Natives to attract Hummingbirds

In early spring, the first-blooming plants that attract hummingbirds are flush with flower, and the little birds are showing up to feast on the nectar. The Anna’s Hummingbird is a year-round resident here on the west side of the Cascades, and when the weather warms the Rufous Hummingbird arrives to spend the summer.

With a little planning, you can be sure to provide something in bloom for these delightful birds throughout the season (of course there are plenty of non-native plants that are hummingbird magnets, too, so you can do a lot of mixing and matching to suit your own garden and tastes).

Year-round hummingbirds with NW native plants:

Late winter/early spring

mahonia aquifolium

Mahonia aquifolium

Late winter/early spring, you might catch a glimpse of a hummingbird if you have any Mahonia aquifolium: Tall Oregon Grape in bloom.

Some years it comes into flower as early as January, though more commonly it first appears in February/March.

ribes sanguineum

Ribes sanguineum

Red Flowering Currant, Ribes sanguineum is probably the first real hummer magnet to come into bloom, with its bright pink of flowers.

The white-flowering form is also attractive to them. Later on in the season, yellow R. aureum and R. speciosum are also favorites.

dicentra formosa

Dicentra formosa

Western Bleeding Heart, Dicentra formosa, with its bright green, fern-like foliage and delicately pink heart-shaped flowers atop 1-2’ stalks will help bring hummingbirds to your shade garden throughout the spring.

This plant goes dormant in the summer, but its leaves are some of the first to appear, a real harbinger of spring.

aquilegia formosa

Aquilegia formosa

One of the most strikingly beautiful of all Columbines is our own Aquilegia formosa. Fiery orange-red spurs and sepals surround bright yellow inner petals.

It is a hummingbird favorite and will bring them back again and again throughout the spring and into summer.

Tolerant of full sun to partial shade, Aquilegia formosa is considered a short-lived perennial, but as it generously self-seeds, you can be assured of this beauty in your garden every year. And you generally don’t need to worry about it over-seeding: sparrows and finches are fond of the seeds, making this a multi-use habitat plant.

Lonicera ciliosa
Lonicera hispidula

Lonicera ciliosa

Honeysuckles’ tubular flowers make them an ideal hummingbird plant, and one of the best is Lonicera ciliosa. And somewhat unusual, it’s a flowering vine preferring open shade to only partial sun.

The bright yellow-orange clusters of tubular flowers are too narrow for bumblebees to enter, so hummingbirds pretty much have this one to themselves.

It grows to about fifteen feet, and blooms solidly through spring.

The shorter in stature Hairy Honeysuckle Lonicera hispidula blooms from late spring to early summer and in similar conditions as Lonicera ciliosa.

One note of caution if you have small children at home: the bright red berries of both plants are considered potentially poisonous to humans.


Summer and Autumn

Summer and into autumn brings forth a parade of flowering plants attractive to hummingbirds:
cascade penstemon

Penstemon

Penstemon is the largest genus for attracting hummingbirds, most widespread in North America, including approximately 270 species. Every state in the continental U.S. can count at least one native Penstemon amongst its ranks.

There are several species native to Oregon, found mostly in drier, rocky locations. Excellent for rock gardens or containers, they range in flower color from shades of pink through blues to violet and purple. All have the signature, tubular flowers and intense color that readily attract hummingbirds to the garden. See our feature on Native Penstemon.

Find Natives for your garden

We offer a great selection of Northwest Natives from spring through fall. The plants featured are highlighted favorites, but they do not represent ALL of the plants we carry. For a more complete list, see our Northwest Native Plant List.

Natives

Abies: Native Fir

Natives

Acer Circinatum: Vine Maple

Natives

Actaea: Bugbane

Natives

Aquilegia: Columbine

Natives

Arbutus: Pacific Madrone

Natives

Asarum: Wild Ginger

Natives

Asclepias: Milkweed

Natives

Attracting Butterflies

Natives

Camassia: Camas

Natives

Ceanothus: Wild Lilac

Natives

Cornus sericea

Red Twig Dogwood
Natives

Corylus cornuta

Beaked Hazelnut
Natives

Dodecatheon: Shooting Star

Natives

Edible Fruits

Natives

Erigeron: Fleabane

Natives

Eriophyllum: Oregon Sunshine

Natives

Native Ferns

Natives

Fragaria: Wild Strawberry

Natives

Gaultheria shallon: Salal

Natives

Holodiscus: Oceanspray

Natives

Attracting Hummingbirds

Natives

Native Iris

Natives

Lewisia: Bitterroot

Natives

Mahonia: Oregon Grape

Natives

Malus fusca

Western Crabapple
Natives

Osmaronia: Indian Plum

Natives

Penstemon: Beard Tongue

Natives

Philadelphus: Mock Orange

Natives

Physocarpus

Western Ninebark
Natives

Pinus: Native Pine

Natives

Quercus: Garry Oak

Natives

Rhamnus: Cascara

Natives

Ribes: Wild Currant

Natives

Rosa: Wild Rose

Natives

Rubus: Salmonberry

Natives

Sambucus: Elderberry

Natives

Sedum: Stonecrop

Natives

Sidalcea: Checker Mallow

Natives

Sisyrinchium

Blue-eyed Grass
Natives

Solidago: Goldenrod

Natives

Symphoricarpos: Snowberry

Natives

Synthyris: Native Figwort

Natives

Trillium: Wake Robin

Natives

Vaccinium: Huckleberry

Natives

Vancouveria: Inside-out Flower

Natives

Viburnum trilobum

Cranberrybush
Natives

Viola: Violet

Natives

Winter Interest