Shade Plants for Hummingbirds

Fill your shade garden with red flowers, and you'll have hummingbirds zipping around drinking from their blossoms. The color red stimulates hummingbirds, and clumps of red flowers are very visible to these tiny creatures. They tend to prefer flowers with open, tubular blooms that are separate from the foliage. This helps them avoid hitting their wings on the leaves. According to the Oregon State University Extension, don't worry about whether your flowers have a beautiful scent because fragrance does not attract hummingbirds.

Cardinal Flower

Cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis) has red blooms as bright as its avian counterpart. It sends up long leafy stems with blooms that mimic fireworks. The cardinal flower grows best in moist or wet soil, making it a good choice for near a pond or garden pool. This self-sowing perennial grows in light shade in USDA Hardiness zones 2 to 7.

Red Columbine

Red columbine (Aguilegia canadensis) is a good choice for hummingbird gardens because it starts blooming in late March, when ruby-throated hummingbirds begin to migrate north. This columbine variety has red folded flowers that droop down over its yellow anthers. It will grow in partial shade in average well-drained or moist soil. The red columbine will grow to 24 inches tall and self-seeds. It grows in USDA zones 2 to 8.

Coral Bell

Hummingbirds will stop and drink nectar from each of the individual blossoms on a coral bell (Heuchera sanguinea), particularly the Firefly variety with its vivid red bells. From its ivy-shaped foliage, the coral bell will send up wiry stalks covered with blooms from late spring until the beginning of September in any well-drained alkaline soil. It can handle full shade, but will bloom better with partial shade. This drought-tolerant plant grows 1 to 3 feet tall and is hardy in USDA zones 3 to 8.

Red Buckeye

The Red Buckeye (Aesculus pavia) is a small tree that reaches 18 to 36 feet tall. It prefers light shade, making it an excellent understory tree perfect for the background of your garden. According to Bill Hilton of Operation RubyThroat, the ruby-throated hummingbird is one of the tree's main pollinators. The Red Buckeye grows in moist soil and produces bright red, tubular flowers in the early spring. It grows in USDA zones 6 to 8.

Keywords: garden shade plants, attracting hummingbirds, flowers hummingbirds love

About this Author

Aileen Clarkson has been an award-winning editor and reporter for more than 20 years, earning three awards from the Society of Professional Journalists. She has worked for several newspapers, including "The Washington Post" and "The Charlotte Observer." Clarkson earned a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of Florida.