There are benefits to attracting hummingbirds to a garden beyond the beauty that they bring. The birds will also help pollinate the flowers and spread the seeds to other places. You can choose from plants that attract the eastern hummingbird no matter what part of the east you live in--from southern Canada to southern Florida.
Blue Queen (Salvia sylvestris)
Blue queen salvia, also known as perennial sage, produces spiky deep blue to violet flowers and gray/green leaves in the early summer. It will grow to a height of 18 to 23 inches and a spread of about the same. The plant needs full sun and can grow in normal, sandy or clay soil, as long as it ranges from dry to moist, but not wet. Once it is established, it is drought, heat and humidity tolerant. The plant will produce flowers all summer and into the fall if you remove the dead flowers to allow new ones to grow. Not only will it attract both hummingbirds and butterflies, it is resistant to deer and rabbits. The plant is used for borders, can be grown in containers and for cut flowers. It is hardy in zones 3 to 9--all but the hottest zone in the continental United States.
Firebush (Hamelia patens)
Firebush is also known as scarlet bush and hummingbird bush. It grows as a shrub and can reach a height of 15 feet. It produces evergreen leaves that are about 6 inches long, flowers that are red/orange or scarlet in color and fruit that starts out green, turns red and finally black when it is ripe. The fruit is what attracts the hummingbirds. The plant prefers full sun, but can tolerate partial shade as well. It is drought tolerant, but is at its best when the soil is moist and well drained. The way it grows depends on the planting zone: in zones 10 and 11, the hottest in the continental United States and in Hawaii, it grows as a semi-woody shrub all year long; in zones 8 and 9, it grows as a perennial that dies back to the ground in winter and comes back in the spring. Further north, it grows as an annual with a life span of just one year. It can also be grown in containers and brought inside in the winter.
Trumpet Creeper (Campsis radicans)
Trumpet Creeper is also known as the trumpet vine and cow vine. The vine can grow to a length of 35 feet. It produces leaves that are up to 12 inches long, dark green on the top and lighter green on the bottom. The flowers are trumpet-shaped, up to 3-1/2 inches long, with a waxy appearance and orange to red/orange color. The fruit, or seed pod, grows up to 6 inches long. The plant is native to the eastern part of North America, as far north as New York state and Ontario, Canada. It needs to be controlled because it will climb on anything, including other plants, and quickly overtake them. This same feature also makes it a good choice for erosion control. The flowers are a favorite of the ruby-throated hummingbirds. It likes full sun and any kind of soil as long as it is moist or dry, not wet.