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Annual Flowers for Hummingbirds

Hummingbirds image by Dwight Davis from

There are more than 300 species of hummingbirds inhabiting the world, with 16 found throughout the United States. The southwestern regions of the United States holds the largest variety. Gardeners wishing to attract hummingbirds to their landscapes can plant certain annual flowers, which the tiny bird uses for nectar. There is a wide assortment of annual, flowering plants that attract hummingbirds, giving the gardener many choices in colors and sizes.

Shrimp Plant

Shrimp plant (Justicia brandegeana) produces drooping plumes of shrimp-like flowers throughout summertime. Flowers are white and maroon. The plant is a welcome addition to butterfly, native, annual and perennial flower gardens. Its blooms attract hummingbirds, other birds and butterflies. The plant's growth habit makes it well suited as a tall, background plant in flower gardens, used inside containers or borders. In warmer areas located in USDA planting zones 9 and 10, grow shrimp plant as a perennial.

Plants grow quickly obtaining a mature height of 2 to 6 feet with a spread of 2 to 4 feet. It tolerates growing in full to partial sun and grows in a wide range of well-draining acidic or alkaline soils. Freezes kill shrimp plant to the ground but plants can resprout during springtime. Shrimp plant has a medium drought tolerance and will look its best when watered regularly.


pentas, fleurs étoilées image by Unclesam from

Pentas (Pentas lanceolata) is an annual, flowering plant that attracts both hummingbirds and butterflies with its summertime blooms. Also called starflower, pentas have small, star-like flowers that bloom in a vast array of colors ranging from pinks, reds, purples, white, lavender and bicolor. In warmer areas of the country located within USDA planting zones 9 and 10, pentas acts as a perennial. Pentas have many cultivars suitable for butterfly, annual and perennial flower gardens. The plant is also suitable as a background plant or used in borders and walkways.

Plants grow relatively quickly reaching a mature height of 2 to 3 feet tall with a spread that is the same. It prefers growing in full to partial sun and adapts to a wide range of well-draining soil mediums. Plants have a medium drought tolerance, performing best with regular watering.


zinnia image by maslight from

Zinnia (Zinnia) is an old time favorite in annual flower gardens and has the extra benefit of attracting hummingbirds as well as butterflies. There are various cultivars producing pom pom-like, single and cactus-like flowers. Flowers colors range from purples, pinks, reds, white, orange, yellow and bicolor. Plants are suitable as background plants in flower gardens, used inside containers or along a border. Zinnia blooms year-round.

Zinnia plants obtain a mature height of 1/2 foot to 3 feet tall with an average spread of 1 foot. Plants grow relatively quickly and prefer full to partial sun conditions. It has a high drought tolerance, but in areas that are hot and dry, regular watering makes plants perform and bloom best. Zinnia grows in a variety of well-draining soil mediums.

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