Hummingbirds are one of the highlights of summer. Their vibrant colors, fluttering wings, and adorable noises are captivating. They're very assertive little birds, and it can be quite funny to watch them chase each other around!
Hanging up a hummingbird feeder with fresh nectar is a great way to provide them with food, but you can also add plants to your yard that they'll love as well. This will give them multiple food sources, so they don't have to fight over your feeder.
Here are six flowering plants that grow well in Greenville, NC which are exceptionally popular with hummingbirds!
Hummingbirds love Salvia because it has a high nectar content compared to some other flowers. They also have deep tubular flowers, perfect for hummingbirds' long beaks. Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’, Salvia leucantha, and Salvia microphylla' Hot Lips' are all particularly popular with hummingbirds. Typically, red flowers are the easiest for hummingbirds to see, but they don't seem to have much trouble finding the purple and pink ones.
Some types of Salvia can grow up to 5 feet tall and equally as wide, so make sure they have the space they need. This plant thrives best when planted in a full sun location.
Crocosmia Lucifer, with its bright red flowers, is also very attractive for hummingbirds. Crocosmia's exotic looking flowers are born on tall, wiry stems, above long, sword-like leaves.
Crocosmia is a perennial here, but it can take a couple of years to get established and produce lots of flowers. They'll thrive in a sunny spot, though a bit of dappled shade in the afternoons can help the flowers last a little longer. They're a great companion plant for daylilies or ornamental grasses.
Cuphea ‘Vermillionaire’ is another bright red tubular flower that hummingbirds love. The flowers and plants are a little smaller, maxing out at about 2 feet tall and wide. They bloom all summer long and are covered in their unique little flowers.
This Cuphea variety works well in borders, planters, and pots. It is very heat-tolerant and will flower best in a full sun location.
Better known as Bee Balm, Monarda is a hummingbird magnet. This North Carolina native plant will have the hummingbirds flocking to your yard with its spiky clusters of vibrant flowers. Monarda is also an essential plant for native bee populations, so there's a double bonus to planting it.
Monarda is a member of the mint family, and you can make delicious tea from the leaves and flowers. It's also a pretty low-maintenance plant. Monarda does like lots of sun, but it will benefit from some dappled shade in the afternoon's heat. It can grow up to 4' tall and nearly as wide.
Also known as Butterfly Bush, Buddleia will have your yard humming with pollinators. Butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds love the long trusses of tiny flowers. This unique looking shrub is definitely eye-catching, and it's semi-evergreen here in NC.
Buddleia needs space; it can grow up to 6-10 feet tall and just as wide. Some newer varieties, like the Pugster(R) series, stay low. They need full sun to flower best. Unfortunately, some varieties of Buddleia are considered invasive in some states. To best protect other native species, it's important to deadhead Buddleia each fall so that it doesn't go to seed and spread. This plant blooms on new wood, so it's best to cut it back hard every spring to encourage profuse blooming.
This native vine produces clusters of tubular red blooms that hummingbirds love. Compared to the invasive japanese honeysuckle, the one with yellow and white flowers, this one grows much less aggressively. It is drought tolerant once established and tolerates salt, so it works well for coastal gardeners. The nectar is edible by humans and in USDA Zone 8 and warmer, it is reportedly evergreen.
Adding just a few of these plants to your Greenville yard will make your yard a haven for hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees. Having these plants around will also ensure the hummingbirds have another buffet open if they happen to drain your feeder before you get a chance to make new nectar.
Butterflies, bees, and birds—they’re sure signs of summer. Their presence is a comforting reminder that everything is in full bloom and flourishing. Even moths, beetles, and flies are helpful pollinators, feeding on and sustaining life for the next season. The pollination process keeps the world spinning with plants that continue to reproduce, and we totally understand why you would want to nurture that kind of life in your own yard.
No matter the size of your garden, you can turn your space into a place pollinators love to visit or, if you’re committed to it, even call their home.
Why Attract Pollinators?
It’s a vital and mutually beneficial relationship between pollinators and the plants they need. Both keep each other alive. By planting with attracting pollinators in mind, you’re assisting in keeping that relationship sustainable and helping to prevent pollinator decline. Pollinators are essential for pollinating some of our favorite plants and crops!
The best way to ensure a variety of pollinators stop by your yard is to cover all of your bases. Choose flowers of varying shape and color, provide a source of water, and create a place of shelter where pollinators can colonize.
Plant flowers that bloom all through the season: Gather a mix of flowers that bloom all season long. A good mix of perennial and annual flowers that attract hummingbirds, bees, and butterflies, makes your garden a place pollinators can count on returning to.
Avoid hybrid flowers: Some hybrids, although they look beautiful to us, do not possess a desirable amount of pollen and nectar for pollinators. Sometimes they may not even have a fragrance, which is a big attractor for hummingbirds and insects alike. Plus, native flowers better reflect pollinators’ natural environment, making it more welcoming to them.
Don’t use pesticides: You’re inviting new life into your garden. Using pesticides, even organic ones, sends mixed messages to wildlife and may be harmful to them. Keep things growing as naturally as possible to create the safest haven for your visitors.
Anticipate new life: While there are ways to reduce it, be prepared for some of your plants’ leaves to be nibbled on. You can better control leaf-munching by growing a few host flowers that cater to the insect. That way, they have a safe place to gorge themselves and grow freely, without overrunning your garden.
Keep some water nearby: Pollinators like butterflies get nutrients and salts from wet earth. That’s why you’ll often see them near muddy puddles — they’re just enjoying a drink! If you don’t fancy having puddles all over your garden, consider including a birdbath or other water features.
Repurpose dead leaves and branches: If you are looking to give a home to bees or monarch butterflies, you can create shelter out of dead branches and leaves, which are natural attractors for insects.
Flowers for Hummingbirds
These quick-winged, long-tongued birds can be picky about the kinds of flowers they pollinate, preferring deeper nectaries with tube-shaped openings and warm red-orange colors. They’re beautiful creatures to discover in the wild, never mind our gardens! You can plant these pretty flowers to draw them in:
Honey Bee Friendly Flowers
Honey bees are kind creatures that don’t discriminate about the shape of the flowers they like to pollinate. Take this opportunity to round out your garden with varieties of fruits, flowers and herbs that will bloom from spring to fall. To name a few:
Flowers for Butterflies and Caterpillars
Butterflies prefer native plants, which is great because they’re hardy and super easy to care for. In addition to nectar, butterflies are attracted to things like rotting wood and animal droppings. We suggest putting out some overripe fruit to help draw them to your garden. Otherwise, butterflies love these varieties:
If you’re looking to host some new life in your garden, caterpillars love to munch on these plants.
It’s possible to draw the company of butterflies and hummingbirds by hanging your own nectar feeder. Making your own artificial nectar to fill it is easy. Simply mix 1 part refined white sugar to 4 parts water. Do not use artificial sweeteners or fruit juices, as these can harbor harmful fungi.
Carolina Seasons Nursery