Red Perennial Flowers to Attract Hummingbirds in California

The relationship between hummingbirds and red flowers is integral to the survival of each. The birds feed from the nectar within the flowers and in turn serve as flower pollinators. Hummingbirds have a poor sense of smell, but their good eyesight draws them to brightly colored blooms, particularly red hues, according to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum Center for Sonoran Desert Studies. Flowers that are tubular and contain lots of nectar are favored. Several red perennial flowers that grow in California serve this purpose.

Canna Lily

Canna lilies are broad and trumpet-shaped and also grow in hues other than red. The colored part, which is actually a leaf, wraps around a yellow spadix that contains the true flowers and nectar that hummingbirds drink. They are tender perennials that cannot withstand a hard frost but can be dug up and overwintered inside.

Cardinal Flower

These striking red, tubular flowers are natives to the U.S., according to the University of Texas' Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. They grow up to 6 feet tall and feature three lower petals spread out, and two upper petals close together. Because of their structure, which makes it difficult for other insects to penetrate, cardinal flowers rely on hummingbirds to pollinate them.

Scarlet Creeper

Scarlet creeper is a vine plant featuring smaller flowers that resemble hibiscus in shape. The red flowers are tube-shaped with pale stamens.

Coral Honeysuckle

Another vine plant, coral honeysuckle can climb up to 20 feet and attracts hummingbirds with its two to four clustered red, tubular flowers. It grows well as a perennial in warmer climates.


Firebush is as a semi-woody, long-blooming shrub that can reach 15 feet tall and produce flowers from late spring until the first frost. Like some other flowers that attract hummingbirds, it also draws butterflies. It grows as a perennial in USDA Zones 8 to 11.

Rose of Sharon

Rose of Sharon isn't really a rose, but rather a hardy bush that can grow up to 12 feet. It is valued for its mid-summer blooms, according to the U.S. Forest Service Department of Agriculture. Varieties with red flowers frequently attract hummingbirds.


Hibiscus, Hawaii's state flower, grows as a perennial in tropical climates. Its large, showy blossoms easily attract hummingbirds, which serve as pollinators as they draw nectar from the flowers. It prefers to grow in full sun and very organic soil.

Keywords: hummingbirds flowers, red perennial flowers, red flowers hummingbirds

About this Author

Joy Brown is a newspaper reporter at "The Courier" and in Findlay, Ohio. She has been writing professionally since 1995, primarily in Findlay and previously at the "Galion (Ohio) Inquirer" and "Toledo City Paper." Brown holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and history from Miami University.