How to Attract Hummingbirds to Your Garden

Hummingbirds are welcome visitors to many gardens, but can be challenging to attract. Hummingbirds prefer native species for nesting, so it is a good idea to use native plants in your garden if you want attract these beautiful creatures in your backyard. Besides their good looks, Hummingbirds also serve an important purpose by pollinating the plants in your garden. While some plants are pollinated by the wind or are self-pollinating, the vast majority rely on species like hummingbirds to carry pollen from one individual plant to another. When a hummingbird inserts its beak into a flower to drink the nectar, sticky pollen grains cling to the side of its beak.They then move from flower to flower, pollinating the other plants in the garden transferring the pollen grains on their beak as they fly about, allowing plants to reproduce and bloom. Hummingbirds also have great memories and will remember food sources from previous years!


San Mateo County has several Hummingbird species native to the area, including:


  • Black-chinned Hummingbird
  • Anna's Hummingbird
  • Costa's Hummingbird
  • Rufous Hummingbird
  • Allen's Hummingbird
  • Calliope Hummingbird
  • Broad-billed Hummingbird


Here are our plant recommendations and tips for attracting these beautifully vibrant visitors into your garden:


Plants: Birds have naturally fast metabolisms so plants that produce many flowers are especially attractive to hummingbirds since the food supply will be large enough to feed them. Plants with long tubular flowers and within the red color range are especially prized by hummingbirds. Our top plant choices include California Fuschia and Hummingbird Sage. Other plants that are favored by hummingbirds include:


  • Coral Bells
  • Monkeyflower
  • Coyote Mint
  • Bush Snapdragon
  • Penstemon
  • Cleveland, Autumn and Summer Sage
  • Baja Fairy Duster
  • Wooly Blue Curls
  • Native honeysuckle vine


You can find these plants at our, Our Water Our World partner nurseries, listed here.

If you want the perfect hummingbird sanctuary, be sure to also include a rain garden, bird bath or source of trickling water! Rain gardens can soak up as much as 30 percent more water than conventional lawns, and if planned right, they also provide a natural habitat for hummingbirds. Another water-wise way to maintain your hummingbird sanctuary is with a rain barrel. You can even get a rain barrel rebate on our website here!


Follow these recommendations and expect to see some hummingbirds visiting your garden soon!