Learn how to create a hummingbird paradise in your backyard with the right flowers, feeders, and habitat design.

Hummingbirds are dazzling marvels of nature, known for their vibrant colors and remarkable aerial feats. Wouldn’t you love to invite these captivating visitors into your backyard?

By understanding their preferences for flowers, feeders, and habitat, you can easily transform your outdoor space into a hummingbird paradise.

From tubular blooms to well-placed feeders, learn how to create the perfect environment to attract these delightful creatures right outside your window

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sedum autumn joy, superbells, angelonia and supertunia in late summer with zinnias

Why Hummingbird Gardens Are Worth It

These little creatures bring not only joy and beauty to our outdoor spaces but also provide some incredible benefits to our plants and ecosystem. Here’s why you should plant a hummingbird garden this year.

Hummingbirds as Pollinators: Why They’re Vital for Your Garden

Hummingbirds are nature’s little pollination experts. As they flit from flower to flower, their long beaks and tongues allow them to reach the nectar hidden deep within the blooms.

While they’re feeding, they unintentionally transfer pollen from one flower to another, aiding in cross-pollination. This process is crucial for the reproduction and genetic diversity of many plant species in your garden.

purple coneflowers (echinacea)

Hummingbirds: Natural Pest Control For Your Garden

Hummingbirds are not just pollinators; they also contribute to natural pest control in your garden. While they may be tiny, they have a big appetite for insects, including aphids, gnats, and small spiders.

By snacking on these pests, hummingbirds help keep their populations in check, reducing the need for chemical insecticides and promoting a healthier, more balanced garden ecosystem.

Hummingbirds Bring Joy to Your Backyard

Having hummingbirds in your garden adds an enchanting touch to your outdoor space. They are so fun to watch too. Their vibrant colors, incredible aerial acrobatics, and unique chirping sounds create a captivating atmosphere.

Imagine sitting on your porch or patio, surrounded by blooming flowers, while these gorgeous creatures dart and hover around, bringing life and a sense of harmony to your garden.

close up of lonicera flower
Lonicera Flowers (Honeysuckle)

How to Choose and Arrange the Best Flowers to Attract Hummingbirds

Certain plant species have evolved to develop a unique relationship with hummingbirds. These plants have bright and tubular flowers that perfectly match the birds’ feeding preferences.

Hummingbirds are attracted to nectar-rich flowers, so planting a variety of flowering plants is a great way to attract them.

By attracting hummingbirds, these plants ensure their survival and successful reproduction.

Why Hummingbirds Prefer Tubular Blooms

Hummingbirds are naturally drawn to tubular-shaped blooms because they hold more nectar, providing an abundant food source. Consider planting the following flowers to entice these energetic birds:

  • Bee Balm (Monarda): A perennial favorite with bright colors and a strong scent.
  • Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis): Its vivid red flowers and long blooming season make it irresistible.
  • Fuchsia: With drooping flowers in red, pink, and purple, it’s ideal for hanging baskets.
close up of bee balm (monarda) flowers in the garden - perennial flowers list that bloom in midsummer
Monarda

Using Color to Attract More Hummingbirds

Hummingbirds have a keen eye for bright colors, particularly red, pink, orange, and yellow. Planting a mix of these hues will attract more visitors:

  • Red: Scarlet sage, coral honeysuckle.
  • Pink: Coral bells, zinnias.
  • Orange/Yellow: Trumpet vine, daylilies.

We’ll chat more about what types of flowers hummingbirds love below.

Create Hummingbird Hotspots: The Power of Flower Grouping

Plant flowers in groups of odd numbers to enhance visibility and aesthetic appeal. Create large swathes of blooms in clusters of 3, 5, or 7 to draw attention from hummingbirds flying above.

Gorgeous garden that attracts hummingbirds with buckeye, false indigo and alliums on beautiful sunny day

Design a Hummingbird Garden for Maximum Visits

Dreaming of a garden that’s abuzz with the dazzling flight of hummingbirds? With thoughtful design, you can transform your yard into a hummingbird paradise!

By strategically selecting plants, providing essential resources, and understanding hummingbird preferences, you’ll be well on your way to attracting these tiny jewels and enjoying their antics all season long.

Layering Flowers for Happy Hummingbirds

Layer your garden by combining plants of different heights to offer shade, shelter, and food at varying levels:

  • Ground Level: Salvia, petunias, and columbine.
  • Mid-Level: Penstemon, bee balm, and fuchsia.
  • Tree Canopy: Crabapple, serviceberry, and flowering dogwood.

Add a Focal Point to Attract Hummingbirds

Hummingbird focal points act like magnets, drawing these tiny birds in for closer inspection. While flowers are a natural focal point, consider adding other eye-catching elements to your garden.

A bright red hummingbird feeder strategically placed near blooms creates a double attraction. A small, bubbling fountain or birdbath adds visual interest and provides hummingbirds with a vital water source. Even a colorful gazing ball or vibrant garden statue can become a focal point, encouraging hummingbirds to investigate your carefully designed haven.

Provide Resting Spots for Hummingbirds

Hummingbirds also need a place to rest between feedings, so providing perches such as twigs or branches throughout your garden.

An ornate stone fountain surrounded by a vibrant array of flowers including aromatto basil, dahlias and zinnias in shades of red, pink, and peach, with purple basil in the foreground, set against a backdrop of lush greenery
aromatto basil and fountain in cut flower garden

Water Features for Hummingbirds: Baths, Misters & More

Hummingbirds need water for more than just drinking! Offer a variety of water features to help them bathe and cool off.

Shallow bird baths with gently sloping edges are perfect for tiny feet. Misters create a fine spray they’ll love to fly through on hot days. For a touch of whimsy, try a dripper fountain where water splashes over rocks or leaves, creating a miniature oasis for your feathered friends.

Even providing a shallow dish filled with water can attract hummingbirds to your garden. The birds will use the water for drinking and bathing.

Help Hummingbirds Stay Cool: Provide Shade

Hummingbirds, with their high metabolism and constant activity, can easily overheat – especially on scorching summer days. Offer them shady respites throughout your garden with a mix of tall trees, flowering shrubs, and even strategically placed birdhouses, shade sails or umbrellas.

These cool zones provide shelter from the harsh sun, allowing hummingbirds to rest and recharge before continuing their energetic pursuits.

But they also appreciate having a shaded area in which to rest and hide from predators. You can provide this by planting native shrubs or trees, or by installing a birdhouse.

Consider adding protective cover with the following shrubs or trees:

  • Shrubs: Lilac, butterfly bush, and weigela.
  • Trees: Maple, oak, and cedar.
pink hardy hibiscus in the front yard garden
Hardy Hibiscus

Hummingbird Gardens: Big or Small, They’ll Come

Don’t let a lack of space hold you back! Hummingbirds are surprisingly adaptable and will happily visit gardens of all sizes, from sprawling meadows to tiny balcony planters.

  • Small Spaces: Use hanging baskets, pots, and window boxes filled with bright tubular blooms.
  • Large Gardens: Mix shrubs, perennials, and annuals to create diverse habitats.

Don’t Have Space For a Hummingbird Garden?

No problem! You can garden for hummingbirds in outdoor planters too! Try this container garden idea with hummingbird flowers to help attract more to your garden.

Hummingbird Garden Design Made Simple

Designing a hummingbird garden is a great way to attract these beautiful birds to your yard. Here are some quick design tips to help you create an inviting and functional hummingbird garden.

In my flower gardens, I design in odd-numbered groupings, so depending on the mature size of a plant, I generally plant in 1, 3, 5, 7, or 9’s. In larger gardens, I lean towards 5-7 plants in a grouping to plant en masse so hummingbirds can see the blooms when flying from above.

blazing star, monarda and zinnias close up along a green fence

Easy Hummingbird Flowers for a Low-Maintenance Garden

Want a gorgeous hummingbird garden without constant upkeep? These low-maintenance flowers are a dream come true for both you and your feathered visitors. Packed with nectar and requiring minimal effort, these blooms will keep your garden buzzing with activity all season long.

Easy Sun-Loving Flowers for Hummingbirds

  • Nepeta: Imagine a soft blue cloud billowing in the breeze, dotted with buzzing bees and hovering hummingbirds. Catmint is a fragrant mint that attracts these feathered friends with its long-blooming tubular flowers and easygoing nature, thriving in both sun and partial shade.
  • Petunias: These cheerful splashes of color come in a kaleidoscope of shades, each one an irresistible beacon for hummingbirds. Their trumpet-shaped blooms offer a generous pool of nectar, keeping these tiny acrobats coming back for more throughout the summer.
  • Coneflowers: Tall and proud, these fiery blooms stand like sentinels in your garden, their domed centers overflowing with sweet nectar. Hummingbirds adore coneflower sturdy, long-lasting blooms, and the contrasting colors of red, orange, and purple create a dazzling visual feast.
  • Monarda (Bee Balm): A magnet for pollinators of all kinds, Monarda’s vibrant clusters of tubular flowers burst with honeyed fragrance. Hummingbirds can’t resist their sweet nectar, flitting between shades of crimson, lavender, and pink – a vibrant ballet in your garden.
  • Buckeye Tree: Hummingbirds love a towering treat, and the Buckeye’s showy clusters of scarlet flowers rise high above the rest. Their long, curved tubes offer a deep dive for hungry hummingbirds, while the rich foliage provides a cool retreat on hot days.
  • Hardy Hibiscus: Imagine dinner-plate-sized blooms reaching for the sun, each one a vibrant promise of nectar. Hardy Hibiscus offers a tropical touch to your garden, attracting hummingbirds with its large, trumpet-shaped flowers and endless variety of colors, from delicate pinks to fiery oranges.
  • Lonicera (non-invasive only): For a fragrance that steals the show, non-invasive Lonicera varieties offer a symphony of sweet scents alongside clusters of tubular blooms. Hummingbirds flock to their honeyed nectar while you bask in the intoxicating aroma, creating a multi-sensory garden paradise.
close up of nepeta 'walkers low' - catmint are great flowers for deadheading when the blooms fade
Nepeta ‘Walker’s Low’

Best Shade-Loving Flowers for Attracting Hummingbirds

  • Bottlebrush Buckeye: Not to be outdone by its cousin, the Bottlebrush Buckeye boasts scarlet blossoms in a unique, spiky formation. These dense bundles of nectar-rich tubes are irresistible to hummingbirds, creating a vibrant spectacle as they dart and maneuver through the fiery red brushstrokes.
  • Columbines: These delicate dancers flutter in the breeze, their long spurs and open faces a welcome invitation for hummingbirds. Their colorful petals, in shades of purple, yellow, and white, create a whimsical ballet ground, as these tiny guests dive into the nectar-filled chalices.
  • Rhododendron: Create a shaded haven for hummingbirds with the delicate beauty of Rhododendrons. Their bell-shaped blooms, in shades of white, pink, and purple, offer a hidden treasure trove of nectar, attracting these jewels of the sky while casting cool shade under your trees.
  • Hostas: Hostas are a surprising and delightful addition to a hummingbird garden. Their tall, nectar-rich flower spikes rise above lush foliage, offering a welcome treat for hummingbirds in shady areas. With their diverse colors and textures, hostas add both beauty and a vital food source for these tiny pollinators.
close up of hostas in the shade garden

Attract Even More Hummingbirds with Multiple Feeders

In addition to planting different types of hummingbird flowers, they also appreciate artificial feeders to supplement flower nectar.

Adding a hummingbird feeder as a focal point in your garden can help attract the birds and give them a convenient place to feed.

Fill a hummingbird feeder filled with a solution of four parts water to one part white sugar. Since most supplemental feeders are brightly colored, it is not necessary to add dye to the solution.

Keep in mind that offering a hummingbird feeder is added maintenance because you have to clean the feeder regularly and refill it as needed. It’s really important to keep them free of mold and bacteria so the birds don’t get sick.

While I have a ton of flowers, I do not have hummingbird feeders in my garden and see lots of these beautiful creatures all season long. To me, the feeders aren’t necessary for attracting them if you have an abundance of hummingbird blooms.

Since I love to garden and grow flowers, it’s easier for me to provide more blooms that they enjoy instead of artificial feeders.

Pink rhododendron in zen garden with staddle stone in full bloom
Rhododendron, azalea and mountain laurel flowers

When to Put Out Hummingbird Feeders

If you choose to use hummingbird feeders, the timing for putting them out varies depending on several factors, including:

  • Location: Hummingbirds migrate based on temperature and food availability. Their arrival and departure dates will differ significantly depending on your location. North-south positioning plays a major role, with southern regions seeing earlier arrivals and later departures compared to northern areas.
  • Elevation: Higher elevations experience colder temperatures earlier and retain them longer, so hummingbird arrival will be delayed compared to lower-lying areas in the same region.
  • Local weather: Unusually warm or cold spells can influence hummingbird arrival and departure times. Be observant of your local weather patterns and adjust your feeder deployment accordingly.
  • Hummingbird species: Different hummingbird species have their own migration patterns. If you know the specific species you want to attract, research their specific arrival and departure times for your area.

General Guidelines for Maintaining Hummingbird Feeders

  • Spring: In most areas, late April to early May is the usual timeframe to put out feeders. You can go 1-2 weeks earlier to catch early arrivers.
  • Summer: Keep feeders filled and clean throughout the summer months when hummingbirds are most active.
  • Fall: By early October, most hummingbirds will have migrated south. You can take down your feeders at this point, but consider keeping them up until mid-October for any latecomers.

Other Helpful Resources for Hummingbird Feeders

  • Migration maps: Websites like Journey North (https://maps.journeynorth.org/) provide interactive maps showcasing hummingbird migration patterns across North America.
  • Local birding groups: Connecting with your local Audubon chapter or birding group can offer specific insights about hummingbird sightings and best practices for feeding them in your area.

To me, it’s better to be early than late so that when they do migrate to your locality, they know there’s a food source. Therefore, I recommend putting out your feeders a few weeks before the expected arrival dates to ensure hummingbirds don’t miss out on your sweet nectar offering!

close up of echinacea plants in the garden
Coneflowers

Hummingbird FAQ: Your Guide to Attracting Them

What do hummingbirds eat?

Hummingbirds mostly feed on two things:

  • Nectar: Their main energy source is the sweet liquid found inside flowers.
  • Insects: They love to eat small insects and spiders, which provide them with essential protein.

So it’s important to focus on planting flowers that provide lots of nectar for hummingbirds and create a healthy ecosystem that is free from pesticides.

How do I attract hummingbirds to my garden?

Here are the best ways to entice hummingbirds:

  • Plant hummingbird flowers: Choose blooms in shades of red, orange, pink, and purple. Aim for a variety of flower shapes and sizes.
  • Hummingbird feeders: Supplement natural food sources with feeders filled with a simple sugar-water solution (1 part sugar to 4 parts water) give them an additional food source.
  • Water features: A birdbath or gentle misting fountain help attract thirsty hummingbirds.
  • Perches: Place natural branches or decorative perches near feeding areas for them to rest.
zinias and rudbeckia in the cottage garden in fall
Vibrant pink Zinnias and rudbeckia in flower garden

When should I put out my hummingbird feeder?

It’s a good idea to put your feeders out about a week or two before hummingbirds typically arrive in your area during their spring migration. Check online resources and your local cooperative extension for migration dates in your region.

How often should I clean my hummingbird feeder?

Clean your feeder thoroughly with hot water (no soap) at least twice a week in warm weather and once a week in cooler temperatures. This will help prevent harmful mold and bacteria buildup.

Where should I hang my hummingbird feeder?

Choose a partially shaded spot to help keep the nectar solution fresh. Then place it in an area where you can watch and enjoy the hummingbirds. Make sure you keep them away from predatory cats.

Lush garden display featuring pink snapdragons with delicate white accents surrounded by vibrant pink petunias and deep purple foliage, creating a striking contrast and colorful garden arrangement - close up of snapdragons potomac appleblossom.
Snapdragons Potomac Appleblossom, Supertunia Fuschia and Coleus

What is So Special About Hummingbirds?

Hummingbirds are incredible fliers. Did you know they can fly forward, backward, and upside down? Yes! Hummingbird wings make a unique and zipping-like sound because it beats up to 80x per second!

With several different species of hummingbirds, they need a lot of food to survive. So creating a garden that provides a food source is a huge attraction to the hummingbird.

What Does it Mean When a Hummingbird Visits You?

So there’s lots of symbolism and meaning behind hummingbird visits. Hummingbirds bring joy with good news. They teach us to appreciate the small things and life. And that sometimes, you just have to stop and smell the flowers!

zinnias and dahlias with an 1850 farmhouse

Hummingbird Garden Growing Tips for Gardening Zone 6b

Hummingbirds are such beautiful creatures, aren’t they? I love to watch them zip about among my New Jersey garden flowers.

When I first designed my front yard cottage garden, I researched hummingbird and butterfly-attracting plants so that I could entice lots of pollinators to the yard. Thankfully, there are lots of plants that attract both!

Hummingbird-favorite flowers that do well in Zone 6 include:

  • Zinnias
  • Coneflowers
  • Agastache
  • Hostas
  • Monarda
  • Nepeta
  • Buckeyes
  • and so many more!

I also consider what plants are more deer-resistant than others because they are a real problem in my neck of the woods. While I don’t mind adding plants that have a low deer resistance rating because I spray them with deer repellent, I prefer to focus more on plants that they tend to avoid.

And there are lots of plants that attract hummingbirds that deer prefer not to eat! Check out this post for some deer resistant planting ideas.

close upf of picnic date with friends table decor ideas in outdoor dining space with pink superwave petunias, wicker chairs and buffalo check tablecloth with white deck railing
Picnic Date

More About Creating a Hummingbird Habitat in your Flower Garden

Do you get a lot of hummingbirds to your garden? What are your best tips for attracting them? Do you grow a favorite flower they enjoy? Tell me about it in the comments below.

For more information about hummingbirds in your garden, please see the University of Wisconsin Extension.

To drill down on more beginner gardening techniques and tips, please read these posts:

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please let me know in the comments below. I’d love to hear! And feel free to share this post with anyone you think would find it helpful too.

Thanks for stopping by the blog today!

Enjoy your day! xoxo

Bricksnblooms Stacy Ling logo
Fall garden in front of vintage farmhouse with rudbeckia, hostas, sedum autumn joy and hardy hibiscus on a sunny day
late summer cottage garden in bloom
Home and Garden Blogger Stacy Ling cutting zinnia flowers in her cottage garden with wood picket fence in front of garden shed
close up of lonicera and cut flower garden
lonicera in the potager garden overlooking the front pond
Gardening for Hummingbirds
June Garden Tour (2021)

Since writing this post, we moved. To see my new gardens, check out my easy-care cottage garden tour here and fall garden tour here.

(This tour is from my former home in June 2021)

Since I started blogging and joining Instagram, I’ve met some pretty cool gardeners. We all live in different parts of the United States and Canada, so each of our gardens are totally different.

I’ve learned so much from them and am joining one of my faves, Kim, who gardens in the Pacific Northwest, to bring you a virtual garden tour.

There is much to be learned walking around the garden and I love touring other gardener’s borders.

So follow along with her tour at the end of this post to see her garden – it is amazing!

Gardening For Hummingbirds
Gardening for Hummingbirds
View of the house from the well garden.
Gardening For Hummingbirds

As you walk up the pathway from the driveway, there is an everblooming perennial garden that greets friends, family and visitors.

Right now, the catmint, salvia, aliums, dahlias, pansies, bearded irises, calibroca, zinnias, and euphorbia are all in bloom.

Gardening for Hummingbirds
Gardening for Hummingbirds

While working in this garden, I’ve seen lots of hummingbirds enjoy the catmint.

I have quite a few plants so they stop by often to grab some nectar.

One of which are these pretty dahlias that I picked up at the nursery recently.

I saw them and had to have them!

Gardening for Hummingbirds
Gardening for Hummingbirds

As this garden fills in, I’m realizing how much the coneflowers took over this bed.

I’m going to leave them for now, but will dig and divide them in fall so I can get more variety in this garden.

Gardening for Hummingbirds

The well and cutting garden is doing well.

I added a cutting garden to the well garden a few months ago so I had more room to add cutting flowers for arrangements.

Gardening for Hummingbirds
Gardening for Hummingbirds

The new plants I added are doing really well!

Blooming in this garden now are pincushion flower, lupines, dianthus, bearded irises, calibrocas, and zinnias.

Gardening for Hummingbirds

The peonies are waiting in the wings to start flowering.

In the meantime, the foliage of smoketree and evergreens add to the visual interest in this bed.

Gardening for Hummingbirds
Gardening for Hummingbirds

The mailbox garden is filled with a mix of annuals and perennials.

Jackmanii Clematis is climbing up and around the mailbox.

It also houses daylillies, sedum autumn joy, calibrocas, euphorbia and marigolds.

Gardening for Hummingbirds
Gardening for Hummingbirds
Gardening for Hummingbirds
Spring in the Backyard

As we head into the backyard, I am really loving the garden shed makeover.

The neutral paint colors allow the garden to be the main focus and do not distract the eye from the blooms.

In this garden, the bearded irises, siberian iris, double flowering impatiens, zinnias, marigolds and calibrocas are all blooming.

The vegetable garden sits in front of the garden shed and is currently growing spinach, celery, sweet peas, a few tomato varieties, peppers, cucumbers and zucchini as well as basil, cilantro, parsley, sage, thyme and rosemary.

Gardening for Hummingbirds
Gardening for Hummingbirds
The fire pit is part of the garden shed garden. We sit out here every weekend and enjoy a cozy fire.
Gardening for Hummingbirds

In addition to the backyard borders, I also have lots of container gardens on the backyard deck.

This garden contains a few hummingbird loving plants such as mandevillas, petunias and hibiscus.

This is one of our favorite spots to hang and we are out here all the time.

7 Tips to Get the Best Curb Appeal

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5 Comments

  1. Pingback: My June Cottage Garden - Shiplap and Shells
  2. Your garden is so beautiful Stacy! I love all the different areas you have and how each one has its own character! You are such an inspiration – I’m full of ideas for fixing up my yard this weekend! ????

  3. Your garden is looking so beautiful Stacy! I loved learning more about hummingbirds. We even have the same red bike!

  4. Thanks for this post. My daughter wants some butterfly and humming birds plants and bushes attract them. This will help me help her. We are near you so it makes it exta easy.