The Best Trees, Shrubs, and Perennials for Hummingbird Gardens
Hummingbirds are one of the world’s most magical creatures. From the brightly-colored plumage of the males, and the nearly invisible blur of their rapidly beating wings, to the aerial dance routine of courting couples—these enchanting beauties are quite the spectacle!
If, like us, you could watch these beauties flutter about all day long, then you may want to add these plants to your garden— they will naturally attract them! The following handy list outlines some of the best trees, shrubs, and perennials that hummingbirds love, all naturally adapted to the Mediterranean climate of coastal California.
Native Perennial Plants for Attracting Hummingbirds
A plant native to the SoCal coast, this perennial produces a pleasant fragrance that us humans enjoy, but its clusters of nectar-rich flowers are what draws in the hummingbirds. The flowers come in beautiful hues of purple, lavender, or blue. Better yet, Cleveland sage, or Salvia clevelandii, is a remarkably easy plant to care for and incredibly drought tolerant.
The unique, frilly flowers of this perennial are most commonly seen in an array of colors including striking red, pure white, vibrant yellow, and sunset orange. Seemingly made for the sole purpose of feeding a hummingbird, these mostly native plants make a welcome addition to any bird-lover’s garden. While monkey flower, also known as Mimulus, flowers will thrive in full sun, they won’t mind a little shade from the intense afternoon rays.
Both native and non-native hybrids are terrific hummingbird attractors. Native plants can be found growing in many different regions of California, which makes them an ideal food source for our numerous hummingbird species. Penstemon are exceptionally drought-tolerant and tend to be fast growers. The flowers they produce are tubular in shape, perfect for the long beak of a hovering hummer, and typically range in shades of deep magenta, pale lilac, or fiery red.
Native Shrubs for Attracting Hummingbirds
Also found as Salvia spathacea, this attractive native plant is enjoyed for its fragrance and its tubular burgundy flowers by both hummingbirds and bees alike. When you plant this sage, try to mimic its natural, native setting, which tends to be in a cool, shady spot. Once it is established, it needs very little care (aside from the occasional deadheading) to keep it looking its best.
Also known as Hummingbird Trumpet or Epilobium, this is a native plant known for being irresistible to hummingbirds. It can be found growing along the native foothills and coastal areas of California. Easily recognizable for its fiery fuschia flowers that bloom from late summer to early autumn, hummingbirds will take notice of this native plant right away!
Mexican Bird of Paradise
This shrub produces the most fascinating flowers in vivid hues of red and yellow. Commonly known as the Peacock Flower (or botanically as Caesalpinia) for its extra-showy blooms, these semi-tropical plants are a real crowd-pleaser as far as most pollinators are concerned. Rich in nectar, the unique flowers prove to not only be an instant attractant for hummingbirds, but for most other pollinators as well. Although its exact native origins are a bit foggy, Mexican Bird of Paradise grows exceptionally well in California thanks to our similar climate.
Native Trees for Attracting Hummingbirds
‘Austin Griffiths’ Manzanita
While this cultivar is technically classified as a shrub, the Austin Griffiths manzanita can grow up to 10 feet tall. This native plant produces stunning red-colored bark and green bushy foliage, but it’s most coveted for its dangling clusters of soft pink flower blossoms that hummingbirds certainly can’t resist! In addition, blooms appear during the winter months, providing a valuable source of nectar when reserves may be lower.
Known as a small deciduous tree, Western redbud can be found growing in the foothills or mountains of Northern California, and in canyon bottoms or near creek beds in Southern California. This small tree produces showy magenta flower blossoms that are perfect for attracting hummingbirds. The flowers contrast nicely against the heart-shaped foliage, which starts out a light green but deepens with age.
Now that you know a few plants that will attract hummingbirds, the fun part is choosing which are right for your garden! Plan your visit to Roger’s Gardens today to shop these hummingbird plants (along with several others), our selection of hummingbird feeders, and so much more.