Photo by Charlesjsharp
Hummingbirds zip and fly through the air, looking for a tasty treat to snack on. Planting perennial plants in your landscape can provide season-long feeding stations for hummingbirds as they migrate.
Found only in the Americas, hummingbirds are attracted to the red and orange flowers but have been known to feed on other colored flowers. They also tend to prefer flowers that are trumpet shaped. Their small, narrow beaks make it easier for the birds to reach the nectar, while deterring other insect and bird pollinators.
Coral Bells - Heuchera spp.
Coral bells come in a multitude of colors, from green to orange to dark purple leaves. There's a coral bell for every purpose. Best planted in full to partial sun, coral bells bloom in the spring, with bell-shaped flowers ranging in color from creamy white to bright pink that are perfect for hummingbirds to feed on. They are best planted in zones 4-9. Try cultivars 'Berry Smoothie', 'Autumn Leaves', 'Paris', or 'Cherry Cola' for their reddish-pink flowers and fascinating foliage colors.
Penstemon - Penstemon spp.
Blooming in late spring, penstemon flowers also have that ideal trumpet-like shape flower. Ideal for zones 3-9, the pale pink and white flowers may not seem like the typical hummingbird flowers, but the birds disagree. Try the cultivar 'Dark Towers' for dark foliage and pink flowers, or 'Husker Red' for red stems and more cream colored flowers.
Bee Balm - Monarda didyma
A clump forming perennial, bee balm makes the perfect stop for hungry hummingbirds. With flower colors ranging from bright red to electric purple, bee balm flowers in the late summer and early fall. Use it en masse for a spectacular color display, and watch as the hummingbirds come flocking to your yard. Try 'Jacob Kline' for a bright red flower, 'Purple Rooster' for an electric purple, or 'Petite Wonder' for a shorter version with pink flowers.
Weigela - Weigela florida
Unlike the previous flowers, weigela is a shrub standing between 3-5 feet tall with trumpet-like flowers ranging in color from a clean white to a bright red. Best adapted to zones 3-8, the colorful flower show (and hummingbird buffet!) lasts most of the summer. Try cultivars like 'Red Prince' for a brilliant red flower display, or 'Wine and Roses' for an impressive pop of purple foliage with pink flowers in your landscape. Either way, the hummingbirds will love the buffet you've provided!
Honeysuckle - Lonicera spp.
Honeysuckle is a climbing vine that produces small, trumpet-like flowers in colors ranging from yellow to pink to red. It's a favorite of hummingbirds because of the sweet nectar inside. On top of the beautiful summer flowers, honeysuckle has a sweet scent to it that you can enjoy with the hummingbirds. Provide it a structure to grow on, and watch as the hummingbirds zip around, feeding on the flowers. Planted best in full sun in zones 4-8, honeysuckle will continue to delight both you and the hummingbirds.
Try using any combination of these plants, and other plants that have similar color and flower shapes in your garden to encourage hummingbirds to come and feed in your garden. Providing water sources and perching points for the birds will also help you see hummingbirds all season long.