The delicate flutter of a hummingbird's wings is a cherished sight for many garden enthusiasts in New York. A garden buzzing with these tiny, iridescent creatures elevates its aesthetic appeal and its ecological vitality. This article introduces you to a selection of native plants that attract hummingbirds in New York, ensuring a vibrant and harmonious garden space.
Presenting the best native New York plants that attract hummingbirds
These are the plants that you’re going to want in your New York garden if the intention is to attract hummingbirds. Whether you want to attract the splendid Ruby-Throated Hummingbird or the migrating Rufous Hummingbird, here are the plants that will do it. Let’s jump straight into the list.
Lobelia cardinalis) are an irresistible lure for hummingbirds. It's a compact plant that fits well in small to medium-sized gardens growing to a height of 2-4 feet and spreading 1-2 feet..
The blooming period from July to October coincides with the hummingbirds' active months, providing them with a reliable nectar source. As a Hummingbird Haven Plant Collections star, it underscores its value in attracting these delightful birds.
Swamp azalea shrub
Swamp azalea shrub (Rhododendron viscosum) stands out with its splendid floral display from May to August. Reaching a moderate height and spread of 3-5 feet, it's a perfect fit for gardens, big or small.
The shrub thrives under full sun to part shade and prefers moist, well-drained, acidic soil rich in organic material. While it's a magnet for hummingbirds, it also attracts butterflies, native bees, and beneficial insects, creating a bustling hub of activity in your garden.
Orange butterfly milkweed
The fiery blooms of the orange butterfly milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa) are a beacon for hummingbirds and various other pollinators. This plant is an incredible summer spectacle from June through to September. It’s also part of the Monarch Munchables 18-Plant Collection, showcasing its value for Monarch butterflies alongside hummingbirds.
Thriving under full sun, it's a hardy choice for various soil types, whether it be moist, medium, or dry. Plus, it's deer-resistant, making it a worry-free choice for open gardens.
Rhododendron periclymenoides), also known as pinxterbloom azalea, is a native deciduous shrub that presents a spectacle of fragrant, showy flowers from March to May before the leaves emerge. Growing to a height of 3-6 feet with a spread of 4-7 feet, pink azalea is a stunning addition to shrub borders or woodland gardens. While its blooms are a draw for hummingbirds, it also supports a host of other pollinators.
Agastache foeniculum), a part of our Fragrant Power Flowers 6-Plant Collection, stands at 2-4 feet with a spread of 1.5-3 feet. Its blooming period spans from June to September, offering a long nectar season for hummingbirds.
Thriving in full sun to part shade, it's a versatile choice for gardens with varying light conditions. Besides being deer resistant, it's a magnet for a variety of other pollinators, enhancing the ecological value of your garden.
The elegant swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) is another gem among the plants that attract hummingbirds in New York. It has a graceful stature of 2-4 feet tall and a blooming period from June to October, offering an extended window of vibrant colors.
This gorgeous plant, which also shines in our Rain Garden 12-Plant Collection, prefers full sun to part shade and can tolerate a range of soil moisture levels from wet to medium. It’s not only a hummingbird favorite but also a host plant for monarch butterflies, showcasing its dual benefits.
The bright, sun-like blooms of the oxeye sunflower (Heliopsis helianthoides), part of our Summer Songbird Plant Collections, stretch up to 3-6 feet tall with a spread of 2-4 feet, making a bold statement in the garden from June to September. Its hearty nature allows it to thrive in full sun and part shade while attracting hummingbirds and a choir of other songbirds and pollinators. This deer-resistant plant is a robust choice for a garden aiming to be a hummingbird haven.
Lastly, the Foxglove Beardtongue (Penstemon digitalis), featured in our Pollinator Picnic and Monarch Munchables Plant Collections, boasts elegant, tubular flowers from May to July that are perfect for hummingbird foraging. With a height range of 2-5 feet and a spread of 1.5-2 feet, it's a versatile choice for various garden sizes.
It’s adaptable to a range of soil moisture levels and light conditions, too, making it a hassle-free addition to your garden. It’s a worry-free choice for attracting hummingbirds in New York gardens.
Why native plants?
When it comes to promoting a thriving ecosystem, especially in a distinctive environment like New York, opting for native plants is a wise choice. This is particularly true for those looking to create a haven for local wildlife, including the enchanting hummingbirds. The unique bond between native plants and hummingbirds has been forged over centuries, leading to a mutually beneficial relationship that significantly contributes to the local ecosystem’s health.
One of the most compelling reasons for choosing native plants is their exceptional adaptability to the New York climate and soil conditions. They have evolved over time to thrive in the local environment, making them a resilient choice that tends to require less water, zero fertilizer, and less time spent on overall maintenance. This adaptability extends to harsh winters and hot summers typical of New York, ensuring a lush garden year-round.
Native plants are essential to the food web that sustains the local wildlife, including hummingbirds. The nectar from native plants provides the much-needed energy for hummingbirds' high metabolism. Unlike many non-native plants, native flora offers a balanced nectar rich in essential nutrients, catering to the dietary needs of hummingbirds. This distinction is crucial because some non-native plants may offer less nutritious nectar, which could impact the hummingbirds' health and vitality.
The relationship between native plants and hummingbirds transcends mere nectar provision. Hummingbirds play a critical role as pollinators, aiding in the reproductive process of plants. As they flit from flower to flower, sipping nectar, they transfer pollen, facilitating the production of seeds that will lead to more plants. This pollination service is indispensable for maintaining a robust plant population, which, in turn, contributes to a balanced and thriving ecosystem.
The best plants that attract hummingbirds in New York are a special category of flora that not only beautifies our gardens but also plays a crucial role in supporting local biodiversity. Through the act of choosing these native plants, gardeners can contribute to a healthier, more vibrant ecosystem while enjoying the mesmerizing sight of hummingbirds darting amidst the flowers.
It’s also worth knowing that the presence of hummingbirds can be a natural deterrent to certain pests, contributing to a healthier garden. Their preference for small insects, such as aphids and mosquitoes, provides a natural form of pest control, reducing the need for chemical interventions.
In a state where urbanization continues to encroach upon natural habitats, creating hummingbird-friendly gardens using native plants is a small but significant step towards preserving New York’s natural heritage. The choice of plants that attract hummingbirds in New York fosters a personal connection with the local wildlife and serves as a testament to a broader commitment to ecological stewardship.
The interplay between native plants and hummingbirds is a beautiful manifestation of nature’s intricacies. By opting for plants that attract hummingbirds in New York, gardeners are rewarded with a lively, colorful garden and the satisfaction of contributing to the well-being of the local ecosystem.
If you’d like more information about gardening in New York, check out our comprehensive Ultimate Guide to Gardening in New York.
When planting these native plants, consider placing them near windows, patios, or walkways where you can enjoy the close-up view of hummingbirds. Grouping similar plants together can also create a more substantial visual impact, while attracting more hummingbirds to your garden.
Creating a hummingbird-friendly habitat
Beyond the native plants, ensuring a fresh water supply, avoiding pesticides, and incorporating perches for these winged beauties can further enhance your garden's appeal to hummingbirds.
If you want more information about how to see more hummingbirds in your New York garden, check out our in-depth guide: How to Attract Hummingbirds with Native Plants.
Creating a hummingbird-friendly garden is a rewarding venture. By choosing from this list of plants that attract hummingbirds in New York, you're setting up a lively spectacle in your backyard and contributing to the local ecosystem. So, pick some of these native plants, and let the magic unfold in your garden.
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