Flowers To Attract Hummingbirds

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.


  • Hummingbird feeder
  • or small vial /cordial glass
  • red ribbon
  • sugar and water
  • Hummingbird flowers


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.

  • #1 is the Scarlet Honeysuckle Dropmore (I think that's the name), it's a perennial vine. It flowers from May to Oct.

  • Next is an annual vine, Scarlet Runner Bean. I plant the bean every year, easy to grow, but I have to protect it from the bunnies. You can find this in the nursery dept. with the seed packets. Or just save the dried beans after you've grown your first vine. Plant it the next year, after your frost date (NJ's is May 15th).

  • Another wonderful favorite is Crocosmia. I have the red perennial. It grows 25-30 inches high and blooms in June. The hummer will sit on the arching stem and take in the sweet nectar.

  • Liatris is just another favorite for the little winged spirit. I have the purple Liatris, which grows about 24 inches in a spiked form.

  • Perennial garden phlox will attract, there is a variety of colors and grows about 30 inches.

  • Cardinal flower is also an appetizing perennial treat, the red flowers appear on green spikes at about 24 inches.

  • Perennial butterfly weed is a pretty orange flower, at about 18 inches high (it grows in a somewhat bushy form).

  • Annuals you'd want to plant are nicotiana, lantana, petunia, verbena and zinnia.

  • Butterfly Bush can be part of their diet, but I find the other flowers attract her more. Of course it doesn't hurt having the sweet smelling butterfly bush around, butterflies rarely pass by this one!


By Deb H. from East Brunswick, NJ

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May 8, 20090 found this helpful

I share your love of hummers but not your climate or green thumb! It's very cold here at night and many of my favorites (and theirs) won't tolerate it. I've found that the catmint is a hardy little plant and the hummers here love it. It doesn't have any red on it but it must smell because they swarm all over it. Thanks for beautiful pictures and useful info.

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August 4, 20090 found this helpful

Thanks so much for all the info! I will try your advice on the selected flowers. Also I will do the hummingbird food, because it does get costly. I just found a hummingbird, today, in my garage, trying to get out. I have never seen one before in my area and now I am going to recruit them!


Have fun birding. I know I love it!

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