It’s about that time to start thinking about gardens, flowers, plants, and all the other lovely parts of Spring I look forward to every year! My Grandma always had huge vegetable gardens and one part she never skipped was a flower garden with plants to attract butterflies and hummingbirds. Butterflies and hummingbirds, in addition to being beautiful creatures, are beneficial to your garden or landscape in more ways than just being a pretty face. Pollination, pest control, and a food source for other creatures are just a few of the benefits. Lure them in with these beautiful plants!
There are plenty of plants and flowers to choose from if you’re looking to attract butterflies and hummingbirds. I’ve had a hummingbird feeder filled with liquid food for years, and they still drink from it, but when the flowers are in bloom, they seem to gravitate toward the flowers more. They’re especially fond of red and orange so keep that in mind when planting.
And if you’ve never had the chance to sit and watch hummingbirds in their element, grab a cup of coffee, sit still and watch the quick flying show. They’re fast and aggressive for such tiny species. And very territorial when it comes to their food sources. Interesting bird watching for sure.
Plants that Attract Butterflies and Hummingbirds
If you’ve poked around this blog for a bit, you know my love of Zinnias. They’re one of my absolute favorite flowers for many reasons. First, they’re low maintenance. I can neglect these babies and they still shine. Of course it’s better if you aren’t a lazy gardener like myself, but just know these don’t need babysitting constantly. I’ve planted Zinnias in varying spots in the yard and they’re always amazing. Although they’re classified as annuals because the entire plant dies off each year, mine return every year from the seeds. They’re heat tolerant too which is great for the hot Georgia summers here!
You can buy a packet of seeds or you can buy the plants from a garden store or nursery and have instant color. And color you’ll get. These bright and showy flowers are the perfect landing spot for butterflies. Hummingbirds love them too. Zinnias are the perfect plants that attract butterflies and hummingbirds – they’ve got bright colors of orange, yellow, pink, white, and red and they’re just gorgeous.
Coneflowers are another great choice for attracting hummingbirds! They’ve got beautiful, big blooms and they’re perennials which means you can plant these once and enjoy them year after year. Purple coneflowers or Echinacea are one of the more common varieties that you can easily grow in your garden.
Milkweed is one of the most vital plants for butterflies. It’s leaves are the food source for the caterpillars of the Monarch butterfly. These plants can grow 5 to 6 feet tall and you can start them from seeds. There are some concerns when planting milkweed though. It can be toxic since these plants contain cardiac glycosides. However. It doesn’t have an appealing flavor so most pets will not graze on it and unless you have kids that will ingest a large quantity of plants, I would feel confident in planting milkweed.
Daylilies are perennial winners that can tolerate a variety of conditions in the garden. They come in a wide range of colors including red, yellow, white, orange, pink, and purple, Most often I see the yellow ones here in the South. They have large beautiful blooms that are perfect for hummingbirds and butterflies to feed on, but each bloom only lasts a day. Once established, they’re drought tolerant and prolific bloomers. And they’re easy to find – You can find these at any garden store. Pop them in the ground, preferably in well drained soil and enjoy the blooms year after year. And your butterflies and birds will thank you for it!
This is one of the easiest plants to grow in my opinion. I planted a tiny butterfly bush that was about a foot tall and wide last spring and by the end of summer it was at least three feet tall and wide. It did well even through a hot Georgia summer and admittedly a tiny bit of neglect. It’s in an area that our sprinklers don’t reach and it still thrived. Butterfly bushes provide food for adult butterflies and they love this one. Even after we initially planted it, butterflies would swarm around it. It’s got an interesting shade of light green foliage and purple blooms. Some species are considered invasive, so check your local planting guides before buying.
Possibly one of the most beautiful flowers, peonies are stunning with huge blooms and what looks like layers and layers of leaves. Peonies grow in a wide variety of colors with pink being one of the most common. However, this generally isn’t an instant process like other quick blooming plants. You’ll often need to wait about 3 years for your peonies to bloom after planting, but it’s worth the wait. They need a sunny spot in the garden and well drained soil. If you live in the South like me, it’s a good idea to give them a space with some shade during the hottest part of the day. And once you get them established, these beautiful plants can live for decades!!
They don’t all have to be perennials for the butterflies and hummingbirds to love them. Impatiens are a fantastic, easy to grow, and inexpensive way to add beautiful colored plants that attract butterflies and hummingbirds. The variety of colors is impressive – bright orange, red, white, purple, light pink, and dark pink.
And I’ve planted Impatiens in every yard I’ve ever had. And they’re also good container plants if you keep them watered. They like full sun and you can plant them in groupings to give the effect of a blanket of flowers. Seriously – these are some of the easiest to grow. Pick up a flat of these at the garden store and plant them in various places in the yard with plenty of sunlight.
Another favorite of hummingbirds that’s so easy to grow is Lantana. Give it room though – it’ll spread up to 5 or 6 feet tall and up to 8 feet wide! It comes in several varieties with the most common being a mix of red, pink, orange, and yellow flowers, or blue and white. We planted a Lantana on the side of our house and it doesn’t get a whole lot of attention and does well every year. It’s a perennial, so it comes to life year after year. I love Lantana especially if you’re attempting to start a landscape from scratch like we were. You get a lot of plant for very little cost and effort and the creatures love them!
Phlox comes in several varieties and pretty much every color you can dream of. These beautiful plants will give you blooms from mid summer into the fall. Butterflies and hummingbirds both will appreciate these perennials in your garden. You can find low lying plants that resemble a carpet of blooms on the ground and taller varieties up to 2 feet tall. And since they give such prolific blooms, you can also use these as cutting plants to bring some beauty inside! These aren’t deer resistant though so maybe choose a partial shade location inside a fenced area.
Clearly it won’t be hard to find some gorgeous plants to attract butterflies and hummingbirds. My problem is not picking them all!
You can also make your own hummingbird food!
Hummingbird Food Recipe
4 parts water to 1 part sugar. Boil the water, dissolve the sugar, let cool and then add to your feeder.
If they don’t drink it all within a week or so, you may want to wash your feeder good and start again. The sugar water solution won’t keep very long. Add it to your feeder and they’ll find it. Don’t panic if they don’t come at first. I promise – they’ll come.
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And if you’re considering a hummingbird feeder, remember they’re attracted to red. Don’t use red food coloring. Find a red feeder like these:
If you’ve got a tried and true butterfly or hummingbird magnet – let me know! I’m always looking for more plants to add to the landscaping!
And for more ideas on flowers and plants:
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