growth and often transition into the colder weather season when the plant lies dormant. However, the blooms will return in the spring months. Spigelia Indian Pink grows in clumps up to two feet tall and two feet wide. When planted ornamentally, these plants are often shaped through pruning. Commonly, they are rounded to appear as bushes. However, they can also grow broadly by retaining their free, wildflower look. The plants spread through natural propagation, and you can facilitate growth by planting the cut stems.

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Trumpet Vine - TN Nursery

Trumpet Vine

Trumpet Vine is a vigorous, deciduous woody plant known for its showy, trumpet-shaped orange or red flowers and ability to attract hummingbirds and butterflies. It is a popular choice for covering fences and trellises. When integrated into landscaping projects, it offers many benefits, such as enhancing outdoor spaces' visual allure, ecological diversity, and functionality. This deciduous woody plant presents unique qualities that contribute to various dimensions of landscape design. One of the standout benefits of using it in landscaping is its striking floral display. They have their place in any yard, and some produce stunning flowers that are pretty hard to ignore. Look at the trumpet vine if you've been looking for the right one. Also known as the creeper, these gorgeous plants have a wide range of purposes some may forget. Here's what these unique plants have to offer that you'll be sure to love. The Spectacular Flower Display Of Trumpet Vine They produce a fabulous flower show that begins in May and lasts until about August. As the name suggests, these flowers burst out of the foliage and announce themselves with a dazzling red-orange display that coats almost all of them. No matter where they're growing, they will catch your attention once they're ready to make themselves known. Trumpet Vines Offer Vertical Decor  Finding the right plants for vertical decor can be difficult, and not everyone wants to fill their spaces with hanging plants or pots attached to the wall. This is where they come in. These gorgeous flowers easily climb up vertical decor-like trellises to provide the coverage you're looking for. They are highly durable and will increase, making them the perfect plan for those looking to cover specific areas fast without worrying too much about making mistakes that put them at risk.  Trumpet Vines Offers Erosion Control Planting Trumpet Vine can be an excellent way to reduce soil erosion, especially in sloped areas where you're concerned about the stability of particular objects or other plants. They create networks of roots that keep soil in place. They also offer different benefits for your yard, like attracting essential pollinators such as birds and butterflies and acting as a space where ants can build a habitat. If you want a plant that provides a host of benefits to the surrounding area, consider this one.

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Butterfly Milkweed - TN Nursery

Butterfly Milkweed

Butterfly Milkweed plants are known for vibrant orange flowers, attracting monarchs, and significant ecological benefits, making them a popular choice in landscaping. Beyond its visual appeal, this native North American plant offers numerous advantages to any landscape's overall health and beauty.   Butterfly Milkweed Has Vibrant Fire Orange Blooms The butterfly milkweed instantly captivates with its vibrant hues and delicate beauty. Also known as Asclepias tuberosa, this wildflower can be found in various prairies and grasslands throughout the United States and parts of Florida. Are you ready to transform your garden with this stunning flower, sure to become the crown jewel of your collection? Butterfly Milkweed Is Sure To Dazzle The charm of this plant lies in its dazzling array of bright colors. Fiery oranges are punctuated with bursts of sunny yellows that grow in small groups. The blossoms are supported by hearty green stems and thin, pointed leaves that ensure the flowers themselves take center stage. Though it may be in full bloom during spring and summer, this plant continues to enchant with its enduring beauty well through the fall. Because it is a resilient, robust plant, it makes an excellent choice for both seasoned gardeners expanding their collection and new green thumbs embarking on their horticultural journeys. Create Your Butterfly Garden With Butterfly Milkweed Is it any surprise butterflies are part of this wildflower's name? These plants are rich in nectar, which attracts many butterflies to the landscape. You can create your sanctuary with these adorable flowers that invite dozens of fluttering visitors to your lawn. The true beauty of this plant lies in how it harmonizes with the natural world around it. The fluttering friends it attracts go on to pollinate other flowers and support a healthy, happy ecosystem for everyone to enjoy. No matter where they are planted, these flowers create a ripple effect that nourishes the spirit of their beholder and the more fantastic world around them. Plant Butterfly Milkweed alongside others like the purple coneflower, black-eyed susan, and bee balm to enhance your garden's allure for butterflies, hummingbirds, and other pollinators. No matter where it is planted, this beautiful wildflower shimmers like a gem and adds an unmistakable beauty to the landscape. With irresistible colors, unwavering resilience, and a lovely connection to nature, it's no wonder that so many gardeners are instantly charmed by the brilliance of these wildflowers.

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Virginia Bluebell - TN Nursery

Virginia Bluebell

Virginia Bluebell is a spring-blooming wildflower native to the United States recognized for its delicate, bell-shaped, sky-blue flowers forming clusters and carpeting the forest floor in early spring. It is a captivating perennial plant that offers numerous benefits when incorporated into landscaping designs. Its enchanting appearance and adaptability have made it a favorite among gardeners and landscapers. Virginia Bluebell produces Sky sky-blue bell-shaped flowers These flowers start as shades of pink and gradually transition to a soothing sky-blue hue, creating a stunning gradient effect that adds a touch of elegance to any landscape. The lush green foliage further complements the vibrant blooms, enhancing the overall visual impact. Besides its visual appeal, it is positively adjustable to various soil types, making it a perfect option for landscaping projects in multiple environments. Its preference for partially shaded to fully shaded areas makes it ideal for underplanting trees or placing them along the edges of woodland gardens. This versatility allows landscapers to create visually appealing designs catering to light conditions. Another benefit of incorporating them is their role in supporting local ecosystems. These plants are attractive to pollinators such as bees and butterflies, making them valuable contributors to biodiversity. By attracting these pollinators, they aid in reproducing nearby plants and promote a healthier ecosystem within the landscape. They also require little maintenance, making them appealing to amateur and experienced gardeners. Once established, they require minimal care, allowing landscapers to focus on other design aspects. In conclusion, perennial plants offer a range of benefits that enhance the overall appeal and ecological value of landscaping projects. With their captivating appearance, adaptability to various environments, support for local wildlife, and low maintenance needs, these perennial plants are a valuable addition to any landscape design seeking a harmonious blend of beauty and functionality. Virginia Bluebell Is Known For Its Beauty  The Virginia Bluebell, or Mertensia virginica, is a stunning and delicate native wildflower that graces eastern North America's woodlands and meadows. This perennial plant, belonging to the Boraginaceae family, is renowned for its enchanting beauty and is often considered one of the most striking spring wildflowers in its native range. Standing at heights 1 to 2.5 feet, the wildflower is a herbaceous plant that emerges from the forest floor early to mid-spring. Its growth cycle is a true spectacle as it undergoes a remarkable transformation. Initially, the plant's lance-shaped leaves are tinged with an attractive reddish-purple hue, but as they unfurl, they transition to a soft, gray-green color, creating a stunning contrast with its vibrant blue flowers. The Virginia Bluebell Has Mesmerizing Fairy-Like Flowers The flowers themselves are the main attraction of the plant. They are composed of clusters of pendulous, trumpet-shaped blooms that are a breathtaking shade of sky blue or pale pink, depending on the soil conditions. These blossoms are unique because they start as pink buds, gradually shifting to their iconic blue hue as they mature. The floral clusters adorn the plant's upright stems, creating a sea of blue that sways gently in the spring breeze. One of their most remarkable aspects is their ability to thrive in shaded woodland areas. They are often found in the dappled sunlight beneath deciduous trees, creating a serene and ethereal ambiance in these natural settings. Their preference for moist, rich soils ensures they are frequently spotted along stream banks and low-lying areas. Aside from its visual appeal, it plays an essential ecological role. They provide nectar for early-emerging pollinators like bees and butterflies, helping to kickstart the pollination process for various plants in their ecosystem. In conclusion, the Virginia Bluebell symbolizes grace and fleeting beauty in the natural world. Its striking blue flowers and unique life cycle make it a beloved harbinger of spring, enriching the landscapes it graces and captivating all who have the privilege to witness its brief but glorious bloom.

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Cardinal Flower - TN Nursery

Cardinal Flower

The Red Cardinal Flower has vibrant red blooms and tall, erect stalks. It adds color and elegance to gardens, parks, and various outdoor spaces. Beyond its aesthetic appeal, it offers several advantages, making it a popular choice for landscapers and gardeners. The scarlet-hued Lobelia cardinalis is a perennial in the bellflower family. Its tall, nectar-filled bloom spikes attract hummingbirds and create a beautiful display in your garden. The plant's common name refers to the red robes a Roman Catholic cardinal wears.     Natural Habitat Of The Cardinal Flower Lobelia is native to the North and South American continents and blooms from July through September. This moisture-loving plant grows on stream banks and in low woods, marshes, and meadows across the United States. If you want to create a handsome show in your garden, Lobelia will surely delight. The plant's fiery spires yield brilliant red blooms that open gradually from the bottom to the top of their racemes. Each long, narrow, tube-shaped blossom has two flat upper petals and three lower petals at the tips. The delicate plant crown leafy 2’-4' stems, covered with shiny, lance-shaped, bright green leaves that sometimes have a bronze or reddish tint. The leaves alternate as they climb the stems, enhancing the blooms to create a lively riot of color. Cardinal Flower is a favorite of gardeners who love adding bold splashes of crimson. This plant is perfect for shady woodland plots, wet meadow plantings, water gardens, pollinator gardens, and rain gardens. Its long stems can add height to borders and create depth when placed in the back sections of your landscape. The blossoms are most spectacular from midsummer into fall and make excellent cut blooms. Ecology Of The Cardinal Flower Some people say Lobelia will bring hummingbirds in from the sky. The plant's blooming period coincides with the late-summer migration of ruby-throated hummingbirds traveling south to Mexico. The birds pollinate the plant by dipping their beaks into the plants' long, red tubes. The blossoms are also beautiful to swallowtail butterflies and bees, making them a wonderful centerpiece in a pollinator garden. Cardinal Flower Is A Bold Statement In Any Garden  When you want to make a bold, beautiful statement in your garden, include the Cardinal Flower in your plan and celebrate the summer season.

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