Native Plants to Attract Hummingbirds

By Julie Sullivan

To satisfy hummingbirds’ needs, grow nectar-rich, tubular flowers in bright colors, such as orange, pink, or purple, and opt for native perennial herbaceous plants the birds are likely to recognize. So too, group a variety of different flowering plants that will bloom in succession throughout the growing season.

The following plants generally require full sun. They also attract insects the birds need for protein. 

Hummingbirds’ favorite flowering plant species on Long Island:

black cohosh (Actaea racemosa)

milkweed (Asclepias ssp.)

wild colombine (Aquilegia canadensis)

narrow-leaf fireweed (Chamaenerion angustifolium)

white turtlehead (Chelone glabra)

summersweet (Clethra alnifolia)

northern bush honeysuckle (Diervilla lonicera)

common flat-top goldenrod aka goldentop (Euthamia graminifolia)

smooth oxeye (Heliopsis helianthoides)

spotted touch-me-not (Impatiens capensis)

New England blazing star (Liatris scariosa var: Novae-angliae)

Canadian lily (Lilium canadense)

Turk’s cap lily (Lilium superbum)

sea lavender (Limonium carolinianum)

cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis)

great blue lobelia (Lobelia siphilitica)

trumpet honeysuckle vine (Lonicera sempervirens)

scarlet beebaum (Monarda didyma)

wild bergamont (Monarda fistulosa)

dotted horsemint (Monarda punctata)

hairy beardtongue (Penstemon hirsutus)

pale beardtongue (Penstemon pallidus)

pink azalea (Rhododendron periclymenoides)

swamp azalea (Rhododendron viscosum)

goldenrod (Solidago ssp.)

asters (Symphyotrichum ssp.)

Avoid using insecticides or other chemicals, and purchase plants from reliable native plant nurseries to be sure they haven’t been grown with systemic neonicotinoid insecticides, which kill insect pollinators and deter hummingbirds. Some local reliable suppliers include: Northport Native Garden Initiative; Long Island Native Plant Initiative; ReWild LI; KMS Native Plants LLC; Dropseed Native Landscapes L.I.; Quality Parks Native Plants; and Wild Seed Project Maine. Remember to specify the scientific name when purchasing. If possible, request a straight plant, not a ‘cultivar’. Ask too if your supplier will help design your garden.

Be sure to visit NY Flora Atlas for information about the plant’s natural habitat. Also, check out Audubon’s Native Plants for Hummingbirds by Zip Code then enter “Hummingbirds” in Filter by keyword.

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