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Do You Love Hummingbirds? Hummingbirds and the Native Plants They Love

Posted on by SCNPS Website Team

Red buckeye. Credit: Sue Watts

by Sue Watts

In spring, hummingbirds are returning from their winter vacation in Mexico and Central America. Their return visit coincides with the blooming of some native plants with their favorite things – red, tubular flowers and lots of nectar. Get outside and look for these plants blooming:  red buckeye, coral honeysuckle and, later in the year, our native Columbine. 


Photo Credit: Sue Watts

Red Buckeye (Aesculus pavia): Native to the southeastern United States, Red Buckeye thrives in a variety of habitats in South Carolina. Its bright red flowers make it an attractive addition to native gardens, and it serves as an important nectar source for returning hummingbirds in the spring.


Photo Credit: Sue Watts

Coral Honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens): This native vine is found throughout the eastern United States. Coral Honeysuckle is especially valued for its long blooming season and its tubular red or coral flowers that attract hummingbirds. Unlike invasive honeysuckle species, Lonicera sempervirens is beneficial to local ecosystems in South Carolina.


Photo Credit: Sue Watts

Native Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis): Also known as Eastern Red Columbine, this plant is native to the Eastern United States. It features distinctive, nodding red and yellow flowers that are attractive to both hummingbirds and butterflies in South Carolina. It’s well-suited to shaded or woodland gardens and naturalized areas.


And when you find them, perhaps you’ll spot a hungry hummingbird!


Check out this free guide from the USDA on attracting hummingbirds to your garden with native plants.

Visit here for a selection of hummingbird coloring sheets.