A hummingbird drinks from pensemon flowers.
A hummingbird drinks from pensemon flowers.

Broad-tailed Hummingbird and penstemon. Photo: Evan Barrientos/Audubon Rockies
Broad-tailed Hummingbird and penstemon. Photo: Evan Barrientos/Audubon Rockies

Habitat Hero

Nine Native Plants to Attract Hummingbirds in Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming

Support hummingbirds with these nectar-rich plants.

One of the best ways to attract hummingbirds to your landscape is to add native plants that are rich in nectar and bloom during different parts of the year. Here are nine regionally native perennials for hummingbirds that are ideal for waterwise Habitat Hero gardens in Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming.

Late Spring to Early Summer Bloomers

Penstemon (aka, Beardtongue)

Penstemon species

Thriving in sunny conditions, penstemons have tube-shaped flowers that are jam-packed with nectar, making them attractive to hummingbirds and other pollinators. You’ll find native penstemons across Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming, from desert to mountain habitats. Typically, penstemons offer an early-season source of nectar, but some will bloom (or rebloom) in late summer.

Flowering desert beardtongue plant and flowers.
Desert beardtongue (Penstemon pseudospectabilis). Photo: Bill Adams and Pat Hayward/Plant Select.

Coral Bells 

Heuchera species

Coral bells are shade-loving perennials with wide, colorful leaves, but it’s the nectar in their tiny, bell-shaped flowers that attracts hummingbirds. If you’d like a Western native species, look for Sandia coral bells (Heuchera pulchella). It thrives in well-drained gardens up to 8,000+ feet. 

Flowering sandia coral bells plant and flowers.
Sandia coral bells (Heuchera pulchella). Photo: Kirk Fieseler/Plant Select.


Aquilegia species

Columbines usually prefer moist, well-drained conditions—ideal for many higher-elevation gardens. For a tough, drought-tolerant columbine for lower elevations, look for native golden columbine (Aquilegia chrysantha). It’s often called DENVER GOLD® or Golden Spur. This showy, wild species of columbine is native to parts of Colorado’s Front Range, southern Utah, and the Southwest. 

Columbine plants with yellow flowers.
DENVER GOLD® columbine (Aquilegia chrysantha). Photo: Plant Select

Mid-Summer Bloomers

Wild Bergamot (aka, Beebalm) 

Monarda fistulosa

This tall, native perennial has flowers that resemble whimsical pom-poms. The blooms offer nectar to bumblebees, hummingbirds, and other pollinators. Wild bergamot tends to grow best in moist, well-drained soils and sunny conditions, but it can tolerate drought, clay, and light shade. 

A bumblebee on flowering bergamot.
Wild bergamot (Monarda fistulosa) with bumblebee. Photo: Ann Kendall

Red Birds in a Tree 

Scrophularia macrantha

This Southwestern wildflower attracts hummingbirds year after year. It produces charming, red flowers that look like little songbirds perched on tree branches. Related to penstemons, this regional native thrives in Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming landscapes, including higher-elevation gardens. 

Flowering red birds in a tree plant and flowers.
Red birds in a tree (Scrophularia macrantha). Photo: David Winger and Ann Kendall/Plant Select

Red Yucca 

Hesperaloe parviflora

A tough-as-nails plant that feeds hummingbirds? Yes, please! This regionally native plant is a problem solver for hot, dry, and sunny spots in western landscapes—as long as they’re well-drained. Hummingbirds feed from the coral-pink, trumpet-shaped flowers that emerge on tall spikes. 

Red yucca (Hesperaloe parviflora). Photo: Dan Johnson and Pat Hayward/Plant Select

Late Summer to Early Fall Bloomers

Hummingbird Trumpet 

Epilobium canum subspecies garrettii (formerly, Zauschneria garrettii)

Hummingbird trumpet is a vibrant, fast-spreading groundcover that grows well at both lower and higher elevations. Happiest in full sun, it gets masses of scarlet-orange flowers that attract hummingbirds. This subspecies is native to Utah, Wyoming, and Idaho.

A flowering hummingbird trumpet plant.
ORANGE CARPET® hummingbird trumpet (Epilobium canum ssp. garrettii 'PWWG01S'). Photo: Diana Reavis/Plant Select

Hyssop (aka, Hummingbird Mint) 

Agastache rupestris, Agastache cana & similar species

Western hyssops have thin, tubular flowers that attract hummingbirds, butterflies, and native bees. Hyssops offer a late-season nectar source for migrating hummingbirds after many plants have stopped blooming. Best for lower elevation gardens. 

Flowering hyssop plants.
Sunset hyssop (Agastache rupestris). Photo: Dan Johnson/Plant Select

Western Salvia (aka, Western Sage) 

Salvia greggii, Salvia darcyi & similar species

Native to the Southwest, western salvias are long-blooming, sun-loving perennials that thrive in the heat. These woody perennials have nectar-rich flowers that attract hummingbirds and bumblebees. Best for hot, lower-elevation gardens in Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming. 

Flowering salvia plant.
VERMILION BLUFFS® Mexican sage (Salvia darcyi 'Pscarl') and Wild Thing sage (Salvia greggii) Photo: Panayoti Kelaidis/Plant Select
Flowering salvia plant.
Mojave sage (Salvia pachyphylla). Photo: David Winger/Plant Select

You can find more regionally native plants for hummingbirds here.


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