Best Plants for Hummingbirds
“The daily hummingbird assaults existence with improbability.”
– Ursula K. Le Guin
Hummingbirds have long been a garden favourite as stunning creatures and helpful pollinators. Their beautiful colours and crazy hovering ability makes them completely captivating. Their wings can beat 50-100 times per second, making them incredibly fast. There and gone in a second, these quick, flitting birds can feel impossible to keep around. Luckily, I’m here to help you attract some of these winged beauties and keep them around. Here are some of the best plants for hummingbirds.
Salvia is a sworn favourite of gardeners for attracting hummingbirds. Some have even nicknamed it Hummingbird Sage. These shorter spikes come covered in tiny blooms in sensational colours. Great in the garden or in a container, salvia is a surefire way to see more hummingbirds hovering around.
Salvia will only tolerate full sunshine to keep their beautiful blooms bright. Beyond their sunshine needs, though, they are really a low-maintenance plant. They are very adaptable to both moist and dry soils, so a little neglect won’t hurt this variety.
Also known as Larkspur, Delphinium is one of the best flowers for hummingbirds. The tall flower spikes give hummingbirds lots of colour to lure them in. This is perfect for the bird that can’t smell very well and uses sight to guide them. While the bright colours draw them in, the 5-8 foot tall buffet of delicious, nectar-filled flowers keeps them around.
Delphinium plants will need lots of sunshine to give them their bright colours. Planting in full sun is a must. Plant them a foot apart to give them plenty of space to grow and keep the soil evenly moist. If you notice your stalks drooping slightly, you may need to plant a stake to help keep your flowers upright and luring in hummingbirds.
Penstemon is another tall, spiking flower that is sure to bring hummingbirds to your garden. Covered in small, tubular flowers – a favourite of hummingbirds for their plentiful nectar – these plants can grow over 2 feet tall, making them easy for hummingbirds to spot. Their low-maintenance care and plentiful colour options also make them a treat for us, too.
Penstemon, also known as Beardtongue, can grow anywhere from full sun to partial shade. They are drought tolerant and even prefer slightly dry soil, meaning less time spent on watering. Make sure to let the soil dry out before another shower, as these plants have been known to die off in standing water. Spend some time neglecting them, though, and you’ll have beautiful blooms to bring in the birds all summer.
Bee Balm, or Monarda, offers gorgeous flowers that look like little pincushions. Their hues of red – a hummingbird’s favourite colour – makes them perfect for drawing them in. A favourite for many winged warriors, you may also notice a few more bees and butterflies in the garden. A mounding variety, this plant is also sure to fill out your garden with its self-seeding and spreading abilities.
Plant your Bee Balms in full to partial sun about 2 feet from each other. They spread quickly, so keep an eye on your new plants to keep them from going anywhere you wouldn’t want them. They are quite adaptable to many watering habits, but I recommend regular watering to keep them happy (and bringing in more hummingbirds).
As quick as they are, hummingbirds are hard to keep around. You can keep them coming back for more with their favourite nectars always on-tap in your yard. Keep them fed with plenty of hovering space and you’ll be sure to have hummingbirds a-plenty all season long!