Attracting Hummingbirds to Your Backyard Wildlife Habitat Site

A hummingbird sipping on nectar.

Tiny, iridescent hummingbirds are an exciting addition to your habitat. Hummingbirds visit the Carolinas from March through November and you can attract them by planting red, tubular flowers.

Over 160 native North American plants depend exclusively on hummingbirds for pollination. Many red-flowered annuals, perennials, vines, and shrubs available from mail order sources or local garden centers are developed from the native red-flowered plants of the western hemisphere.

Hummingbird Plant List

Here is a list of some plants that are native to the Carolinas and are generally successful in attracting hummingbirds:

American Plum
Bottlebrush Buckeye
Cardinal Flower
Carolina Jasmine
Coral Honeysuckle
Crestid Iris
Downy Phlox
Fire Pinks
Florida Azalea
Indian Pinks
Lyreleaf Sage
Red Buckeye
Tulip Poplar
Wild Columbine
Wild Rhododendron

Important Hummingbird Feeder Facts

Hummingbirds in the United States feed on flower nectar and many small insects. Your garden should provide a healthy, steady diet of both. Beginning in March, hang hummingbird feeders in the shade. Be sure to clean and refill feeders every two-three days under normal circumstances. If you go on vacation, take the feeder down to prevent fermentation while you are gone. Fill with a boiled solution of four parts water to one part white refined sugar or commercial nectar mix. Do not use honey solutions in feeders as they may produce a fungal disease fatal to hummingbirds. Clean sugar water feeders every three to five days using a brush and a mild detergent solution. Rinse well.


  • The smallest bird in the world, the Cuban Bee hummingbirs is 2 inches long, about the size of a bumble bee.
  • Hummingbirds, like helicopters, can hover. They can move ahead, sideways or backward at will.
  • A Ruby-throated hummingbird, weighing about one tenth of an ounce can travel 600 miles in migration.
  • Hummingbirds may drink up to eight times their body weight daily.
  • Although their normal body temperature is about 103*F, it may drop to 70*F at night. They have the ability to endure temporary cool weather or cool nights by becoming dormant.
  • There are 340 species of hummingbirds in the world. All are found in the western hemisphere. Of these, only one, the Ruby-throated hummingbird, is regularly found east of the Mississippi River.
  • Flying consumes a great deal of a hummingbird’ss energy, with wingbeats measured at 20-200 beats per second.
  • Pesticides, especially sprays, can be lethal to hummers. Even if they do not take in enough nectar dosed with malathion, Sevin or diazinon to kill them directly, the number of small insects available to them in your garden will drop dramatically. This may cause starvation and/or death of the young.

Other Excellent Hummingbird Resources:

Operation RubyThroat

How to Attract Hummingbirds and Butterflies; Ortho Books, 1991.

The Hummingbird Book; Stokes, Donald W. and Lillian Q. Little Brown and Co., 1989.

The Hummingbird Garden; Tekulsky, Matthew. Crown Publishers, 1990.