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What Are the Annual Plants for Hummingbirds?

By Fern Fischer ; Updated September 21, 2017
Perched hummingbird

Enjoy the antics and acrobatic feats of hummingbirds in your own garden by selecting flowers that will attract them. Many perennial flowers are hummingbird favorites, but for a new garden spot, annual flowers may be the answer. Prepare a sunny spot, and plant annual flower seeds directly into the garden, or buy transplants at the garden center. Annual flowers grow and bloom quickly, luring hummingbirds with brightly colored petals. Trumpet shaped flowers are especially attractive to hummingbirds, because they usually contain more nectar than other types of flowers.

Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberose)

Butterfly weed also attracts hummingbirds

Butterfly weed attracts hummingbirds as well as butterflies. The flowers are bright orange clusters that appear at the tips of 24 to 30 inch stalks. This annual is easy to grow from seed sown directly in the garden, or start seeds indoors early for transplants. Plant butterfly weed in moist, well drained soil in full sun.

Morning Glory (Ipomoea)

Pink and blue morning glories

Morning glories need a trellis or structure to climb. The plants will be covered with blossoms all summer long, providing plenty of hummingbird action. Red and pink morning glories are preferred colors, but hummingbirds sip from them all. Nick each seed coat with a knife, and soak the seeds in water overnight before planting them. Plant the seeds 1/4 inch deep in full sun after the last frost.

Sage (Salvia)

Red salvia

Hummingbirds are attracted to any of the sage flowers, but the red varieties are favorites. Salvia coccinea 'Lady in Red' variety is a particularly good hummingbird sage. Start seeds early indoors, or plant them directly in the garden when there is no chance of frost. The seeds should be barely covered. Plant salvia in full sun in rich, well drained soil.

Zinnia (Zinnia elegans)

Red zinnia attracts hummingbirds

The wide range of colors, sizes, and petal types makes zinnias popular for any annual flower garden. Hummingbirds enjoy the blossoms, especially the bright reds, oranges and pinks. Some seed companies offer zinnia seeds by individual color as well as mixed. Small, low growing varieties make excellent borders, or grow them in containers to attract hummingbirds to a porch or patio. Zinnias like rich, well drained soil, and they are somewhat drought tolerant.

Four O’Clock (Mirabilis jalapa)

Four o’clocks bloom in the early morning, then close during the day. They open again during the shady afternoon and evening hours. Plant four o'clocks in an area with indirect afternoon sun to extend the bloom hours. Four o’clock seeds should be planted directly in the garden after the last frost. Soak the seeds overnight before planting them.

 

About the Author

 

Fern Fischer's print and online work has appeared in publications such as Midwest Gardening, Dolls, Workbasket, Quilts for Today and Cooking Fresh. With a broader focus on organic gardening, health, rural lifestyle, home and family articles, she specializes in topics involving antique and modern quilting, sewing and needlework techniques.