Skip to main content

Vibrant and beautiful hummingbird flowers to incorporate into your spring garden

Your guide to choosing the best hummingbird magnets for your garden

There’s nothing quite like waking up to a quiet morning to hear hummingbirds zipping and larking about outside. Besides contributing to the soundscape of a garden, hummingbirds, like bees and butterflies, are also excellent flower pollinators, carrying pollen from one bloom to the next as they feed on nectar with their needle-like beaks. Bonus: They also feed on pests!

Depending on where you live, you may be able to enjoy the presence of hummingbirds year-round. Hummingbirds migrate south when the days get shorter, spending their winters in Mexico and Central America. In the spring and summer, however, they head north to visit most of the United States.

Hummingbird feeding on fuchsia
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Throughout these warmer months, you can make their stay as welcoming as possible. Along with providing food, water, and shelter for these darting darlings, you can also plant nectar-rich flowers in your garden if you want blooms to complement your bird bath or hummingbird feeder. Hummingbirds usually go for bright red or orange flowers, although sometimes they’ll hang around purple and pink ones, too. They typically go for tubular blooms, retrieving nectar with their long, thin bills.

If you’re looking for the best hummingbird flowers to incorporate into your garden, we’ve got you covered with our favorite picks ahead. Remember, if you can, to find cultivars of these flowers native to your region, as this will help you attract native hummingbirds!

Hummingbird feeding on beardtongue flower
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Best for warm climates: Penstemon

Blooming from mid to late summer, penstemon, or beardtongue, is a resilient bloom with showy flower panicles that are great for hummingbirds to access the nectar. It can have up to 24-inch tall flower spikes and works well in hot, dry gardens in climate zones 3 to 9. The beardtongue flower can tolerate temperatures up to 90 degrees Fahrenheit — just make sure to go easy on the watering and give your flowers sandy, well-draining soil.

Hummingbird feeding on red cardinal flower
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Best for cold climates: Cardinal flowers

For those living in cooler climates, cardinal flowers are perfect for attracting hummingbirds. Hardy down to climate zone 2, these blooms feature spires of tubular red flowers that self-seed prolifically. If you bring hummingbirds into the equation, they can spread even further throughout your garden, so keep them in check if they become invasive. If you live in a cold area prone to wind, you want to make sure to stake your flowers. Cardinal flowers also appreciate moist soil and don’t tolerate sitting in a dry growing medium.

Hummingbird feeding on purple salvia flowers
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Best for full-sun conditions: Salvia

Perfect for climate zones 5 through 9, salvia is a go-to hummingbird magnet, and it also happens to be great for full-sun conditions. A part of the Lamiaceae (or mint) family, it features vibrant flower spikes that can bloom throughout the summer. Salvia can be a fast spreader — a hardy contender for hot and dry conditions. The stalks can grow anywhere between 18 inches to 5 feet tall, so choose a suitable variety for where you’re keeping your plant in your garden. Other than attracting hummingbirds and butterflies, they also repel deer and rabbits with their pungent leaves.

Close -p of a fuchsia plant with red and purple flowers
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Best for partial or full-shade conditions: Fuchsia

Even those who don’t get full sun in their gardens can enjoy the presence of zippy hummingbirds. Tender perennials in zones 10 and 11, vibrant fuchsias do best in shady areas where their soil can’t heat up too much — a shady refuge is especially paramount during the hottest days of summer. Fuchsias do have a bit of a reputation for being finicky. Other than protecting them from heat, you want to make sure you never let them sit in wet soil. When their beautiful hanging blossoms open up, pinch them back to keep the flowers coming.

Hummingbird feeding on bee balm
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Best for drought-tolerant gardens: Bee balm

Bee balm is a pollinator magnet through and through — it attracts bees and butterflies, in addition to hummingbirds, with its scarlet, tubular flower heads that thrive in the summertime. Established plants can brave tough drought conditions, but you still want to stick with a consistent watering schedule to prevent issues like powdery mildew and browning, curling foliage. Keep your plant in sandy soil with good drainage.

Rhododendrons growing over a metal fence
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Best perennial shrub: Rhododendron

Flowers come and go throughout the year, but you can enjoy a perennial flowering shrub through all the seasons with rhododendrons. This evergreen plant features dark, leathery leaves year-round, as well as showy clusters of flowers that attract hummingbirds in the spring. Rhododendrons are ideal for climate zones 5 through 8, but make sure to choose a larger, more established plant if you live in a warm region.

Bugleweed close-up
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Best ground cover: Bugleweed

You don’t need to keep your hummingbird magnets enclosed in a garden bed or planter — you can actually attract hummingbirds with a blooming ground cover like carpet bugleweed. Growing about 3 to 6 inches tall and spreading about 1 foot out, this hummingbird flower is great for filling out those tight corners in your garden. Good for climate zones 3 to 9, it typically features glossy foliage and small clusters of purple blooms.

Now that you have an idea of what conditions these common hummingbird-friendly flowers can handle, go ahead and choose one that suits your garden environment. With the help of a small bird bath or feeder, you can greet these lovely creatures when they come out to visit this spring and summer.

Editors' Recommendations

Stacey Nguyen
Stacey's work has appeared on sites such as POPSUGAR, HelloGiggles, Buzzfeed, The Balance, TripSavvy, and more. When she's…
Summertime planting: Caring for your gorgeous, spicy-smelling dianthus
A complete summer care guide for dianthus
Pink and red dianthus flowers with long stems

Dianthus, also called pinks, are beautiful flowers with unique shapes and scents. Although many dianthus flowers are the color pink, their name actually comes from the shape of their petals. People long ago thought the petals looked like they had been cut with pinking shears, which leave a zigzag pattern. When planning your summer garden, whether indoors or out, dianthus should be at the top of your list. These flowers are easy to grow, come in many fun varieties, and will fill your garden or home with color. Here's everything you need to know about dianthus care in summer.

Dianthus varieties
Dianthus is a genus of plants that contains a multitude of flower species, which come in an array of colors and sizes. Some types of dianthus may already be familiar to you. For example, carnations are a type of dianthus, Dianthus caryophyllus to be specific. Sweet William (Dianthus barbatus) is another dianthus species commonly found in gardens.

Read more
Looking for a garden planning app? These 8 will simplify your growing season schedule
Apps that will help your vegetable garden thrive
Apps on a phone

With the arrival of the growing season, you may have big plans for your garden in the coming months. However, you may not know how to make your dream home garden a reality. If that's the case, then a garden planning app may be the solution. There are a multitude of apps available covering topics that range from what to plant to how to lay out a garden.

The best part? Many have low upfront costs, while most are outright free. You may encounter a few that require a subscription fee, but we promise that the convenience and help that they provide are worth the cost. With just a swipe on a touchscreen, you can have a garden planning app guide to help beautify and organize your space.

Read more
When should you fertilize your azaleas? What you need to know
A complete guide to fertilizing azaleas
An azalea bush with pink flowers

Azaleas are a popular flowering shrub, and for good reason! This native flowering shrub is known for its stunning flowers and ability to thrive in acidic soil that many other plants won't grow in. As far as shrubs grow, azaleas have a low-maintenance care routine, but some gardeners struggle with fertilizing them.

If you're wondering when do you fertilize azaleas, then this guide is for you! Figuring out when the best time to fertilize your azaleas is and what kind of fertilizer to get can be a chore. So let us do it for you! In this handy guide, we’ll lay out the factors that go into determining the best time to fertilize your azaleas and include a few tips for picking out a good fertilizer.

Read more