What Flowers Attract Hummingbirds and Butterflies

Nothing is more calming than to witness hummingbirds fluttering next to a beautiful flower or see butterflies floating throughHummingbird the garden. Wouldn’t it be glorious to have them visit each and every day? It’s important to know what flowers attract hummingbirds and butterflies in order to have such delightful daily visitors.

Why Do They Come?

Hummingbirds and butterflies love nectar. Nectar is a sugar rich liquid that is created by flowers and plants. This liquid gold is produced in glands of the flowers called nectaries. The hummingbird and butterfly have a symbiotic relationship with the flowers, meaning they both benefit from each other while they suck the nectar from the bloom. The hummingbird and butterfly benefit from eating the nectar because of the nutrition it provides and the flower benefits by the two pollinating the flower.


Parts of a flower

Polllination is the transfer of pollen grains from the male anther of a flower to a female stigma. You might think there are separate male and female flowers but that’s not normally the case. Most floral reproduction is bisexual, meaning the typical flower has both the male stamen (where the anther is located) and the female pistil (where the stigma is located). There are some exceptions though, such as squash that grow separate male and female plants.


As the hummingbirds hover over their favorite flower they are actually transferring the pollen grains from one plant to the next. They particularly like tubular shaped blossoms because they hold the most nectar.

Hummingbirds have very long narrow beaks which make it easy for the bird to dip its beak into a tube. They do not have a strong sense of smell so it does not matter if the flower is fragrant. Most pollinators are attracted to the scent of a flower so the hummingbirds are doing us a favor by pollinating less aromatic flowers. Hummingbirds prefer the color red.


What flowers attract hummingbirds and butterflies
Butterfly on coneflower

Butterflies also like nectar. It is their flight fuel. They, too, have a weak sense of smell but DO have a discriminating eye for color. Butterflies prefer the colors purple and pink. These beauties also prefer large flat flowers that act as a large landing pad for them. They pollinate the flower by having nectar coated on their bodies and legs and then landing on another blossom. Butterflies also enjoy foraging for food during the day when the flowers are open and in full bloom.

For more information on pollination, click here.

Good Eats Make for Plentiful Flowers

There are many benefits to attracting butterflies and hummingbirds to your garden.

  • Pollination
  • Eliminating certain insects
  • Education
  • Aesthetics

As explained above, it is advantageous to have these lovelies visit your garden to pollinate your flowers. Through pollination you can almost guarantee plentiful flowers.

In addition to pollination, hummingbirds enjoy eating certain types of insects. These include beetles, mosquitos, ants, aphids, weevils, gnats and fruitflies. These are all pesty bugs that you would rather not have in your outdoor oasis.

Butterflies do not eat insects, they’d rather suck the nectar from flowers. They’ll munch on leaves of plants while in the larvaLarva stage stage of metamorphosis.

There are 330 different species of hummingbirds, although most live around the equator. In addition to that, there are about 17,500 species of butterflies scattered around the world, with about 750 varieties in the United States. One can learn so much about these species. In addition to learning their life stages, identifying the different types of hummingbirds and butterflies can be an education in itself. Bird watching and butterfly watching is an enjoyable pass time.

One other benefit of having these exotic creatures in your garden is solely for the aesthetics. Who doesn’t like watching a hummingbird or butterfly gracefully drift over an array of colorful flowers?

If You Plant Them, They Will Come

Hummingbirds and butterflies each prefer a particular diet. They both enjoy nectar, and are fussy when it comes to the shape of the blossom they eat from as stated above. It is important to plant flowers to their liking if you want to attract an abundance of them to your garden.

Buy plants online at Plants Express!

Below is a list of colorful flowers that hummingbirds enjoy. Notice that most are tubular in shape.

Annuals:                         Perennials:                            Biennials:

  • cleomes                          daylilies                                    foxgloves
  • impatiens                        lupines                                      hollyhocks
  • petunias                          bee balms

Below is a list of colorful flowers butterflies swarm to. These flowers are more spreading in nature, providing the butterflies with a comfortable landing pad.

Perennials:                                Annuals:

  • blazing star flowers               lantana
  • black eyed susans                calendula (pot marigolds)Pot Marigold
  • phlox
  • coneflower

If You Supply This, They Will Stay


By providing a good habitat, your hummingbirds will linger. They thrive on enough water, good food, Crepe Myrtleshelter, and security. Try planting some trumpet vines (perennial) that will grow from the ground to about 10 feet. This will supply food and security for them.

You may want to add a bubbling fountain or a soft spray from a sprinkler to water and bathe them. They also enjoy shade so be sure to have a canopy of perhaps a rose of sharon (tall shrub with tubular flowers). A crepe myrtle is also a great tree that will supply shade. It is a fast grower and can top out at 20 feet if you have that variety. They also produce beautiful long clusters of purple, pink or white flowers that bloom from mid to the end of summer and are deer resistant. Click here for hummingbird flowers from Etsy.


Butterflies require a slightly different habitat from hummingbirds. Since they are so light, the wind directly affects them. If you live in the northern hemisphere, plant your tallest shrubs in the northwestern area of your garden and taylor them to the shortest in the southeast. This is because the prevailing winds are from the northwest. If you live in the southern hemisphere, do the reverse. This provides a nice buffer or windbreak for them.

Butterflies love crepe myrtles and butterfly bushes, which are shrubs not flowers but look delightful scattered strategically in a garden. Butterflies are attracted to and prefer specific colors, mainly purple, pink, yellow, white, blue and red in that order. By planting the flowers named in this post you will attract butterflies and will have beautiful blossoms from summer through fall. Butterflies also need a water source and like high humidity. So if you live in a dry climate, it may be difficult to attract butterflies. Click here for butterfly flowers from Etsy.

In conclusion, be sure to supply the following:

  • water
  • food
  • shelter
  • security

One Final Thought

(As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.)

How about hanging a RED hummingbird feeder in your yard? It’s very easy to make the faux nectar.

Red Butterfly Feeder

Recipe for sugar water:   Source –  Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute


  • refined white sugar
  • water


  1. Mix 1 part sugar to 4 parts water (ex: 1 cup sugar to 4 cups water)
  2. Do NOT add red dye. (the dye could impair hatching and/or cause skin and bill tumors)
  3. Fill your feeder with the mixture
  4. Store extra sugar water in refrigerator
  5. Change and clean feeders every other day to prevent mold growth

(Some of the links within this post are affiliate links on which I receive a small compensation from the sale of certain items.)

So What Are You Waiting For?

Isn’t it time you created a beautiful backyard habitat to attract these varieties of fine feathered friends and six-legged, four winged insects? I hope you received a lot of good tips from this post and have learned what flowers attract hummingbirds and butterflies.

If you have any questions regarding this topic, please leave them below. I’ll be sure to get back to you. And let me know what you thought of this post! Here’s to creating beautiful habitats!

Happy gardening.


Comments (8) on "What Flowers Attract Hummingbirds and Butterflies"

  1. I love hummingbirds and I am fortunate to see many of them on my land. Some trees with tubular flowers grow here and the humminghirds just love them! Interesting that butterflies prefer bright colors such as pink and purple. Nature is truly amazing, because many of the native flowers in my area have purple flowers. I let most of the trees and bushes with native flowers be because the bees, hummingbirds, and butterflies like them, and they are also beautiful. 

    Petunias are lovely flowers and I tried to grow them, but it may be difficult because I live in a semi-desert climate. I’ll try again, though.  I leave water out for the birds, but I haven’t added sugar. Would the sugar be bad for other types of birds?

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed the post. Other birds do like sugar water because most birds have a high metabolic rate. The sugar water is good for them. However, if may also lure bear, squirrels, bats and raccoons to the water. Do you have a hummingbird feeder or just a large bird bath type feeder big enough for larger birds? If so, the hummingbirds may feel intimidated by the size of the birds. The other animals that come to the feeder may also feed on the hummingbirds so you want to watch for predators. It’s best to have a regular hummingbird feeder that is small enough for the tiny bird rather than for larger varieties. Set up another area for the large birds and hopefully it will not be visited by other critters! Also, incorporate tubular flowers into your garden so they have a natural way to feast.

      I hope this answered your question. Please feel free to comment some more and let me know how you made out. Also, you may find some other posts in my website that are of some interest to you. 

      Happy gardening.

      PS: Your yard sounds lovely!


  2. Hummingbirds are my all-time favourite bird in the world, although we don’t get them in Australia. When I visited Trinidad many years ago I sat enchanted watching these delicate birds feed on a verandah in the forest. They are so delicate and beautiful. We do have many nectar, honeyeaters and butterflies in Australia and the suggestions you made for plants would work here as well. I have a lovely purple basil plant in my garden that is loaded with native bees all year round.

    I’m going to try some of your other suggestions, the more the merrier.

    1. Thanks so much for your comment. I did not know that Australia didn’t have hummingbirds. You learn something new everyday! I’m glad you got some constructive ideas for your garden. Let me know how you make out. I’d love to see if any of my suggestions worked. And yes, the more the merrier!!

  3. We don’t have hummingbirds, but we do have a lot of butterflies and bees, and I love watching them fly over our flowers and drink nectar. Now I have also impressed my little daughter that she also loves to observe butterflies and bees.
    I did not plan to plant flowers for this reason, but I am very happy to have found your article, and I will be planting some flowers this year, which are especially attractive to butterflies. Thanks for all these ideas and tips that are very helpful for my gardening joy!
    Friendly greeting,

    1. I’m glad you stumbled across my post! Yes, certain flowers will attract hummingbirds and they are so amazing to watch. In fact, I was zooming with my son today and he stopped mid sentence and said, “There’s a hummingbird!” He lives in North Carolina and it was the first sighting of the season. If you can, get a pair of binoculars and watch them flutter. I know your daughter would love that. They’re really amazing! I hope you will explore more of my site. I gear it towards beginning and intermediate gardeners. Please share this website with others you feel would benefit and enjoy. Thanks!

      And thanks again for the comment.


      PS: If you have any other questions or comments, please don’t hesistate to send them my way!

  4. I love to see all types of birds and butterflies in my garden, it is always a sign things are going well.  I was curious if these same techniques would work with bees?  I know there’s been a lot of stress on bee populations and that they need as much help as possible.  Thank you so much for this great info!

    1. Thanks for the comment. You do not want to add the sugar water to a large watering container. It will attract too many bees and will dilute the honey that they eventually make. You’re better off planting lavender (bees really like this) and other colorful flowers and scatter them throughout your garden. Milkweed along with foxgloves, pussywillow and lilac also attract bees. You could also buy bee “houses”. I was recently at Home Depot and saw them for sale. You would have to read up on how to use them to the best advantage for the bees.  Do not use pesticides in your garden. They will harm not only the bees but the butterflies and hummingbirds. Stay natural when it comes to protecting your plants. You just gave me another thought for one of my next posts! Natural ingredients to tame pesky insects! I do cover some of that in one of my other posts called “Planting Herbs In a Garden” https://bestgardeningforbeginn… I hope this answered your question. If you have any more questions or comments, please ask. I’ll be sure to answer them.


      PS: Please share my site with other gardeners you may know. Thanks!

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