Create a garden hummingbirds will love

Even if you think bird-watching is a little lame, there are upsides to having the winged creatures in your yard — I can think of no better reason than the fact that they eat bugs. Although some birds can also be a nuisance since they can make a mess and they may even go after your veggies, hummingbirds are gorgeous, and just buzz around and provide a little outdoor entertainment. Adding a few of their favorite plants to your yard will ensure you have the little birds whizzing around all season.

Hummingbird in butterfly bush

Hummingbirds, like most birds, have little to no sense of smell. They rely purely on sight and instinct to find food. Brightly colored flowers are what catch their eye, which is why most hummingbird feeders are red. While homemade or store-bought food can provide a nice supplement, nectar from actual flowers is more nutritious. The good news is that once the hummingbirds find your yard and the sources of food, they will stick around.

Plants hummingbirds love

Bushes or trees

  • Azalea
  • Butterfly bush (Buddleia)
  • Cape honeysuckle
  • Flame acanthus
  • Flowering quince
  • Lantana
  • Manzanita
  • Mimosa


  • Coral honeysuckle
  • Cypress vine
  • Morning glory
  • Scarlet runner bean
  • Trumpet creeper


  • Bee balm
  • Columbine
  • Coral bells
  • Foxglove
  • Hosta
  • Hummingbird mint
  • Yucca
  • Impatiens
  • Petunia
  • Various salvia varieties

Hummingbird food recipe


  • 1 part white sugar
  • 4 parts pure water


  1. Bring the water to a boil and add sugar. Stir until the sugar dissolves and remove from heat. Let cool completely before adding to a feeder.
  2. Store leftover liquid in the refrigerator.

Hummingbird safety

First and foremost, avoid using pesticides, herbicides or any other chemicals on or near plants that hummingbirds feed on. Even small doses can be toxic to the tiny birds. When making your own food you should only use white sugar, and food should be changed every few days if it is exposed to hot sun (the food can ferment or thicken if left out too long). It’s best to add a small amount to your feeders and refill often.

Do not use food dye and avoid store-bought mixes that include additives or preservatives. The hummingbirds are attracted to the red or other bright colors on the feeders themselves — no need to dye the liquid red. The dye provides no nutritional benefit and can cause health problems.

Hummingbird feeders should be cleaned frequently, as mold can develop rapidly. The best method is to soak them in a mixture of hot water and vinegar. Avoid using soaps or strong cleaning chemicals, as residues can be fatal to the birds. Rinse feeders well after cleaning.

More gardening tips

The best perennials for your garden
Create a pest-free garden
Container gardening


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