How to Attract Hummingbirds to Your Garden

There is nothing quite like the sight of hummingbirds around a feeder, fluttering their wings the way only hummingbirds seem to do. For me, it is sort of a sign that summer is really in full steam.  If you want to attract hummingbirds to your garden, there are a few things that you should keep in mind when planting. The right type of flowers and color are the key to attracting these beauties.

Put these 10 tips to use to attract hummingbirds to your yard and keep them coming back.

Plants and Color are the Key if you want to Attract Hummingbirds.

Hummingbirds are the among the smallest of all birds. They weigh less than one ounce and most measure only about 3 inches long.  Their quick movements make them fascinating to watch and most gardeners love to catch a glimpse of them in their gardens.  These birds can fly in any direction, (even backwards!) and their wings can beat up to 80 beats every second. Hummingbird on a branch

Since they fly so quickly, then can burn up countless calories which means they need to be feeding almost constantly.  This is where we, as gardeners, come in.  We need to make the environment in our yards one which will attract these beauties.

If you want to make this the best hummingbird season ever, be sure to try one or more (or all!) of these tips.

1. Flowers are the key.  

Hummingbirds do not have a great sense of smell, so they rely on their keen eyesight to help them move around to their food sources.  They love the color red, and are especially fond of any color flowers that are tubular shaped. 

A yard that is 1/4 shaded, 1/4 part sun and the rest in the sun is best if you want to them to visit and return.  Most flowers that attract hummingbirds grow best in full sun. There are lots of flowers that hummingbirds love but some of their favorites are:Plants these 14 flowers to attract hummingbirds to your garden.

  • Trumpet honeysuckle
  • Mandevilla
  • Purple Passionflower
  • Trumpet Vines
  • Butterfly bush
  • Foxgloves
  • Red Hot Pokers
  • Verbena
  • Lantana
  • Hosta
  • Impatiens
  • Weigela
  • Shrimp Plant
  • Daylilies

Don’t think just one part of the summer. Try to plant so that you will have a succession of flowers that hummingbirds love, so that you keep them coming all summer long. 

2. Think Natural. 

Hummingbirds not only eat nectar, they also eat some insects. If you use pesticides, you could harm or even kill the birds.   It is best to skip the pesticides and see if the birds take care of the insects for you. Nature is a marvel and usually does a good job of controlling problems if we don’t interfere too much with man made products.There are many bugs that hummingbirds enjoy in their diet

Allowing the hummers to eat bugs naturally also keeps them away from us and our plants!  Some common insects that hummingbirds are known to enjoy the taste of are

  • Beetles
  • Aphids (this will help your roses too!)
  • flying ants
  • Daddy long leg spiders
  • Mosquitoes
  • Mites
  • Flies
  • Leaf Hoppers and 
  • Some types of wasps

3. Have some perches in your garden. 

Just because a hummingbird can fly so quickly, does not mean that he won’t get tired. He needs a place to rest too.  Have some perches nearby, so he can take a break.  There are even specially made hummingbird swings available!  Some feature the color red, but if not, you can tie a red ribbon on them to attract him!Hummingbird perch

4. Hang Feeders. 

You can either make your own hummingbird feeder, or purchase one.  Try to incorporate red into the color of it, even if it is just a red ribbon flapping in the breeze.  If you have a large garden, space the feeders out, so that the males do not fight over one feeder.  A purchased bird feed isn’t a necessity. I’ve seen many DIY bird feeders that would also attract many varieties of birds.Hummingbird feeder

5. Make your own Nectar. 

Hummingbird nectar is so easy to make that there really is no reason to purchase it.  There is some accepted thought that hummers respond better to home made nectar too.  The recipe is:

  • Mix together 1 part sugar and 4 parts water
  • Boil for about 5 minutes
  • Cool and store in the refrigeratorHummingbird nectar is very easy to make. Just combine sugar and water and boil and store in the fridge.

Just put out enough to fill the feeder about 1/2 full.  Hummingbird feeders should be changed frequently, especially in hot weather, when the nectar can go moldy, which the birds do not like. 

Should I use food coloring in my hummingbird nectar?

Also, you will notice that my recipe does not use red food coloring, honey or artificial sweeteners.  All of these are harmful to hummingbirds.  Start feeding in early spring when the hummingbirds start returning from migration.

6. Deadhead your Flowers. 

There is no point in having a garden full of plants that will attract hummingbirds if you don’t deadhead the flowers. Deadheading encourages more blooms. More blooms equals more hummers. Easy! You can even make it easy on yourself, if you plant flowers that don’t need deadheading.Rose bush

7. Retouch your red furniture

It’s all well and good to add red to your garden to tempt the birds, but if the sunlight fades these colors over the years, they won’t do much good in the attracting department.  If the furniture, feeders and other accent pieces get dull, give them a new coat of spray paint to start the cycle of attracting over again.retouch your red garden accents to have the color attractive to hummingbirds

8. Replace old feeders. 

There are so many hummingbird feeders on the market.  If yours is old and worn out, and the color is fading, think about replacing it with a new one. Purchase a durable feeder that is easy to fill and clean, so that you will be sure to do this task every few days.hummingbird feeder

9. Have a water source nearby. 

All birds like a water source and hummers are no exceptions.  Have a bird bath near by, perhaps with a few stacked rocks for a perch.  Or even better, use a hummingbird mister. A mister has pinhole openings and shoots a fine mist into the air.  Hummers will not be able to resist this. They will fly through the mist until soaked and then look for a near by perch to dry off.Be sure to have a water source to attract hummingbirds

10. Be consistent.  Once you have set up your garden to attract hummingbirds, they will return each year, seeking the flowers and feeders that they visited the previous year.  If you stop adding the nectar and forget to have a water source or to deadhead, they will search out a new source of food.  

Keep the attraction going by being consistent in your habits, and ask a friend or neighbor to help out if you must be away for extended periods during critical times.Follow these 10 tips to attract hummingbirds to your garden and this will be the best hummingbird season yet.

If you follow these easy tips to provide for their needs,  you will insure that you will have a constant parade of these colorful, darting friends to your garden, and that they will return year after year.

What have you done in your garden to attract hummingbirds?  Do you have many of them visit?  Please leave your comments below.


Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a small commission from the sale, but the price is the same for you. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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  24 comments for “How to Attract Hummingbirds to Your Garden

  1. 05/16/2016 at 9:45 pm

    I usually fill the feeders once when I first see the birds, then let them dry out, which encourages the Rufous Hummingbirds to keep moving to better ground. After a day or so, I refill the feeders. That gives the much smaller Calliopes freedom to feed without those aggressive ones dive bombing them.

    • Carol
      05/16/2016 at 10:00 pm

      Great idea Jacki. I had not thought of doing that.

      • 05/16/2016 at 10:08 pm

        I know it seems mean, but honestly, those Rufous Hummingbirds are not one I want around all summer. I like the meeker ones better!

        • Carol
          05/16/2016 at 10:28 pm

          I had a lot of them one year but the last few years have not had any, big or small. Same with the bees.

          • 05/16/2016 at 10:42 pm

            That’s a bad sign. I get a few hummers here, nothing like when I lived up north. I would be able to count 40 or more, all waiting for a turn at the feeder, which would have one bird at each perch, and one hovering behind its shoulder. I went through a lot of sugar!

        • Emmy
          06/06/2017 at 8:27 am

          I have done everything that I have read for over 5 years now and I might get 1 visitor foe a few days and now nothing, what else can I do?

          • Carol
            06/06/2017 at 9:40 am

            Hi Emmy, If you do these things and don’t get hummers, it’s likely the area around you that is an issue. My friends live in the country surrounded by trees. We have a similar set up and they get dozens of hummers around their feeders where I get just a few. Urban areas have a harder time attracting them if neighboring homes aren’t doing similar things. Could this be the issue? Carol

  2. 05/17/2016 at 7:10 am

    Great tips, Carol. We have limited luck with hummingbirds. But I do occassionally see one at the feeder. I have it located in a spot where there are lots of monarda, which they seem to like.

  3. lynne
    05/19/2016 at 6:57 pm

    I usually only fill up the feeders at the very beginning of spring. Lots of flowers here that they like.

    • Carol
      05/19/2016 at 9:57 pm

      Flowers are the key for me too Lynne. Carol

  4. 05/20/2016 at 6:07 pm

    I have seen a few hummingbirds so far. We’ve hung a couple feeder up, and I have a couple birdbath. Thanks for sharing your tips!

  5. 06/10/2016 at 1:22 pm

    Great tips! I never thought to paint things red in our yard. We’ve seen a couple hummingbirds in our yard this year. Hopefully we’ll get more!

  6. Leah
    07/16/2016 at 3:04 pm

    I don’t know what is getting to my feeders but overnight a full feeder can be emptied. The plastic flowers keep getting pulled out too. I find them on the ground. Any ideas? I miss the hummers than no longer visit me. How can I bring them back?

    • Carol
      07/16/2016 at 3:17 pm

      Hi Leah. It is hard to say what is getting to the feeders. I have heard that bats, raccoons and opossum will drink hummingbird food. Carol

      • Dawn
        07/12/2017 at 11:18 am

        If you put mint extract on the bee guards, the bees hate the smell and hummers don’t mind. It’s good nourishment for them also.

        • Carol
          07/12/2017 at 11:36 am

          Thanks for the tip Dawn!

  7. 01/07/2017 at 5:09 am

    Useful tips! Great to have this. I don’t have such experience in growing hummingbirds. After reading this, I am going to feed hummingbird. For that, this tips would be applicable.thanks for sharing these tips, wishing to get more from here!

  8. Deb
    03/03/2017 at 2:46 pm

    We have problems with raccoon s getting our feeders. The new neighbor has outside dogs that bark at night, so it’s much better now. I try to take feeders down at night to avoid attracting animals. But you have to get them out early the next morning.

    • Carol
      03/04/2017 at 9:04 am

      I don’t have a problem with raccoons but squirrels are everywhere here.

  9. 08/15/2017 at 3:03 am

    That’s my method too! We have had several hummingbird visits near our deck. Some quite up close.

  10. Mary J Beadles
    08/25/2017 at 1:21 pm

    O my! I need to move one of my feeder to another area since they do fight over the two I have placed in my yard… they are only 2 feet apart. Would it be best to wait until they have flown south for the winter? Or can I move one the the front yard now, since it may be another month before they migrate?

    • Carol
      08/25/2017 at 5:18 pm

      I’m sure it will be fine to move it. They will find it if the colors are right, or nearby plants are attractive. Carol

  11. Heidi
    08/25/2017 at 5:53 pm

    We have several hummingbirds coming all day long for my zinnias! I have nearby mandovillia, red geraniums, bee balm, catmint, coleous, lilies, azaleias , butterfly bushes and lots of strawberries. I have yet to do a feeder but I’ll try that too.

    • Carol
      08/25/2017 at 6:10 pm

      It sounds like a lovely garden Heidi

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