Do Hostas Attract Hummingbirds?

Hummingbirds and hostas are both treasured by gardeners. See why they go well together.

Do hostas attract hummingbirds? To answer that question, all you have to do is examine the flowers (yes, this beautiful foliage plant has flowers!). They’re tubular in shape and filled with sweet nectar. That means one thing: hummingbird magnet.

Avoid This Common Mistake

People often plant hostas for the lush mounds of foliage, which are a great way to add interest to shady areas, especially when the plants are variegated or have a chartreuse or blue-gray hue. Some are so enamored with the foliage, though, that they remove the flowers to keep them from competing visually.

That’s a shame because the flowers are not only handsome — they rise well above the foliage, in colors from white to lavender — but they last up to six weeks. So the hummingbirds will find the buffet line open for some time.

Keep Your Hostas Happy

Hostas are a great plant, and not just because they attract hummingbirds. They’re easy to grow, and tolerate different soils as long as the soil is well drained. Hostas take full to part shade, although morning sunlight, which is less intense, intensifies color.

They’re also cold hardy down to UDSA Hardiness Zone 3, and depending on the variety can be grown up to Zones 8 or 9. Hostas have few pests other than slugs and animals such as rabbits and deer. Although somewhat drought tolerant, hostas do best when mulched and given consistent, even watering.

Build a Hummingbird-Friendly Habitat

If you’re looking to create a hummingbird-friendly garden in a partly shaded spot, put hostas together with coralbells (Heuchera), fuchsia and cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis). That’s because hummingbirds are attracted to the color red, as well as tubular flowers. The options for companions in a sunny spot are even greater, ranging from petunias and agastache to mandevilla, penstemon and daylily. You can even plant a specific hosta in a sunny spot.

When creating a habitat for hummingbirds, it’s good to include a water feature, especially one with moving water such as a small fountain. Try to extend the season with a variety of plants and a hummingbird feeder filled with homemade “nectar.” Mix one part white sugar and four parts water. Boiling the mixture may remove impurities and delay spoiling.

Luke Miller
Luke Miller is an award-winning garden editor with 25 years' experience in horticultural communications, including editing a national magazine and creating print and online gardening content for a national retailer. He grew up across the street from a park arboretum and has a lifelong passion for gardening in general and trees in particular. In addition to his journalism degree, he has studied horticulture and is a Master Gardener.