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Attracting Hummingbirds

Hummingbirds are colorful little visitors. Whether you want to attract them with feeders or the plants in your yard, attracting them is quite easy. This is a guide about attracting hummingbirds.


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By 4 found this helpful
March 6, 2008

One of the greatest joys of having a flower garden is watching the hummingbirds dart from flower to flower-wings buzzing away while their tiny bodies hover in mid air. Late winter signals the start of the hummingbird migration as they head back to their breeding grounds in the United States and Canada. The males will return first, with the females arriving a few days behind them. Here are some tips for attracting hummers to your garden this year.

Humming Birds Facts

Plants That Attract Hummingbirds

Hummingbirds play a vital role in garden ecology. Because of their fast metabolism (some say 100 times faster than an elephant) they need to eat constantly. As they fly from to flower to flower to feed, they pollinate the plants. In fact, without the hummingbirds help, some flowers would be incapable of reproducing. Here is a list of flowers and plants that most hummingbirds find irresistible:

Trees & Shrubs

Abelia, Azalea, Bottle Brush, Butterfly Bush (Buddleia), Cape Honeysuckle, Catoneaster, Hibiscus, Flame Acanthus, Flowering Current, Flowering Quince, Lantana, Lilac, Manzanita, Mimosa, Red Buckeye, Tree Tobacco, Turk's Cap, Weigela.


Bougainvillea, Coral Honeysuckle, Cypress Vine, Morning Glory, Rosary Vines, Scarlet Runner Bean, Trumpet Creeper, Trumpet Vines.


Perennials: Bee Balm (Monarda), Canna, Cardinal Flower, Columbine, Coral Bells, Gladiolus, Four-O-Clocks, Foxglove, Iris, Hosta, Hummingbird Mint (Agastache), Little Cigar, Lupine, Penstemon, Yucca

Annuals: Beard tongue, Firespike, Fuchsia, Impatiens, Jacobiana, Jewelweed, Nasturtium, Petunia, Salvia, Shrimp Plant, Spider Flower, Zinnia.

Hummingbird Feeders

Many gardeners choose to supplement the diets of neighborhood hummingbirds by offering them sweetened water from a feeder. Feeders are widely available at discount stores and garden centers. Most common are the plastic inverted bottle-style feeders and basin feeders. When selecting a feeder, look for one that is easy to clean and maintain, and preferably, one that offers perches. Despite their underdeveloped feet, hummingbirds will gladly take advantage of a chance to rest while they feed (and you'll get some great pictures). Use hot water to rinse the feeder every time you refill it. Periodically, (maybe once a month) soak the feeder for two hours in _ cup bleach and one gallon of water. Rinse well and refill with syrup.

Ideally, feeders should be hung near windows-close enough to watch the action. Cutouts of predatory birds or partially closed vertical blinds will prevent bird strikes on windows, although that seldom seems to be a concern with hummingbirds. It isn't uncommon for hungry hummers to empty feeders quickly so check them daily. Also, be aware that in some areas (parts of the southwest), sugar loving bats also like hummingbird feeders and may empty them overnight. These bats are important pollinators to desert plants, so don't harm them, just bring your feeder indoors for the night.

Recipe for artificial nectar:

Boiling this syrup is not necessary. Fermentation problems are caused by organisms on the bird's own beaks, not by the water. Unused syrup can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Syrup will spoil quickly in warm weather so discard any unused portions after a few days and refill with fresh syrup.


Do not use Jell-O, honey, brown sugar, or fruit in your feeder. These can harm, and in some cases even kill hummingbirds. Do not use distilled water (it lacks important trace minerals) or red dye to color the water in your feeder (the base of most feeders are colored and if not, hummingbirds are smart enough to figure it out anyway).

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By 2 found this helpful
May 7, 2009

When I put up my first hummingbird feeder, I didn't think I would be lucky enough to attract them. My husband and I were sitting on our patio, and as he was saying "I don't think we'll get a hummingbird here, we're in the middle of a development", a Ruby Throated Hummingbird comes swooping down to take a drink of nectar from the feeder I had hung. That was 14 years ago, and they are still a joy to watch.

Over the years, as my garden grew, I added more and more plants for my little visitors. One day a hummer flew over to the feeder, but then saw the Scarlet Runner Bean, a few feet away and quickly decided she liked the real thing much better. Once I saw her preference, I took the feeder down. My garden is filled with sweet delights for her to choose from. Hopefully I can help you attract these little marvels to your backyard. By feeder or flowers, you'll enjoy the company.



You can buy a feeder or you can use a small glass. My mom had used a small cordial glass, wrapped a copper wire around the glass and it's handle, so it would hang at an angle. She put a red fabric ribbon on the handle. Hummingbirds are attracted to red, and can see red a half mile away.

You don't have to buy the nectar, it's very easy to make. 1 part sugar to 4 parts water. Boil 1 cup of water, stir in 1/4 cup of sugar until dissolved. Let cool. Pour half of your mixture into feeder, store the rest in the frig.

You'll need to clean the feeder every 3 days to avoid any fungus or bacteria, it could kill the birds. (I used vinegar to clean it) Hang the feeder for good viewing, but not too close to where you might be sitting. 15 feet away is good.

For attracting the hummers with flowers:
(These are the flowers I found to be their favorites in my garden in New Jersey.)There are many more flowers that attract the hummingbird. I find these to be their favorites. Although they are attracted to red, they do go to other colors.


By Deb H. from East Brunswick, NJ

Comment Was this helpful? 2

August 29, 2011

For the first time, I have hummingbirds in my yard. For the first time, I grew salvia coccinea, and the hummers love it. I also have petunias, nasturtiums, and some "four o' clocks" that I've heard hummingbirds like, but have never seen them at those flowers.

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By 1 found this helpful
July 7, 2011

Hanging baskets are a great way to attract hummingbirds to your garden. Once they find your flowers, they will return again and again, to dine on them all season long.

Hummingbird Feeding from Flower

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August 16, 2007

I have lots of flowers outdoors, and we usually we get about 1-2 hummingbirds. This week we've counted 4 at one time. I went outdoors with a red shirt on, holding the hummingbird feeder with my arm outstretched. 2 hummers came up, and 1 ate from the feeder as I held it.

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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

April 10, 20121 found this helpful

When are the best times during the year and during the day to put a hummingbird feeder out?

By Elliot M from Cleveland, OH


April 18, 20120 found this helpful

I plan to put out a feeder in about two weeks and I am in east central Indiana. Leave the feeder out until at least two weeks after you see the last hummer. Leave them out all day and night, but do keep them clean and DO NOT USE food coloring. Hummers are curious and they will find the feeder.

Use just plain water and sugar, about 3 to 4 cups of water for each cup of sugar. Hummers like it sweeter, but this mix is better for them. You do not need to buy the mixes, but it must be real sugar as they need it for energy. There are many sites about hummers.

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Share on ThriftyFunCheck out these photos. Click at right to share your own photo in this guide.

By 9 found this helpful
September 10, 2014

Photo Description
I was given this wonderful pass-along plant, Salvia guaranitica. I was told the common name was "Hummingbird Plant" and now I know why! This fabulous and beautiful plant has long, tubular blossoms that attracts hummingbirds. I have thoroughly enjoyed the addition of both plant and hummingbirds in my summer garden. After the initial flush of bloom, I pruned the stems and it flushed again! I would highly recommend this plant for anyone who enjoys nature!

Photo Location
Buford, Georgia

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