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    What Flowers do Hummingbirds Like?

    Authored by Jodi Helmer

    The average hummingbird might weigh fewer than three grams but these petite pollinators have big appetites.

    Thanks to their high metabolisms, hummingbirds need to eat all day long to survive. In fact, hummingbirds consume up to three times their body weight in nectar every day, visiting as many as 2,000 flowers per day to satisfy their hunger.

    Feeders filled with sugar water are just one source of food for hummingbirds but a garden filled with hummingbird-friendly blooms is also important. Hummingbirds love these brightly-colored, tubular flowers.

    Hummingbird's favorite flowers

    Agastache - Zones 4 to 9

    Agastache is better known as hummingbird mint (or anise hyssop) thanks to the tall spikes of tubular flowers that are filled with nectar. These herbaceous perennials are members of the mint (Lamiaceae) family and their long-blooming spikes of red, orange, blue and purple flowers that are a favorite of hummingbirds.

    Bee Balm - Zones 4 to 9

    Bee balm, also known as wild bergamot, is a perennial native to North America. Bee balm grows up to four feet tall and, in mid-to late summer, the plant bursts into bloom, producing red, pink, purple or white flowers. Hummingbirds are attracted to the nectar-rich blooms. Plant bee balm in a spot with full sun and moist soil.

    Catmint - Zones 4 to 8

    The herbaceous perennial is part of the mint (Lamiaceae) family. Like other mint varieties, catmint is a vigorous spreader and is best planted in containers to keep it from taking over the garden. Catmint is drought tolerant and thrives in full sun. Different varieties offer different foliage and flower colors. Hummingbirds love the clusters of white, pink, violet and lavender-blue flowers that bloom from late spring to early fall, depending on the variety.

    Coral Honeysuckle - Zones 4 to 10

    The fast-growing vine can grow 25 feet long and produces tubular, coral-red flowers. Trumpet honeysuckle can be trained to grow on a fence or trellis or left to spread as a groundcover; it does best in sun to part shade and blooms from spring to fall. In warmer regions, the vines will retain their leaves all winter. Some species of honeysuckle are considered invasive; look for Lonicera sempervirens, which is native to the eastern United States.

    Delphinium - Zones 3 to 7

    Delphinium are  known for their showy blooms. The perennials can grow up to eight feet tall and their stems are covered in blue, pink, white and purple flowers that bloom throughout the summer. With multiple flowers on each stem, delphinium offers enough nectar to feed a lot of hummingbirds. There are more than 300 varieties of delphinium to choose from and all prefer full to partial sun, shelter from strong winds and supports to keep their tall stalks from falling over. 

    Eastern Red Columbine - Zones 3 to 8

    This native columbine species is a perennial that can be found growing wild in open woodlands and clearings (and gardens, too) and produces sparse foliage and spectacular flowers with tubular red flowers that can reach up to two inches long. The flowers on the eastern red columbine, which is also called wild red columbine and Canadian columbine, are an important source of food for hummingbirds and other pollinators.

    Foxglove - Zones 4 to 9

    Most foxglove varieties are biennial, flowering their second season in the garden and then dying. While the plants are short-lived, the flowers are well-loved. Foxglove produce clusters of tubular pink, purple or white flowers with speckled throats filled with sweet nectar that attracts hummingbirds. The plants can grow up to five feet tall and should be staked; choose a location in full sun with moist, well-drained soil.

    Lupine - Zones 4 to 8

    Lupines start flowering early in the spring, providing hummingbirds an important food source before other flowers bloom. Dense clusters of tubular purple, blue, white and pink flowers cover stalks that grow between three and four feet tall. Lupines prefer full sun and moist, slightly acidic soil. Although lupines are considered perennials, they are often grown as annuals in hotter climates.

    Salvia - Zones 3 to 10

    Salvia is a drought-tolerant garden plant that grows well in sun to part shade and produces tubular flowers in several colors, including red, purple and indigo. Most varieties of salvia are annuals but there are perennial options, too. Hummingbirds will happily forage for nectar on all varieties of salvia but California hummingbird sage (Salvia spathacea), a species native to California that produces dark pink flowers from March to May, is a favorite.

    How to create a hummingbird garden

    There are many other varieties of flowers that attract hummingbirds and the more nectar-producing blooms you can provide in the garden, the easier it’ll be for hummingbirds to choose their favorites.

    Planting flowers in clumps will make it easier for hummingbirds to spot the food source but avoid planting too close together; hummingbirds need room to move from flower to flower during their foraging flights.

    Look for flowers that can be grown in sun and shade and include a mix of different heights in the garden from ground cover to tall spikes so hummingbirds can choose their preferred spots to find food. Choose varieties with different bloom times to ensure that your garden provides a source of nectar from spring until fall.

    A diverse garden also provides hummingbirds other essential elements of habitat, including shelter and a safe spot to hide from predators.

    In addition to planting colorful flowers, consider installing a small fountain or bird bath among the blooms. Hummingbirds love water and need a place to bathe and cool off during hot summer days.

    Choosing the right mix of flowers not only creates a colorful garden, it also offers a pollinator paradise where hummingbirds will feel right at home.