Providing Natural Food Instead of Using a Hummingbird Feeder

We made some changes in the garden this year, intentionally planting flowers for hummingbirds. Early in the spring we planted lots of flowering plants that attract hummingbirds and now have a variety of different colored birds that visit the yard.

They seem to be especially attracted to the following flowers:

  • penstemon
  • buddleia
  • Columbine
  • daylily
  • Delphinium
  • Iris
  • Digitalis
  • honeysuckle
  • bleeding hearts
  • salvia
  • lobelia
  • trumpet vine


The University of California, Santa Cruz Arboretum has some really good Hummingbird Garden Tips. Especially helpful when we were planting flowers for hummingbirds was knowing that hummingbirds prefer red flowers and especially those with a trumpet shape that produce a lot of nectar. One of the UCSC tips was to “Choose red, tubular flowers, as these are quick clues to a flower’s value as a hummingbird food supply. Hummingbirds are also attracted to orange and pink flowers” The tips also mention that “Once hummingbirds discover your garden, they are likely to return each year at about the same time, depending upon the availability of food, water, nesting sites, and perches.”

Next year we are planning on adding some of the South African heath that the hummingbirds in this area are so fond of. These can be seen in our post on hummingbirds at the UCSC Arboretum. They are drought tolerant as well as being an attractive plant, and it is important to conserve water in our area.

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