Do Hummingbirds Like Sunflowers? (Yes! Here’s the Reason Why)

Wondering, do hummingbirds like sunflowers? The answer is yes—however, sunflowers are not as popular with hummingbirds as other types of flowers.

Sunflowers, with their bright colors and large blooms, can catch the attention of these small birds as they search for food sources.

And although sunflowers are not the top choice for hummingbirds, they still provide valuable nectar for hummingbirds, and their presence in the garden can contribute to a more diverse and abundant habitat for these flying gems.

Keep reading to find out why hummingbirds might sip nectar from sunflowers, and how you can ensure these amazing little birds visit your garden more often.

Key Takeaways

  • Hummingbirds are indeed attracted to sunflowers for their nectar.
  • Though not their top choice, sunflowers still provide a valuable food source for hummingbirds.
  • The presence of sunflowers in a garden can help create a diverse and abundant habitat, supporting a variety of wildlife.

Why Do Hummingbirds Like Sunflowers?

a field of yellow sunflowers

Hummingbirds are delightful creatures that are attracted to flowers with nectar.

Although red tubular flowers are famous for attracting hummingbirds, sunflowers can also catch their attention and provide them with a tasty treat.

Sunflowers may not have the typical shape of flowers that hummingbirds prefer, but they have easy-to-access nectar that appeals to these birds.

The center of sunflowers is filled with dozens or hundreds of tiny florets, and each one is a complete flower, with nectar for hummingbirds to feast on.

Read Next: Do Hummingbirds Like Lavender?

Role of Sunflowers in a Hummingbird Garden

  • Adding sunflowers to your hummingbird garden is a great way to provide both beauty and sustenance for these fascinating birds. Apart from sunflowers, it’s crucial to include a variety of flowering plants in your garden that attract hummingbirds and other pollinators.
  • Sunflowers are exceptional not only for their stunning appearance, but also for their ability to attract a wide range of pollinators, including hummingbirds.
  • When incorporated into a hummingbird garden, these vibrant flowers can create a visually appealing landscape and create a safe haven for hummingbirds to enjoy.
  • To maximize the potential of your hummingbird garden, ensure to provide an ample supply of nectar-rich flowers, water sources, and perching areas. By creating a diverse and welcoming environment, you’ll encourage these amazing birds to keep visiting your garden, and you’ll get to enjoy their presence.

Sunflower Varieties

Sunflowers come in a wide range of varieties, each with its own unique characteristics. They can be categorized into two main types: annual sunflowers and perennial sunflowers. Both types attract hummingbirds as well as other birds, such as woodpeckers and pine siskins.

Annual Sunflowers

Annual sunflowers are known for their large, colorful blooms and tall, sturdy stems. Some popular varieties include:

  • Giant Sunflower: With massive seed heads and heights reaching over 10 feet, these sunflowers are particularly popular among woodpeckers and other birds who feast on their seeds.
  • Russian Sunflower: Similar to the giant sunflower, the Russian sunflower also boasts large seed heads and can grow quite tall.
  • Autumn Beauty Sunflower: This variety offers a mix of warm colors, from deep reds to golden yellows, making it a beautiful addition to any garden.

Annual sunflower seeds can be easily planted in various soil types and require minimal maintenance throughout the growing season. The florets of these sunflowers produce small drops of nectar that attract hummingbirds, and their seed heads provide a rich food source for birds like woodpeckers and pine siskins.

Perennial Sunflowers

Perennial sunflowers return year after year, providing lasting beauty and a consistent source of nectar for hummingbirds. They tend to be smaller in size compared to annual varieties but still offer an abundance of flowers. Some popular perennial sunflower varieties include:

  • Maximilian Sunflower: This sunflower can grow up to 10 feet tall and produces an array of small, yellow flowers.
  • Swamp Sunflower: Ideal for moist environments, the swamp sunflower sports vibrant yellow blooms on tall, slender stems.
  • False Sunflower: The false sunflower, also known as Heliopsis, resembles a classic sunflower but is actually part of the daisy family. It typically grows between 3-6 feet tall and has golden-yellow flowers.

A mix of annual and perennial sunflower varieties can help you ensure a garden that appeals to these fascinating birds and continues to enchant you year after year.

Other Attractive Flowers to Hummingbirds

cluster or purple salvia flowers growing outdoors

In addition to sunflowers, hummingbirds are attracted to various other flowers in the garden.

This section will discuss attractive flowers for hummingbirds, splitting them into two main categories: annuals and perennials.

Annuals for Hummingbirds

Annual plants live for one growing season, producing flowers and seeds before dying off. Below are some stellar annual flowers that hummingbirds adore:

  • Salvia: This flower comes in various colors and is a favorite of hummingbirds, thanks to its tubular-shaped blooms, perfect for sipping nectar.
  • Petunias: With their trumpet-shaped flowers, petunias provide easy access for hummingbirds to feed on nectar while adding vibrant color to the garden.
  • Foxglove: Tall and stately, foxgloves produce bell-shaped blooms that attract hummingbirds with their easily-accessible nectar.

If you want more annual flowers that attract hummingbirds, check out this post.

Perennials for Hummingbirds

Perennial flowers return year after year, offering a reliable source of nectar for hummingbirds. Some popular perennials among these birds include:

  • Bee balm: Also known as Monarda, bee balm produces clusters of bright, tubular flowers that are highly appealing to hummingbirds.
  • Butterfly bush: This aptly named plant not only attracts butterflies but also draws in hummingbirds with its fragrant, nectar-rich blooms.
  • Delphinium: Tall spikes of tubular flowers make delphinium an attractive choice for hummingbirds, providing both nourishment and shelter.
  • Cardinal flower: A North American native, the cardinal flower boasts brilliant red blooms that are irresistible to hummingbirds.
  • Sage: This plant has beautiful blooms that come in various colors, making it a charming nectar source for hummingbirds and a great addition to any garden.
  • Roses: Though not as nectar-rich as other flowers on this list, roses can still attract hummingbirds, especially those with single or semi-double petals.
  • Lilacs: The sweet scent and colorful flowers of lilacs make them appealing to hummingbirds, who feed on the nectar produced in their clusters of small blooms.
  • Irises: Elegant irises produce large, showy flowers that provide small amounts of nectar, enticing hummingbirds to visit them in a garden setting.

Read Also: Perennial Flowers That Attract Hummingbirds

Hummingbird Feeders

ruby throated hummingbird flying to a red bird feeder

Nectar feeders are the most common type of hummingbird feeder, designed to mimic the nectar-rich flowers that hummingbirds naturally feed on. They are typically filled with a sugar solution, simulating the nectar that these birds would find in their natural environment.

When choosing a nectar feeder, opt for one with bright colors, such as red or orange, to catch the hummingbirds’ attention more easily.

It’s important to maintain cleanliness and provide fresh sugar solution to encourage regular visits from hummingbirds.

To make your own sugar solution, mix one part granulated sugar with four parts boiling water. Be sure to avoid using honey or artificial sweeteners, as these can be harmful to hummingbirds.

Creating a Hummingbird-Friendly Habitat

When it comes to attracting hummingbirds to your garden, providing a suitable habitat is crucial. A well-planned garden will not only entice these beautiful birds but also help them thrive and flourish.

Here are some key elements to consider when creating a hummingbird-friendly habitat.

Shelter and Nesting

  • Dense foliage: To ensure hummingbirds feel safe and secure in your garden, provide various types of shelter and nesting areas. Dense foliage, such as shrubs and trees, can offer protection from predators and adverse weather conditions.
  • Native plants: When choosing plants for your garden, consider native plants that are ideally suited to your local climate and location. Sunflowers are an excellent choice, as hummingbirds are drawn to them for their numerous, nectar-filled tubular flowers.
  • Nesting materials: In addition to plants, gardeners can also provide nesting materials to make it easier for hummingbirds to build their nests. Soft materials like moss, lichen, and small leaves can be left in quiet, shaded areas of the garden.
  • Safe perches: Stalks and branches make great perches for resting hummingbirds, allowing them to survey the area and locate nectar sources.

Water Sources

  • Clean water: Just like any other living creature, hummingbirds need water for survival. Providing consistent, clean water sources is an essential aspect of creating a hummingbird-friendly habitat. Remember to change water frequently to ensure cleanliness and reduce the chance of mosquito breeding.
  • Moving water: Hummingbirds enjoy shallow, flat water sources, such as bird baths, that are outfitted with misters or drippers. These moving water sources not only meet their hydration needs but also help keep their feathers clean.
  • Preening area: Placing a perch nearby offers a preening station for wet hummingbirds, ensuring they have everything they need to feel comfortable and secure in your garden.

Pollination and Wildlife

Beneficial Insects

Sunflowers are known to attract a variety of beneficial insects that aid in pollination, including butterflies, bees, and flies. These pollinators flock to the numerous tiny, tubular-shaped flowers that make up the sunflower’s dark center, which is loaded with nectar.

Additionally, sunflowers are also known to entice spiders, which can help control pests in the backyard ecosystem.

To create a more inviting environment for pollinators, try planting sunflowers alongside other colorful hummingbird flowers like trumpet honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens) and mountain columbine (Aquilegia).

Non-Beneficial Insects and Animals

While sunflowers can attract a broad range of helpful species, some unwanted insects and animals can also be drawn to these vibrant plants. Some of these non-beneficial insects include moths, aphids, and seed weevils, so pay attention to their presence.

On the other hand, there is also potential for larger animals like deer, mice, and rabbits to be attracted to sunflowers.

To keep them at bay, consider employing strategies such as using deer-resistant perennials like daylilies, cleomes, and impatiens, or adding a layer of mulch around the sunflower stems to deter rabbits.

Aside from sunflowers, other attractive flowering plants favored by hummingbirds include zinnias, red hot poker, bleeding heart, petunias, and dianthus.

When choosing plants to add to your garden, consider factors like growing zones and bloom times. It is also important to provide nesting and food sources like protein-rich insects to support the local wildlife population.

Other Bird Species Attracted to Sunflowers

Sunflowers don’t only attract hummingbirds; they also serve as a magnet for various other bird species. Their nutrient-rich seeds and eye-catching appearance make them a favorite among several birds.

  • Some common visitors that you can expect to see feasting on sunflower seeds include cardinals, grosbeaks, chickadees, titmice, crows, and jays. These birds relish the seeds, and their presence can enhance the biodiversity in your garden.
  • Goldfinches, nuthatches, sparrows, buntings, and juncos also find sunflowers irresistible. They love perching on the sunflower heads, picking out the seeds, and enjoying the feast. Sunflowers provide an important food source for these birds, especially during migration and winter months when other food options may be scarce.
  • Besides serving as a food source, sunflowers also offer shelter and nesting opportunities for birds like redpolls. These beautiful birds use sunflower heads to build nests and seek refuge from predators. Planting sunflowers in your garden not only adds a pop of color but also supports the local bird population.

Clearly, sunflowers play a vital role in attracting a diverse range of birds to your garden. Planting these gorgeous flowers not only creates a beautiful landscape, but also promotes a healthy environment for various bird species.

So, go ahead and add some sunflower plants to your garden and enjoy the flurry of avian activity they bring!

Frequently Asked Questions

What flowers attract hummingbirds the most?

There are a variety of flowers that hummingbirds are particularly attracted to, due to their high nectar content and bright coloration.

Some popular choices include bee balm, cardinal flowers, trumpet vine, and sunflowers. These types of flowers have tubular shapes and vibrant colors, which are perfect for attracting these small, nectar-loving birds.

Do roses appeal to hummingbirds?

While roses are not specifically known to attract hummingbirds, these birds may still visit roses in search for insects to eat, as they often feed on both nectar and insects for protein.

However, roses don’t produce much nectar, so they are not the best choice if your primary goal is to draw in hummingbirds.

Are petunias a good choice for attracting hummingbirds?

Petunias can indeed be a good choice for attracting hummingbirds. They have brightly colored, tubular-shaped flowers that provide an ample source of nectar.

Planting a mix of colors and types of petunias will increase their visual appeal to both hummingbirds and human admirers.

Which plants are best for drawing in hummingbirds and butterflies?

In addition to sunflowers, there are various plants that can attract both hummingbirds and butterflies. Some of the top choices include zinnias, butterfly bush, lantana, and echinacea.

Planting a combination of these flowers with different heights, colors, and blooming periods will create a vibrant and dynamic garden that appeals to a variety of pollinators.

Do calibrachoa plants invite hummingbirds?

Calibrachoa plants are also referred to as “million bells” due to their profusion of small, bell-like flowers. These plants can attract hummingbirds, thanks to their tubular-shaped flowers and bright colors.

They are a good addition to container gardens and hanging baskets, providing beautiful blooms and an enticing source of nectar for hummingbirds.

Are begonias a suitable flower for hummingbirds?

While begonias might not be top-of-mind when it comes to attracting hummingbirds, these plants can still be visited by these energetic birds.

Their brightly colored flowers can be inviting, although they may not provide the same amount of nectar as some other more hummingbird-friendly options.

However, utilizing begonias alongside plant varieties specifically known to attract hummingbirds can still contribute to a diverse and visually appealing garden space.

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