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Potted Plants That Attract Hummingbirds (20 Ideas)

Attracting hummingbirds to your garden or balcony can be a rewarding endeavor, and it’s easier than you might think. By choosing the right potted plants, you can enjoy attractive flowers that not only add beauty to your space, but also help to feed these fascinating little birds. Whether you have a sprawling garden or a modest balcony, incorporating containers filled with nectar-rich flowers provides the perfect lure for hummingbirds.

Key Takeaways

  • Opt for brightly colored, tubular flowers in pots to attract hummingbirds.
  • Make sure you choose flowers that produce ample amounts of nectar
  • Complement the allure of plants with other hummingbird attractants like feeders

Benefits of Potted Plants for Attracting Hummingbirds

For those that have very limited planting space, bad soil, or just don’t want to go through the trouble of digging and clearing ground space for beds – growing in pots can be a much easier option. Pots require less space than traditional gardens, making them suitable for balconies or small patios. Even in compact living situations, you can still enjoy the company of hummingbirds.

But even if you already have gardens, potted plants can offer many other benefits. They are easy to move so you can try different locations and find the location hummingbirds seem the most plentiful. You can introduce more variety by using different types of soil and grow species that may not otherwise grow very well with the soil in your yard. 

And of course although we are using the word “pot” we really mean any container you choose. Hanging plants and window boxes are also excellent choices. 

Choosing Plant Varieties

When selecting potted plants to attract hummingbirds, focus on the bloom’s color, shape, and the plant’s flowering duration.

Flower Colors and Shapes

  • Colors: Opt for bright red, pink, yellow and orange blooms. These hues are particularly attractive to hummingbirds. 
  • Shapes: Hummingbirds long bill and extendable tongue are perfectly designed to be able to insert into a tube shaped flower, so look for tubular blooms.
  • Flower Accessibility: Consider that hummingbirds will be hovering in the air while feeding. Flowers need to be easily accessible on the exterior of the plant. Unlike other birds that have no problem diving into a shrub and hopping around, hummingbirds won’t go hunting in thick vegetation for blooms. 
  • Nectar: Hummingbirds drink nectar, therefore are only attracted to nectar producing flowers. Not all flowers produce nectar, so make sure you do a little research before making your selection.

Blooming Schedule

Think about the full season of hummingbird feeding where you live. What month do they usually arrive in spring, and what month do they typically leave for the winter? Once you know the timeframe that you can expect the hummingbirds to be spending in your region, you can plan your blooming accordingly. 

If you’re able to get multiple plant varieties, choose options that will bloom at different times. If you only have flowers that bloom in spring, by the middle of summer you’ll have nothing left to attract the hummingbirds. So plan accordingly to make sure you always have something blooming. 

window flowers
Potted window/porch flowers | image via Deposit Photos

20 Potted Plants Hummingbirds Will Love

Here’s a list of 20 flowers that are known to attract hummingbirds and can thrive in pots:

  1. Bee Balm (Monarda didyma): This flower’s bright red, pink, or purple tubular blossoms are a hummingbird favorite. It’s also known for its fragrant foliage and ease of growth in containers.
  2. Zinnia (Zinnia elegans): Zinnias offer a variety of bright colors and are very easy to grow from seed, making them perfect for containers.
  3. Salvia (Salvia spp.): With its long blooming season and tubular flowers, salvia is particularly appealing to hummingbirds. It’s also drought-tolerant once established.
  4. Fuchsia (Fuchsia spp.): The unique, hanging flowers of fuchsia are irresistible to hummingbirds. They thrive in cooler, shaded conditions, making them great for covered patios.
  5. Petunia (Petunia spp.): These prolific bloomers are available in numerous colors and are easy to maintain in pots.
  6. Lantana (Lantana camara): Lantana’s colorful clusters of flowers attract hummingbirds (and butterflies!) and thrive in full sun, making them ideal for sunny balconies.
  7. Geranium (Pelargonium spp.): Although more commonly sought after by butterflies, some hummingbirds also visit geraniums for their flowers.
  8. Impatiens (Impatiens walleriana): Offering a range of colors and thriving in shaded areas, impatiens are great for adding color to less sunny spots.
  9. Columbine (Aquilegia spp.): With their distinctive bell-shaped flowers and long nectar spurs, columbines are a spring favorite for hummingbirds.
  10. Snapdragon (Antirrhinum majus): Snapdragons have tall spikes of brightly colored flowers that hummingbirds love, especially in the early spring and fall.
  11. Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea): The tall and dramatic spikes of tubular flowers make foxglove a striking choice for attracting hummingbirds.
  12. Coral Bells (Heuchera sanguinea): Known for their colorful foliage and delicate flowers on long stems, coral bells work well in shady container gardens.
  13. Morning Glory (Ipomoea spp.): With vibrant, trumpet-shaped flowers, morning glories are excellent for containers where they can climb.
  14. Lobelia (Lobelia erinus): The intense blue flowers of lobelia are excellent for pots and hanging baskets, attracting both hummingbirds and butterflies.
  15. Butterfly Bush (Buddleia davidii): Although typically grown as a shrub, dwarf varieties can be potted and will still attract hummingbirds with their elongated flower spikes.
  16. Penstemon (Penstemon spp.): Known for their tubular flowers and long blooming period, penstemons are a hummingbird magnet.
  17. Nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus): These easy-to-grow flowers offer vibrant splashes of color and their nectar-rich blossoms are favored by hummingbirds.
  18. Trumpet Vine (Campsis radicans): Suitable for large containers, this vigorous climber has trumpet-shaped flowers that are particularly attractive to hummingbirds.
  19. Sweet William (Dianthus barbatus): The dense clusters of flowers produced by Sweet William can attract hummingbirds with their nectar.
  20. Hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis): Large, showy flowers make the tropical hibiscus a favorite. Ensure they have plenty of sun and moisture to thrive in containers.
Potted Flowers on Balcony
Many potted flowers on balcony | image via Deposit Photos

Common Flowers That Won’t Work for Hummingbirds

Choosing the right plants for attracting hummingbirds involves selecting species rich in nectar and easy for these birds to access. Some popular garden plants, though attractive, might not be ideal for hummingbirds due to their flower structure, lack of nectar, or other characteristics. Here are a few common garden plants that are generally not the best choices for attracting hummingbirds:

  1. Tulips (Tulipa spp.): While beautiful, tulips have a flower shape that is not conducive to the feeding style of hummingbirds. Their deep, cup-shaped flowers make it difficult for hummingbirds to reach any nectar they might contain.
  2. Forsythia (Forsythia spp.): This early bloomer adds a splash of yellow to spring gardens but produces no nectar, thus offering little to attract or sustain hummingbirds.
  3. Marigold (Tagetes spp.): Marigolds are popular for their bright, cheerful colors and ease of growing. However, they are not particularly rich in nectar, making them less attractive to hummingbirds.
  4. Pansies (Viola × wittrockiana): Often used for color in cooler months, pansies have shallow flowers that provide minimal nectar, which makes them less appealing to hummingbirds.
  5. Hostas (Hosta spp.): While hostas are great for shade and have striking foliage, their flowers are not particularly rich in nectar and are often overlooked by hummingbirds in favor of more bountiful sources.
  6. Peonies (Paeonia spp.): These lush, ornamental flowers are a garden favorite but do not offer much nectar, making them of little interest to hummingbirds.
  7. Hydrangeas (Hydrangea spp.): Known for their large, dramatic blooms, hydrangeas are not a significant nectar source for hummingbirds. Their flower structure also doesn’t easily accommodate the feeding habits of hummingbirds.
garden feeder hummingbird
Hummingbird feeder in a garden | image by via Deposit Photos

Additional Attractants and Considerations

While potted plants alone can be all you need to attract hummingbirds, incorporating additional elements can enhance your yards appeal. 

Feeding Stations

To supplement the nectar from flowers, you can set up feeding stations with sugar-water feeders. These should have a 4:1 water to sugar ratio and need to be cleaned regularly prevent mold and bacteria growth. Red feeders can be more attractive to hummingbirds but avoid using red dye in the mixture, as it may be harmful to the birds.

Hummingbird Bath

All birds need water, but hummingbirds can be a particular about where they bathe due to their small size. They favor water sources that mimic gentle rain or mist. Unlike larger birds that might enjoy a deeper bird bath for wading and splashing, hummingbirds prefer shallow, moving water. A lightly spraying fountain, mister, dripper, or pump that creates a gentle bubble with shallow water flowing over rocks are options that can cater to their preferences

Predator Prevention

Hummingbirds are preyed upon by cats, larger birds, and sometimes praying mantises. Position your plants and feeders at least 4 feet off the ground, away from surfaces where predators could easily reach them. Consider using bird-safe decals on nearby windows to prevent collisions, which can be fatal to hummingbirds.

Seasonal Changes

Hummingbirds migrate, so adjust your garden practices with the seasons. In spring, set up feeders early to provide food for early arrivals. In late summer and fall, maintain your plants and feeders to fuel the birds’ long migration. During winter, if you reside in an area with a non-migratory hummingbird population, continue providing fresh nectar but monitor for freezing conditions.

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