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Native Hummingbird Plants


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Native Hummingbird Plants
Native plant gardening is becoming critically important to the survival of wildlife, particularly birds. Native plants attract many birds and the insects that birds eat. These plants are adapted to life in this area so they do not need dangerous fertilizers or pesticides to thrive. Using native plants in your garden or around your home creates a safe haven for birds – This landscape is becoming increasingly rare. A “wild” garden look, filled with the tangles and thickets of the native plants that wildlife love, is becoming more popular – Maybe because, like the Tiger Orchid or heirloom seeds, it is becoming harder and harder to find.
Many of our native plants whose flowers attract hummingbirds are designed for the hummingbird as the main pollinator of that plant. The color of the flower, in addition to its long tubular shape, gives us a clue that the hummingbird is indeed the pollinator. Through the act of retrieving nectar from the flower, pollen is dusted on the bird (where it is dusted depends on which flower is visited), then exchanged with the other flowers, continuing the pollination process!
In his new book, Bringing Nature Home, Douglas W. Tallamy discusses the relationships between birds, insects, plants and people. Many of our natural areas are being converted into communities for people. Tallamy urges home gardeners to take an active role in providing the food and habitat that birds need to survive. He believes that “gardeners have become important players in the management of our nation’s wildlife.” His research reveals that our native insects are not feeding on the many exotic plant species that we usually find at our local nurseries. Insects are a primary source of food for birds. In fact, Tallamy states that “if you count all of the terrestrial bird species in North America that rely on insects … to feed their young, you would find that figure to be about 96% -- In other words, nearly all of them.” Hummingbirds are no different – Most of their diet is made up of small arthropods, such as fruit flies, gnats, spiders, caterpillars and insect eggs.
Throughout the fall, the gardens of Strawberry Plains Audubon Center are thick with hummingbirds foraging for insects and sipping from flowers or feeders to fatten up for their long journey south. By offering many favorite native plant species and sugar-water feeders from spring through fall, large numbers of the birds are attracted to the center.
You can celebrate hummingbirds in your backyard by creating a habitat they will visit. Hummingbird feeders only require 1 part sugar to every 4 parts water. To really entice the birds, keep your yard as wooded or shrubby as possible and plant the native species that they love (see list below).
Most of the plants listed below can be found at local nurseries, including the Strawberry Plains Native Plant Nursery. Be sure and ask for the plant by both the common name and the botanical name. Many species of plants have the same common name but can be very different.
Please note, Strawberry Plains Audubon Center has a spring native plant sale and plants are for sale by appointment throughout the rest of the year. To make an appointment to buy plants or to book a native plant gardening program, please call us at 662-252-1155. Just ask for Kristin Lamberson, our Interpretive Garden Specialist.


Plant List
Aesculus Pavia – Red Buckeye

  • Part sun to shade

  • Tolerates many soil conditions

  • 9 - 20 feet high

  • Foliage appears early spring and falls in late summer (When the flower blooms, hummingbirds are not far behind!)

  • Blooms bright, red flowers on terminal panicles in early spring

  • Very beautiful!


Bignonia capreolata Cross Vine

  • Full sun to shade

  • Tolerates many soil conditions, including wet

  • Evergreen foliage (Foliage turns burgundy in winter)

  • Clings or twines to surface

  • Blooms in early spring

  • Trumpet bloom, red to yellow or any shade in between


Aquilegia canadensis – Wild Columbine

  • Part to full shade

  • Well drained soil

  • 2-3 feet tall

  • Blooms early to late spring

  • Nodding, cone-like, flowers with yellow sepals and red spurs

  • Re-seeds readily


Silene virginica – Fire Pink

  • Part sun to full shade

  • Well drained soil

  • Basal foliage with flower stalk around 12”-20” tall

  • Mild spring blooms with red flowers


Spigelia marilandica – Indian Pink

  • Part to full shade

  • Moist, well drained soil

  • 2 feet tall, forms attractive clump

  • Blooms late spring to early summer

  • Flowers are 1-2 inches long, red trumpets with yellow mouths

Monarda didymaBee Balm, Red Bergamot

  • Moist, well drained to “rich” garden soil

  • Full to part sun

  • 2-4 feet tall, spreads by rhizomes (creeping underground stems – often spreads rapidly)

  • Blooms late spring to mid-summer

  • Flower is red, 2-4 inch cluster


Monarda fistulosa – Wild Bergamot

  • Full sun

  • Well drained to dry soil

  • 2-4 feet tall, spreads by rhizomes

  • Blooms late spring to mid-summer

  • Pink, white or purple flowers on 2-4 inch heads


Lonicera sempervirens – Coral Honeysuckle

  • Please do not confuse this with Japanese Honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica). Japanese Honeysuckle is an exotic invasive

  • Sun to part shade

  • Tolerates many soil conditions

  • Twining up to 15 feet

  • Main bloom is mid to late spring and then intermittent blooms until frost

  • Blooms are 2 inch clusters of narrow, scarlet trumpets with orange tips


Campsis radicans – Trumpet Vine

Impatiens capensis – Spotted Jewelweed



Lobelia cardinalis – Cardinal Flower

  • Moist to wet soil

  • Sun to part shade

  • 2-5 feet tall

  • Blooms late summer to fall

  • Flower is red, 1-2 inches long on 8 inch spikes

  • Note: Lobelia siphilitica is another choice. It has blue flowers.







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