Do Hummingbirds Like Petunias?

Do hummingbirds like petunias? You may be asking yourself this if you’re planting flowers in your yard to attract more hummingbirds.

As a flower native to South America, petunias are great for novice gardeners as they are easy to grow and are budget-friendly.

You’ve maybe even seen some lists which have petunias as one of the best flowers to plant to attract hummingbirds.

I’ve written his guide to help you figure out if it’s worth planting petunias in your yard to attract hummingbirds. Plus you’ll learn how, where and when is best to plant petunias to attract hummingbirds.

Sound good? Then let’s dig in.

Do hummingbirds like petunias?

Hummingbirds do like petunias. Planting petunias in your yard each year will attract hummingbirds in the spring and summer. Petunias provide a source of nectar for hummingbirds. Flower nectar gives hummingbirds energy throughout the day to help them hunt insects.

A lot of my readers report that the hummingbirds appear to prefer the petunias over the hummingbird feeders.

Why do hummingbird like petunias?

Hummingbirds like petunias because of their shape, scent, colour and nectar.

Petunias purposely try to attract hummingbirds as they are pollinators and help the flower species to survive. Let’s look at each way the petunias attract the hummingbirds.

Petunia Shape

Petunias have large petals which narrow down to a trumpet shape in the middle. This shape is attractive to hummingbirds. They will use their long tongues to sip the nectar from the middle.

Petunia Scent

Petunias have a slightly sweet but not overly strong scented flower. This is ideal for hummingbirds as they are not attracted to scented flowers.

It’s a pretty smart survival strategy. Flowers with strong scents will attract other pollinators such as bees and butterflies. That means more competition for the nectar in the flowers.

Petunia Color

Petunias come in a wide variety of colors including white, yellow, pink, purple, red and blue. 

Hummingbirds are mainly attracted to red flowers. But, they do also like pink, orange, purple and blue. They like these flowers best as they are the ones that produce the most nectar.

Petunia nectar

Petunias produce a sugary nectar. The concentrate is around 20% sugar, which is exactly what hummingbirds like.

A petunia plant will have several flowers in one small area which provides a good food supply for a hungry hummingbird. Petunia nectar is quite dilute compared to other plants, which is why bees aren’t so attracted to the plant.

Petunia nectar is also full of other nutrients. It’s a source of protein and anti-microbial properties. These can help to keep hummingbirds healthy and prevent disease.

How to grow Petunias for Hummingbirds

There are three ways you can start to grow petunias in your yard to attract hummingbirds. Let’s take a look at which option is best for you.

1. Petunias from Seeds

To grow petunia plants for scratch you’ll need to have a supply of:

  • petunia seeds
  • compost
  • seed trays

You’ll need to plant the petunia seeds around 10 weeks before you intend to place them in your yard.

If you intend to have your petunias ready for the spring hummingbird season then you should plant seeds in January.

You’ll need to keep sown petunia seeds in a warm place (70-80 Fahrenheit) with high levels of sunlight.

Petunia seeds should start to sprout around 7-10 days after planting.

Once the seedling have 3 leaves you can transfer them into individual plant pots. You can place around 3 seedlings in a plant pot.

Once the petunias are around 2 month old you can start to leave them outside. Keep them in bright sunshine during the day and bring them in at night.

After the last of the frost has gone you can plant your petunia plants in your yard. They’ll be ready in time for the hummingbirds arrival.

2. Plug Petunia plants

If you’ve not had much success growing plants form seeds then you may want to buy tour petunias ready-made.

Petunias which have been grown from seeds and are ready to plant are called plugs.

This is a great option if you you’ve not planted seeds early enough to be ready for hummingbird season.

Simply take the petunia plugs out of their container and plant them in your yard or hanging baskets.

You’ll be able to buy petunia plugs (ready to plant seedlings) from most plant nurseries, or stores with a gardening section. You can even buy petunia plugs from online plant nurseries.

3. Petunias from cuttings

Do you have a friend or family member who has hummingbirds visiting petunias in their yard?

Well you can copy their success by taking a cutting. Petunias grown from a cutting will be an exact clone of the ones you know the hummingbirds are already attracted to.

To grow a petunia cutting you’ll need:

Take a cutting from the top of a petunia plant, the stem should be soft and flexible.

Dip the cut side of the stem in root hormone powder.

Put some soil in the plant pot and make a small hole to place the cutting into. Then keep the cutting in place by replacing the soil.

Keep your cutting in a cool dark place to allow the roots to develop.

After 3-4 weeks your petunia cutting should have grown enough roots to plant them in your own yard.


When to plant petunias for hummingbirds

Petunias don’t do well with cold conditions, so plant them in spring when the threat of frost has passed.

The best time to plant petunias in your yard is around the same time you start to put out your hummingbird feeders. This will usually be in spring or early summer.

You want the petunias to be available to the hummingbirds before they arrive. Planting your petunias after the hummingbirds arrive is usually too late. You’ll attract them easily if you have readily available nectar sources.

Where to plant petunias for hummingbirds

You’ll need to plant petunias in a warm and sunny area for them to thrive. The good news is that hummingbirds love to feed in direct sunlight.

As petunias don’t need much space you can plant them in border or containers around your yard.

Petunias can handle areas of light shade. This means cascading petunias are ideal for placing in hanging baskets if you want a closer look at your hummingbirds as they feed.

What states do petunias grow best?

Petunias will grow in any states in the USA which make them ideal for attracting hummingbirds as they migrate.

Petunias will be in bloom during the spring hummingbird season in any state.

If you live in a mid or northern states you’ll need to plant you petunias each year. This is because petunias don’t do well in the cold weather.

If you live in a warmer southern state, you won’t need to replant your petunias each year.

Do hummingbirds like mini petunias?

Mini petunias is another name for Calibrachoa. You may even see them referred to as million bells. Despite the name ‘mini petunias’, calibrachoa are actually a totally different species.

They get this nickname as they look a lot like a petunia but with a smaller flower.

Mini petunias have lots of nectar rich flowers which attract hummingbirds.

Planting red calibrachoa in a hanging basket is a great way to attract a lot of hummingbirds to your yard in spring and summer.

What petunias do hummingbird like best?

Hummingbirds do not have a favorite type petunia.

You may notice hummingbirds have preference over certain colours of petunia mainly red pink and orange.

There is a species of petunia which is only pollinated by hummingbirds and no other pollinators. This is the Petunia exserta which is native to Brazil, but can be grown in the USA.

Are hummingbirds attracted to purple petunias?

Purple petunias do attract hummingbirds. Although a hummingbird will usually opt for another nectar rich red flower, if it’s on offer.

So remember, if you have red flowers around the hummingbirds will likely ignore your purple petunias.

Once a hummingbirds realises a purple petunia will provide them with a rich source of nectar they’ll continue to come back for more.

Do hummingbirds like hybrid petunias?

Hummingbirds will feed on hybrid petunias. The problem is that hybrid petunias often don’t produce a lot of nectar.

That means a hummingbirds will opt for a more nectar rich flower if it’s on offer.

When nectar sources are low, a hybrid petunia is better than nothing for hummingbirds.

Final thoughts

So do hummingbirds like petunias? Yes they do.

Petunias attract hummingbirds and provide them with a good source of nectar which gives them energy through the day.

You can grow your own petunias in your yard or even in hanging baskets. Plant the petunias in the spring and you can watch the hummingbirds enjoy them as they fly north for breeding season.

Red petunias are the best color to attract hummingbirds, but you’ll have success with the most bright colors.

Do you use flowers to attract hummingbirds to your yard? Let me know in the comments below which flower bring you the most success.

2 thoughts on “Do Hummingbirds Like Petunias?”

  1. You write, “As a native flower, petunias are…” I’m not sure where you are, but the varieties of petunias we now buy in garden centers in North America and Europe originate from species native to southern South America. Petunias are not native to anywhere else.


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