Attract hummingbirds to your garden

attract hummingbirds, bird photography tips, Calliope or Rufous

Lately, my husband and I have been enjoying watching the antics of our local hummingbird families. It’s gotten ¬†me to thinking about what it takes to attract hummingbirds to a garden in the first place.

Primarily, it is the flowers you plant that will bring those little cuties in. But it certainly doesn’t hurt to hang up some of those red hummingbird feeders which they seem to spot from a mile off!

Here are three short videos I shot last week, while watching them visiting flowers in my garden. The first one shows a Black-chinned hummingbird perched on a branch; the others are of Calliopes.

Before I get into which flowers are their favorites, let’s take a quick look at those hummingbird feeders and what to put in them:

attract hummingbirdsHummingbirds are attracted to the color red which is why most¬†feeders are painted red. This means you don’t need to use food color to dye your syrup red. Food dyes aren’t good for us and they certainly aren’t good for hummingbirds, so skip the dyes.

The standard ratio of water to sugar is 4:1. For example, if you need to make a cup of syrup, you would use one cup of water and 1/4 cup of sugar. I once heard of someone who used a 1:1 ratio and I can’t imagine that is healthy for those awesome little birds.

The other thing you should know about making hummingbird syrup is to avoid the use of honey. That’s because bacteria and fungus will grow in it, which is really harmful to these sweet birds. Cornell University has posted additional information about feeding hummingbirds.

OK, let’s look at some of the best flowers to plant in order to attract hummingbirds. In addition to being attracted to the color red, they also like pink, orange and white. Flowers that are tubular in shape hold nectar which is what gives these amazing birds their energy.

Canna Lily
Sage (annual Salvia)

Beardtongue (Penstemon)
Bee Balm (Monarda)
Cardinal Flower (Lobelia)
Columbine (Aquilegia)
Coral Bells (Heuchera)
Foxglove (Digitalis)
Honeysuckle (Lonicera)
Hummingbird mint (Agastache)
Lupine (Lupinus)
Red Hot Poker (Kniphofia)
Sage (perennial Salvia)
Trumpet Vine (Campsis)

This is by no means an exhaustive list but these are some of their absolute favorites. All of the perennials listed do well in USDA zone 5 or lower.

Have fun attracting hummingbirds to your garden!