Best Plants for Hummingbirds

The current issue of Northern Gardener includes a column by Rhonda Fleming Hayes on easy-to-grow vines to attract hummingbirds. I’ve already planted one of them—hyacinth bean vine—in a spot where I’ll be able to watch the hummingbirds from my kitchen window. One of the MSHS Pollinator Paks™ also includes six fabulous perennial plants for hummingbirds.

If you aren’t familiar with the Pollinator Paks, you can find them at these garden centers and plant sales this spring. Each pack includes six perennials—and we have packs for bees, butterflies and monarchs, in addition to hummingbirds. They are grown for MSHS by Glacial Ridge Growers in Glenwood. MSHS receives a $1 contribution for every pack sold!

What Do Hummingbirds Like?

The plants for hummingbirds in the pack include six perennials that hummingbirds love and that will add beauty to your garden. Many of these are also perennials bees and butterflies love, too. Here are the plants for hummingbirds in each pack:

Giant Purple Hyssop (Agastache scrophularia). This native plant makes a statement in the garden! It grows 6-feet tall and is covered with pale, almost creamy purple flower spikes that hummingbirds love. It’s also very attractive to bees, including the endangered rusty-patch bumble bee. The plants bloom slowly, but will have some bloom from July to October. It’s hard to USDA Zone 3, so you can plant it anywhere in Minnesota.

columbine plant in bloom with red flowers

Columbine in bloom

Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis). This is such a sweet native that brings a bright touch to the late spring garden. This is a petite pollinator plant, growing less than 3 feet tall with blue-green foliage and red and yellow, downward-facing flowers. The nectar in those tubular-shaped flowers is what makes this one of the best plants for hummingbirds. It’s well-behaved and works in any size garden.

Heuchera sanguineaFirefly’ This is a selection of a North American native coralbell. It offers red flowers (hummingbirds do love red) in large clusters on spikes above the creamy green, scalloped foliage. It will bloom for up to four weeks, providing needed early season nectar. It grows well in full sun or in morning sun and  afternoon shade.

Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis) This is one of two Lobelia species among our plants for hummingbirds. Its red blooms grow on spikes on the 3 to 6 foot tall plant. It needs a damper site but is not fussy about light. It is listed as moderately deer resistant.

Great Blue Lobelia (Lobelia siphilitica) is our second Lobelia in the Pollinator Pak. This one has—obviously—blue flowers, though they tend more toward the light purple range. It grows 1 to 3 feet tall and blooms between July and October. It grows naturally on the edge of woodlands and looks especially attractive in those settings.

Monarda didyma ‘Panorama Red’ Hummingbirds like bee balm, too, and this one could not be easier. It grows well from transplant, blooms a bright red, and is content in sun or shade.

Which plants for hummingbirds do you enjoy most?



  1. Jody on May 27, 2021 at 11:46 pm

    Thank you, including for the link to the photos

  2. Maija Sedzielarz on May 28, 2021 at 1:23 am

    I bought this pack last year, and LOVE it. All plants did really well, and are strong this spring. Loved the blue lobelia, I was not familiar with this one. Sadly the strong winds this week knocked over the giant purple hyssop and uprooted one of the stalks. Hope it survives the onslaught. When it warms u p a bit, I will stake it.

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