Plants That Attract Hummingbirds

Add some of these plants your garden, and you won’t need a hummingbird feeder this summer.

By Graham Rice


The spring appearance of returning hummingbirds varies by region. Here in northeastern Pennsylvania, we can expect to see them in early May. Some extra-strength food in the hummingbird feeder helps them recover from their long migration, but later in the growing season, nectar sources in your garden can provide food for hummingbirds.

Butterfly Bush

Buddleja davidii

Butterfly bushes are unbeatable in providing food for hummingbirds, as well as butterflies and a huge range of other insects. Unfortunately, the best-known types, the B. davidii varieties, can be invasive in many areas; check your state’s list of invasive species before planting. If in doubt, choose sterile hybrids such as ‘Miss Ruby’ and Lo & Behold ‘Lilac Chip’ that produce no seed.

‘Miss Ruby’ 5 feet tall by 5 feet wide; ‘Lilac Chip’ 30 inches by 30 inches; hardy to USDA Plant Hardiness Zone 5

Where butterfly bushes are not invasive, choose ‘Butterfly Heaven’ or those such as Peacock (‘Peakeep’) in the English Butterfly Series.

‘Butterfly Heaven’ 6 feet by 6 feet; ‘Peakeep’ 5 feet by 5 feet; Zone 5

Miss Ruby butterfly bush
Lilac Chip butterfly bush
Butterfly Heaven butterfly bush
Peakeep butterfly bush
B. davidii ‘Miss Ruby’
Buddleja Lo & Behold ‘Lilac Chip’
B. davidii ‘Butterfly Heaven’
B. davidii Peacock (‘Peakeep’)