How to Attract Hummingbirds to Your Yard


Hummingbirds are so totally cool to watch and to hear the whir of their wings!    You’ll find them mesmerizing, relaxing and definitely worth the effort to make your yard a hummingbird destination.

The ruby-throated hummingbirds migrate from a warmer climate and arrive in Pennsylvania sometime mid to late April.  The males arrive first and they travel about 20 miles a day.  When they first arrive, there’s not an abundance of blossoms, so they gravitate to feeders that people supply.

What Do Hummingbirds Like?

Go Tubular

With long beaks and tongues, hummers sip nectar from deep tube-shaped flowers.   The tiny birds can maneuver easily around flowers because they fly backward as well as forward and can hover in midair making it easy for them to feed from flowers.  Hummingbirds get nectar from plants, and plants get pollinated by hummingbirds.  They do the same work as bees and other insects pollinating plants.  As they go to the next flower to feed, the pollen sticks to their heads and throats which transfer the pollen to that flower.

Think Red, Orange and Pink

Hummers are drawn to flowers by their color rather than scent, and they are most attracted to the reddish end of the spectrum.  Try to choose annuals and perennials that will bloom at different times so there’s enough of the right kind of food for them to want to stay thru fall.

Some of Their Favorite Flowers

Container of Salvia (Wendy's Wish)
Container of Salvia (Wendy’s Wish)

Salvias, Beard Tongue (Penstemon species), Trumpet Vine (Campsis radicans) Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis),  Wild Bergamot ( Monarda fistulosa),  Bee Balm (Monarda) and Daylily (Hemerocallis)  are just a few of their favorites.

Salvia ‘Black & Blue’ have bright cobalt blue flowers and are a highly visible target for hummingbirds.  These easy-to-grow salvias tolerate partial shade, so they are perfect for tucking into shadier spaces where other salvias don’t thrive.

Feeders Provide Additional Source of Perfect Nectar

Put feeders in a location where hummingbirds will easily find them as they travel past at a distance.  Use a feeder with some bright red on it and make sure your feeder is one that can be easily cleaned.  During the summer, mold can grow so regular cleaning is important.   Look at your feeder as complementing your tubular selection or to help along when there aren’t as many blooming flowers.  Hummingbird nectar is easy to make at home.  A mixture of 4-to-1 water to white sugar solution will attract hummers by closely mimicking the nectar they drink from flowers.  Red dye is not necessary and many suspect that it may be harmful.

Simple Recipe

Bring 4 cups of water to a boil.  Stir in 1 cup of sugar until it dissolves in the water.  Let the mixture cool and fill your feeders.  Any unused portion can be refrigerated for as long as 2 weeks and used as needed.

Hummingbird Habitat

Hummingbird Nest
Hummingbird Nest

Besides nectar-bearing flowers, they like trees and shrubs nearby for shelter and perching.  Hummingbirds build their tiny nests on the small limbs of trees or shrubs, usually 5 to 20 feet above the ground.  Females return each year to the same area to nest, sometimes reusing their old nests.

What to Be Careful About

Hummingbirds eat insects (off flowers and those caught in the air), spiders, and occasionally sap from trees, especially from woodpecker drilling holes.  It’s important to reduce the use of pesticides so that insects are available.

Wrapping Up 

Your backyard is waiting for you to relax and enjoy all that it has to offer.  If you are looking for landscape design advice or are anxious to explore how to make your backyard your very own outdoor oasis, Whitehouse Landscaping would love to help you discover the true potential of your property!

Serving Montgomery, Berks and Chester counties for over 20 years, Whitehouse Landscaping can give you the perfect combination of hardscaping and landscaping that you will love to live in.  Life is better outdoors and we’re here to partner with you to create custom outdoor living spaces perfect to fit your lifestyle.  Contact Whitehouse Landscaping on our website or call 484-300-4290.    We would love to hear from you.

Happy Hummingbird Watching!