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Shrubs That Attract Hummingbirds

By Elaine Bolen ; Updated September 21, 2017
Hummingbirds are attracted to bright flowers.

Hummingbirds are high-energy birds that need a reliable food source. They feed on flowering plants, insects and sap left by woodpeckers, reports the Smithsonian National Zoological Park Migratory Bird Center. Hummingbirds look for flowering shrubs and plants that contain nectar with a high sugar content to fuel their active lifestyle. They are also attracted to bright flowers that they can spot from a distance. Add shrubs that attract these tiny birds and enjoy their unique beauty.

Plumleaf Azalea

Azaleas do well in acidic soil.

Hummingbirds are attracted to this the plumleaf azalea (Rhododendron prunifolium), a deciduous shrub that grows in USDA Zones 5 through 9. It is tolerant of clay soil and does well in partial shade. The plumleaf azalea will grow to a height of 8 to 12 feet and a width of 6 to 8 feet. It flowers in late summer, producing bright orange-red flowers that have little or no fragrance. Azaleas do well under pine trees because the soil is acidic and shade is provided, according to Clemson University Cooperative Extension.

Cultivars of Rhododendron prunifolium are Cherry Bomb (red flowers), Coral Glow (pink-orange flowers) and Peach Glow (peach-colored flowers).


Rose-of-sharon grows in Zones 5 through 8.

The rose-of-sharon shrub (Hibiscus syriacus) is also known as shrub althea. It is a deciduous shrub that thrives in Zones 5 through 8. It does well in sun or partial shade and grows to a height of 8 to 10 feet and a width of up to 10 feet. The flowers are approximately 2 to 4 inches across, and bloom throughout the summer. The rose-of-sharon enjoys heat and tolerates drought well.

A few Hibiscus syriacus cultivars are Blue Bird (sky blue flowers), Blushing Bride (white flowers), Freedom (rose-colored flowers) and Lavender Chiffon (lavender flowers).

Butterfly Bush

Butterfly bush blooms from summer to fall.

The butterfly bush (Buddleia davidii) is a deciduous shrub that has a rapid growth rate, reaching a height of 10 feet and a width of 8 feet. It has lavender, purple, white, pink or yellow flowers that bloom from summer to fall. Pruning in late winter encourages growth and blooming in the spring and summer months.This bush attracts bees and butterflies as well as hummingbirds.

A few Buddleia davidii cultivars are Black Knight (violet or purple flowers), Burgundy (magenta red flowers), Pink Delight (pink flowers) and Ellen’s Blue (dark blue flowers). Buddleia thrives in Zones 6 through 8.

Weigela (Weigela florida)

The weigela flowers (Weigela florida) in late spring with trumpet-shaped flowers that are pink, red or white. This shrub is rounded in shape, with a height and width of up to 10 feet respectively. It tolerates a variety of soil types and does well in full sun to partial shade.

A few Weigela florida cultivars are Candida (white flower), Minuet (dark red flowers), Wine and Roses (rose-pink flowers) and White Knight (white flowers). Weigela florida is hardy in Zones 5 through 9.


About the Author


An avid gardener, crafter and artist, Elaine Bolen turned her love for art into a BFA degree from the University of Kansas. Bolen became self-employed in real estate and worked in a nursery. An interest in sewing and crafting led her to sell items in arts and craft shows.