We love hummingbirds, and they love us back with lots of visits. That's because our gardens are abundant in the tubular-shaped, nectar-rich flowers of sages and companion plants. Almost any sage (Salvia spp.) will attract hummingbirds. However, this list is based on the plants that hummingbirds regularly swarm in our garden and sneak into our greenhouses to sip.
You'll find a wide range of Salvia species and varieties here, especially ones from the Western Hemisphere. Over the years, we have noticed that hummingbirds seem to prefer mint-family plants (Lamiaceae) from the West. This makes sense considering that these flying jewels aren't found in the Eastern Hemisphere; native animals prefer native flora.
Plants and pollinators in a region coevolve to meet each other's needs. For example, the tube-shaped flowers of North and Central American Lamiaceae particularly fit the beaks of hummingbirds living in those areas whereas some South American sages with longer blossoms require the longer beaks of South American hummers for pollination.
North or South, the super-rich nectar of Salvias and other mint-type plants keep tiny wings whirring. Also, insects attracted to their nectar give the birds an added dietary boost of protein.
We have discovered some happy contradictions to the Hemisphere rule. So we include some Eastern Hemisphere plants here that hummingbirds crave, especially ones from South Africa. These include Salvia companions that are also Lamiaceae. Birds in South Africa, with similarly long beaks, go crazy for the nectar in their trumpet-shaped blossoms.
In addition to basing our selections for this list on years of observation, we also listen to what you have to say. Based on customer feedback, all these plants seem to be hummingbird favorites wherever they are grown. But keep in mind that just because a sage is not listed here does not mean it won't attract and nourish hummers.
(Blue Boa Hummingbird Mint) Luxurious deep violet-blue flower spikes held over ultra-green foliage. Unlike any other Agastache varieties, the flower spikes are long, wide and extremely showy.
(Blue Fortune Hummingbird Mint) Lavender is a more accurate description for the flower color of Agastache ‘Blue Fortune’, which has tall spikes of aromatic, fuzzy foliage leading up to clusters of tiny blossoms that shaped like bottlebrushes.
(Morello Anise Hyssop) Pollinators love Agastache ‘Morello’ for its dense spikes of deep burgundy rose flowers filled with rich nectar. Unlike many anise hyssops that prefer dry conditions, this adaptable perennial even thrives in the humid East and Southeast.
(Sonoran Sunset® Anise Hyssop) An abundance of lavender-rose flowers mark Agastache cana 'Sinning' as being unique from the typical purple-flowered plants of its species. Colorado plantsman Duane Sinning discovered this lovely anise hyssop.
(Ava Hybrid Anise Hyssop) Raspberry calyxes support Ava's rosy-pink flowers, which whorl on tall spikes similar to many Salvias. When the blossoms are spent, the calyxes remain colorful. This long-blooming hummingbird magnet is tolerant of cold, heat and drought.
(Kudos Ambrosia Hybrid Anise Hyssop) Dense plumes of flowers are accented by deep green foliage in this heat- and drought-tolerant favorite of pollinators. Kudos Ambrosia is a compact, clumping, semi-dwarf variety. The originator of this plant describes the color as creamy coconut, pale orange and light rose pink.
(Kudos Mandarin Hybrid Anise Hyssop) Dense plumes of creamy orange flowers are accented by deep green foliage in this heat- and drought-tolerant favorite of pollinators. Kudos Mandarin is a compact, clumping, semi-dwarf variety.
(Kudos Red Hybrid Anise Hyssop) Dense plumes of deep red flowers are accented by mid-green foliage in this heat- and drought-tolerant favorite of pollinators. Kudos Red is a compact, clumping, semi-dwarf variety.
(Kudos Yellow Hybrid Anise Hyssop) Flowers by the Sea is one of the first nurseries nationwide to grow Agastache x 'Kudos Yellow'. This is one of the best deep yellow Agastaches we've found, due to its large, dense flower spikes and bushy, upright form.
(Purple Haze Anise Hyssop) Tall spikes of smoky, bluish-purple flowers and fragrant, blue-green foliage make drought-resistant Agastache x ‘Purple Haze’ an elegant choice for low water gardens. Hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees love it.
(Rosie Posie Anise Hyssop) Agastache aren’t known for tidy appearance. But the long blooming, hot pink flowers and dense, fragrant foliage of Agastache x ‘Rosie Posie’ form short, dense mounds ideal for well-behaved borders.
(Orange Texas Firecracker) Hummingbirds and butterflies will thank you with frequent visits if you add this long-blooming plant to your wildlife garden. Its clear, pumpkin-orange trumpet-type flowers with long, narrow petals are wells of delicious nectar.
(Red Texas Firecracker) Hummingbirds and butterflies will thank you with frequent visits if you add this long-blooming plant to your wildlife garden. Its bright red trumpet-type flowers with long, narrow petals are wells of delicious nectar.
(Sacred flower of the Incas) Long reddish blossoms with flared, trumpet-like corollas and bright blue pollen contrast with mid-green foliage in the long-blooming, South American species Cantua buxifolia.
(Sacred flower of the Incas) Instead of red flowers, this variety of Cantua buxifolia features long tubular blossoms that are medium yellow with white, trumpet-like corollas. They hang upside down in clusters of 12 or more from mid-green foliage. This long blooming, water-loving South American shrub is popular with hummingbirds and butterflies.
(Orange Peel Jessamine) Mainly fragrant at night, the orange and yellow flowers of Cestrum 'Orange Peel' are the result of a cross between Night-Blooming Cestrum (C. nocturnum) and Day-Blooming Cestrum (C. diurnum).
Floriferous and heat tolerant, Cuphea 'Strybing Sunset' is a long-blooming addition to wildlife gardens. Similar to Salvias, Cupheas are rich sources of nectar that fuel hummingbird migration. Bees, butterflies and hoverflies are among the other pollinators that love this genus.
(Mexican Loosestrife) The tempting, purple-to-magenta flowers of Cuphea aff. aequipetala attract butterflies, honeybees and hummingbirds as well as gardeners who love color. Abundant blossoms flare into six-petal corollas at the end of long, cylindrical flowers.
(Blackberry Sparkler Cuphea) Who wouldn’t expect the offspring of Firecracker Plant (Cuphea ignea) to be hot orange? But Cuphea ‘Blackberry Sparkler’ has creamy white flowers with a subtle multicolor blush of pastels and blackberry-purple tips.
(Hummingbird’s Lunch Cuphea) The long blooming, tube-like flowers of Cuphea ‘Hummingbird’s Lunch’ are an intense vermillion red shifting into deep yellow. This is one of the hottest looking cultivars of Firecracker Plant (Cuphea ignea) we’ve seen.
(Firecracker Plant) Hot orange, tubular flowers bloom nonstop during the growing season on our variety of Firecracker Plant, which is identical to the plant sold as Vermillionaire® by Proven Winners®. This is an outstanding clone of Cuphea ignea. Hummingbirds adore it.
(Candy Corn Plant) Due to their bright colors and rich nectar, Cupheas are magnets for pollinators, including butterflies, honeybees and hummingbirds. That's certainly true for the orange and yellow, candy-corn colored flowers of Cuphea micropetala.
(Nelson's Bat-Faced Cuphea) A tiny snout-like face emerges at the end of this Cuphea's tubular flower and beneath two red-orange petals shaped like bat ears. "Too cute!" is a typical response to these whimsical flowers that attract butterflies, honeybees and hummingbirds.