One of the best ways to attract hummingbirds to your yard is to plant native plants, especially those pollinated by hummingbirds. That is because hummingbirds are some of the most important pollinators of flowers in the United States.
Have you noticed similarities between the shape of the honeysuckle and the hummingbird’s beak? If so, why is that the case?
Hummingbirds and honeysuckles co-evolved, so they rely on each other for survival. The hummingbird is a pollinator, while the flower provides an essential energy source.
Hummingbirds are perfectly adapted to drink nectar from these tubular flowers because of their long, slender bills.
Honeysuckles have long, colorful, tubular flowers that give off a lovely fragrance. Those are perfect attributes for hummingbirds as they don’t have a good sense of smell, but they do have a keen eye for bright colors.
For that reason, hummingbirds love honeysuckles.
Hummingbirds stick their heads into the flowers, and the pollen gets stuck on their heads and backs.
Hummingbirds move from one flower to the next as they feed, and in doing so, they drop off pollen from one flower into another and pollinate the flowers.
Why Do Hummingbirds Love Honeysuckles?
The answer lies in the morphology of the beautiful flowers. Tubular flowers usually contain the largest quantities of nectar, making the shape attractive to hummingbirds.
Honeysuckles also usually have brightly colored flowers. Hummingbirds are attracted to bright colors such as red, orange, yellow, purple, and pink. The honeysuckles are often colored in that way. So naturally, the hummingbirds investigate them.
Hummingbirds feed by hovering, so being able to stick their long, curved beaks down tubular flowers is the ideal situation for them, as they don’t need to perch to reach the nectar.
Honeysuckles also have large blooms that last from spring until autumn, making them even more attractive to hummingbirds as they provide a consistent, quality food source after their long migrations.
Therefore, the combination of bright colors, tubular shape, large quantities of nectar, and a long blooming period makes them the perfect plants for hummingbirds.
The Best Honeysuckles For Hummingbirds
The honeysuckles are a diverse group of flowering plants that comprise around 180 species worldwide, of which about 20 species occur in North America.
When choosing which species of honeysuckle to plant in your yard, you should always select a native species from your area.
You shouldn’t plant non-native species like Morrow’s Honeysuckle and Japanese (Hall’s) Honeysuckle in your yard. Hummingbirds will still feed on the invasive species, but other problems could arise from planting invasive species.
You shouldn’t plant an invasive species because they outgrow native species and are poisonous, so they could be dangerous to children and animals. In some cases, they even secrete toxins into the soil.
Different honeysuckle species often look very similar, making native and invasive species challenging to separate. Before you plant any honeysuckles, ensure you know which species you’re planting.
To determine which honeysuckle species is the correct one to plant in your yard to attract hummingbirds, you need to know which species grows best and is native to your area.
Hummingbirds sometimes prefer certain plant species, so knowing which species visits your region will also help determine the flower species.
The honeysuckle species that is best for your yard depends on where you live. Luckily, there are usually a variety of honeysuckles to choose from, and the best ones for different parts of the United States are described below.
The Trumpet Honeysuckle is widely considered the best hummingbird attractant in North America. This perennial flowering vine is indigenous to the eastern parts of the United States.
They have long, slender, red flowers with plenty of nectar for hummingbirds. They flower throughout summer and into fall.
The Ruby-throated Hummingbird loves feeding on this species.
The Orange Honeysuckle is indigenous to the western United States and equivalent to the east’s Trumpet Honeysuckle. This species blooms long, slender, orange-red flowers in late spring and throughout summer.
This is the perfect plant for attracting the Rufous Hummingbird.
The Coral Honeysuckle is the go-to species if you live in the southern area of the Great Plains region and further east. They have red flowers that bloom in mid-spring and throughout the summer.
You’ll attract Ruby-throated and Black-chinned Hummingbirds to your yard with this species.
If you live in the southwestern portion of the United States, then these hardy plants are ideal for attracting hummingbirds to your yard. They have beautiful yellow, orange, or red tubular flowers that bloom in spring and summer.
The Costa’s hummingbird is drawn to this honeysuckle species.
American Fly Honeysuckle
The American Fly Honeysuckle is indigenous to the northeastern United States. They have yellow, tubular flowers that bloom at the end of spring and summer.
If you plant this species in your yard, then you could attract the Ruby-throated Hummingbird.
The Yellow Honeysuckle is native to the southeastern United States and is another excellent option if you live in that region. The flowers this species produces are yellow-orange, and the blooming period begins in spring.
This is another species that attracts Ruby-throated Hummingbirds.
The Twinberry Honeysuckle is indigenous to the western United States. This species flowers in summer and produces small, yellow, tubular flowers.
By planting this species, you could attract Broad-tailed, Black-chinned, and Anna’s Hummingbirds to your yard.
Hummingbird’s Favorite Flowers
Even though hummingbirds are perfectly adapted to feed on honeysuckles, they also feed on other flowering plants, especially those with tubular flowers.
Some of their favorite other plants are:
- Trumpet vine
- Cypress vine
- Bee balm
- Morning glories
- Flowering tobacco
- Hyacinth bean vine
- Yellow bells
Hummingbirds love honeysuckles. Their tubular shape, bright coloration, large nectar pool, and relatively long blooming period make them the perfect hummingbird attractants.
There are many honeysuckles to choose from in North America that are native to different regions. When you want to plant honeysuckles in your yard, try to plant a species that is native to your area and avoid invasive species.
Planting honeysuckles not only attracts hummingbirds, but they increase the biodiversity of your yard too. Butterflies, bees, and other insects also get their share of nectar from the beautiful flowers.
Planting various types of plants in addition to honeysuckles and putting up a feeder increases the chances of attracting a hummingbird and provides the hummingbird with more reasons to stay in your yard for the season.
Certain other species, like the trumpet vine and cypress vine, are perfect additions to your yard as they are crucial for hummingbirds when they need to rest. Hummingbirds require perches for resting, and the twining branches are perfect for them. The entangled vines also make for excellent nesting sites and sheltering areas.