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Hummingbird Plant List

 This is a list of plants that I grow in my Gardening Zone 8 Southwest Washington State garden that attract hummingbirds. Those that have a (*) by their name are ones that I have personnaly witnessed hummingbirds feeding at in my garden. In addition to these plants, I provide the hummingbirds with a feeder year-round, and shelter plants, mostly arborvitae. Water is something that nature provides for me via rain on plant leaves. Please note that this is not a comprehensive list, but simply a list of plants that I have had personal experience with, that I can confirm will grow in my garden, and several at which I have personally seen the hummingbirds feeding. I will continue to update this list as the season progresses.

 
A few notes about hummingbird food plants:
  • Although hummingbirds are deeply attracted to red-colored plants, they will eat from plants bearing flowers of other colors, especially if it's wintertime and they are hungry.

  • They are attracted to tubular-shaped flowers because their beaks and tongues are constructed to fit in that shape of flower. The tubes can be very tiny to large—it doesn't matter to them.

  • Hummingbirds also eat insects in addition to nectar, which also helps them survive in the winter when nectar plants are more scarce.

  • Hummingbirds are not attracted to the scent of the plant. It's all about the shape of the flower for them. They will eat from scented plants, but it is because the flowers are tubular-shaped.

  • Never use pesticides in a hummingbird garden, or any other bird or butterfly garden. Use IPM, integrated pest management, instead, to avoid using harmful chemicals in your garden.

  • It's a good idea to try to grow plants so that, as much as possible, there are flowers for the hummingbirds year-round. You will want to make a simple list for each month, to ensure that something they like is in bloom each month. This, along with providing shelter and water, will help to entice them to winter over in your garden. I have had hummingbirds winter over for many years at my garden.


Now here's the list:


Shrubs

  • *Viburnum (There are many varieties of this evergreen shrub offering white clusters of flowers. The great thing is that they are in bloom throughout the entire winter and beyond here, providing nectar for the birds when there is not much nectar available from other plant sources. Mine will start blooming even in September, bloom over the winter and stop only in April.)

  • *Ribes sanguineum, common name: Red Flowering Currant (This Northwest native deciduous shrub blooms in March and April brilliant pink clusters of flowers. Spectacular when grouped with spring-blooming bulbs such as hyacinth and narcissus.)

  • Oregon Grape (This Northwest native evergreen shrub has bright yellow flowers in April that hummingbirds like. A plant with many seasons of interest, the foliage changes from dark green to purple, and the deep purple fruit is formed later in the season.)

  • Lilac 'Tinkerbelle' and other varieties (This deciduous shrub with many varieties from which to choose, offer clusters of small tubular-shaped flowers. 'Tinkerbelle' stays short, making it a good choice for smaller gardens, and offers pink flowers. It is, I think, the only lilac that blooms twice a year, in May and again in September. I also have a lavender-colored lilac.)

  • Rhodedendrons and azeleas (Evergreen shrubs with some azeleas being deciduous varieties, with beautiful large tubular-shaped clusters of flowers. I have a dark purple rhodie that blooms in May.)

  • *Buddleja 'Lochinch' and 'Pink Delight', Common name: Butterfly Bush  (This deciduous shrub, which blooms July through October especially if you keep it deadheaded, is a hummingbird favorite. 'Lochinch' stays a bit smaller than some of the others and offers up violet flowers. 'Pink Delight' has pink flowers. Some varieties are on the noxious weed list, so check with the County Extension office for an updated list.)

  • *Glossy Abelia (This evergreen shrub has dark green, small and shiny leaves and clusters of pink-blushed flower clusters. It blooms off and on year-round, but I especially notice it in bloom during the months of July through October.)


Bulbs

  • Grape Hyacinth (These gorgeous purple flower clusters are very low to the ground, but hummingbirds will go after them for their nectar. They bloom March through April.)

  • *Crocosmia 'Lucifer' and 'Walcroy Walberton Yellow' (Many varieties of these tough, drought-tolerant corms. 'Lucifer' offers up red flowers, and I also have an orange one of unknown variety. Very easy to grow--'Lucifer' grows out in the curb strip with no watering outside of rainfall, and does great each year. Hummingbirds love these plants. Blooms July.)

  • Gladiolus (These inexpensive bulbs bloom in August, and come in a wide variety of colors. They are tall, spiky plants that offer up good-sized hummingbird-loving tubular-shaped flowers for them. Some varieties that I grow are 'My Love', which are pink and white, also 'Video', which is pink, and 'Black Beauty', which is a dark burgundy. I also grow puple and yellow ones. Easy to grow.)


Vines

  • *Winter Jasmine (A shrubby vine, it has beautiful golden flowers from January to March. Another great winter-blooming nectar plant.)

Perennials

  • *Coral Bells (Many varieties from which to choose your favorites. I have one that produces tiny pink flowers, and the hummingbirds visit these plants nearly every day that they are in bloom. Can easily be grown in containers as well.)

  • *Centranthus ruber, common name: Jupiter's Beard (This perennial, which reseeds very freely around the garden, has lovely but tiny clusters of bright red flowers. Blooms May through the summer and often into the fall in my garden. The hummingbirds love this flower a lot, and it is very easy to grow.)

  • *Columbine (Many varieties available. I have a lot of purple ones and pink ones, but there are other colors available. These also reseed freely in the garden. They are excellent cut flowers for flower arrangements as well. Blooms in May.)

  • *Verbena bonariensis (This is listed as an herbaceous perennial, and it reseeds very freely (maybe too freely for some) in my garden. It has tall thin stems upon which clusters of tiny purple tubular-shaped flowers wave in the breeze. The hummingbirds really love this flower, as do bees and butterflies. Blooms in June and throughout the summer and into the fall.)

  • *Liatris (This perennial has tallish stems with tiny pink flowers shooting out of the top portion of the stems. There are many varieties of Liatris. Certain varieties of Liatris have been listed as noxious weeds in certain areas of the country, so check with your Cooperative Extension office for the latest list. This one does reseed a lot in my garden, so it can be “obnoxious” for that reason. I simply pull them up where I don't want them, toss them in the trash rather than compost a million more seeds, and let the others bloom away, and that works for me. Hummingbirds, bees and butterflies all love this plant. Blooms June throughout the summer and into fall. Almost too easy to grow this one.)

  • Maltese Cross (This plant has screaming red-orange colored clusters of flowers. Blooms June and July.)

  • *Phygellius 'Sensation' and 'Trewidden Pink', Common name: Cape Fuschia (This semi-woody perennial, 'Sensation' has lovely long deep rose-colored clusters of flowers, and 'Trewidden Pink' has a dusky pink flower. There are many varieties available, some in yellow. In a mild winter, it might keep its leaves. In a cold winter like this last one, it will die all the way back to the ground, and re-emerge from the roots when the weather warms up in May. It typically blooms starting in June and throughout the summer and into fall if kept regularly deadheaded.)

  • Kniphofia uvaria, Common name: Red Hot Poker (This herbaceous perennial, which keeps its foliage throughout the winter in my garden, offers bright orange and red flowers blooming in June and July. I grow my in the curb strip where it gets no water in the summer, and it does great there.)

  • *Delphinium (Many glorious varieties of this lovely flower that comes in shades of blues and purples. I grow them from seed every winter, and plant new ones wherever I have room. They grow tall, and will need to be carefully staked and tied. They bloom at the same time as roses and lilacs in my garden, so May and throughout the summer, and form amazing vignettes together. Another great hummingbird plant as well.)

  • *Foxglove (A great plant, easy to grow, reseeds freely. Mine are in shades of pinks and white. In my garden I grow them in sun and in partial shade, and they do fine. Bloom May throughout October.)


Annuals

  • *Cerinthe major 'Purpurescense' (Technically this is an annual, but it acts like a perennial in my garden because it reseeds very freely. One of the few plants that will bring the color turquoise to your garden via its stems and foliage. The tubular-shaped flowers are purple, for a gorgeous color payoff. In a mild winter, can bloom as early as February, but more normally starts blooming in April and goes off and on throughout the summer. Is gorgeous growing in containers and hanging baskets as well.)



Herbs

  • *Rosemary 'Tuscan Blue' (Gorgeous sky-blue flowers that bloom in the winter heavily, then off and on throughout the rest of the year. Edible leaves are good for flavoring dishes as well. This shrub is in close proximity to a window at our house, and many winter days I have seen the hummingbirds feasting on the flowers.)

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