Planting a hummingbird garden is one of the best ways to attract hummingbirds. A hummingbird garden will also benefit other pollinators.
With just a tiny area or some containers, you can grow plants that will attract hummingbirds to your space. Of course, you can make your hummingbird garden larger if you choose.
The article below will tell you everything you need to start a garden, how to choose the best plants, and attract these tiny birds.
Table of Contents
Basic Hummingbird Needs
Hummingbirds need the following
- Food: hummingbird feeders and plants are essential food sources
- Shelter: branches to perch on, leaves to sit under, and protection from predators help the hummers feel safe
- Nesting Material: leaves, twigs, soft leaves, and spider silk are necessary for these little birds to build their nests
- Water: all living creatures need water—hummingbirds included; a birdbath will do the trick
Make sure to include these features in your hummingbird garden plans.
Location, Location, Location
Be sure to place your hummingbird garden away from aggressive bird breeds who may feed on the sugar water or chase the hummingbirds away.
Size doesn’t matter. You can make a hummingbird garden with containers on your patio or a large section of your yard. Use what you have!
From The Ground Up
Before we get to the flowers, consider the quality of your soil. Does it drain well or hold too much moisture? Adding compost and peat moss is always a great place to start. Garden centers also sell soil testing kits if you’d like to be precise.
For container gardens, you’ll need compost and potting soil. Add a few rocks to the bottom of each container to help it drain well.
Whatever you do, avoid insecticides and pesticides. These chemicals harm hummingbirds, butterflies, and other insects who may visit your garden. By growing native plants, you can help your garden flourish without the use of harsh chemicals.
Which Variety Of Hummingbird Is In Your Area?
From South America through to Canada and Alaska, you’ll find over 330 species of hummingbirds. Here are a few of the most frequently seen hummers. Hummingbirds of all varieties migrate and can be spotted in your hummingbird garden year round.
For a detailed migration map by region, check out this Hummingbird Migration for 2022 – Complete Migration Predictions Guide for more information.
Rufous Hummingbirds have orange coloring either on their back or their belly. These hummers enjoy the most colorful, tubular flower. They are found in most US states and winter in Mexico.
The Ruby-Throated Hummingbird enjoys bee balm, cardinal flower, and honeysuckle. Planting these flowers will help attract this green-colored hummingbird. This bird is found in most US states and migrates to southern Mexico or Panama for the winter.
Anna’s Hummingbird is more common in the Western US but has begun expanding to other states. They stay in California year-round, coming to the lower elevations in cold weather. These tiny birds are gray or greenish and can have slightly red coloring on their throat. Anna’s hummingbird most often feeds on fuchsia or salvia. If you see these hummingbirds, be sure to plant those in your hummingbird garden.
If hummers stay in your area year-round, ensure you have flowers available at all times. If not, be sure to find out when these tiny birds pass through or settle in your area, and plan your flowers!
After deciding your location, knowing which birds come to your area, and working with your soil, you’re ready to choose plants for your hummingbird garden!
Hummingbirds are drawn to the color red, so including red flowers is an excellent way to attract hummers. Hummers enjoy most colorful flowers, so you can also include various colors that will attract these birds best.
Consider plants that bloom at different times of the year. For example, if hummers are active in your area year-round, you’ll want to ensure you always have a plant in bloom. Making sure to consider bloom time will make sure the hummingbirds always have flowers to feed on.
Also, check the size of the mature plant and whether the plant needs full sun, partial sun, or shade. All this infomation can be found on the plant tag or the box the seeds come in.
Garden centers also sell plants that are the correct hardiness for your growing zone. If you order plants or seeds online, check which growing zone you’re in so you know which plants will be successful.
Creating variety in your garden plants will help your hummingbird garden be popular. These nectar-rich flowers provide food for the hummers and even butterflies.
So what plants should you consider?
- Aquilegia/Columbine: the native variety is yellow and blooms in early spring; other varieties vary in color and bloom times; part shade; 1-3 feet tall
- Honeysuckle: a vine that likes to climb; yellow tubular flowers; careful when choosing a variety as many can be invasive; full sun to partial shade
- Penstemon: comes in a variety of colorful flowers; native to the US; like full sun and well-drained soil; 1-4 feet tall
- Bee Balm: pink or purple flowers; likes full sun; attracts bees as well; grows 3-4 feet tall.
- Fuchsia: makes a great potted or hanging plant; partial shade; red or pink flowers
- Cardinal Flower: red tubular flowers; native to the Eastern US; likes part shade and moist soil; attracts butterflies and bees as well; grows 1-2 feet tall
- Salvia: one of the most popular hummingbird plants; purple or red; comes in both annual and perennial varieties; 1-5 feet tall depending on which variety
The above perennials are a great addition to any hummingbird garden and will return yearly. Once established, the flower garden will require little maintenance. They are great hummingbird plants and help meet the needs of the hummers.
Many of these plants also attract butterflies, bees, and other pollinators (like this hummingbird moth). You can be sure that this garden will also work as a butterfly garden as well. A recent study in Brazil found that creating garden spaces for hummingbirds helped all pollinators populations in general.
Additional Features To Consider
Including a birdbath for bathing is essential for hummingbirds. If the water is too deep, the hummers won’t be able to use it, so keep the water shallow. Adding beads or marbles to the water will help not only the hummers stay safe but will also benefit other pollinators as well.
Just make sure to keep the birdbath away from as many flowers and feeders as possible. This will help keep bigger birds from chasing the hummingbirds away.
Adding shepherd’s poles or other small places to perch will attract hummers. They like to sit and guard their food sources, so these perches will give them places to do just that.
By planning out your garden design, you’ll be able to create an attractive hummingbird garden. Colorful flowers that provide material for hummingbird nests, a little water, and a few places to perch or hide will attract hummers to your space year after year. A hummingbird garden is a great DIY project for any level of gardener.