Top Flowers For a Hummingbird and Butterfly Garden

I have always wanted to have a yard that would become a hummingbird and butterfly garden. But for years, we lived with a perfectly suburban yard that we inherited when we moved into our house.

Building a hummingbird and butterfly garden with hummingbird plants and flowers for a colorful drought tolerant yard.

When we finally rehabbed our backyard, I was super excited to be able choose colorful hummingbird flowers and beautiful butterfly garden plants.

Tip:  Keep those hummingbirds coming back with a full hummingbird feeder.   Check out the free printable hummingbird nectar recipe card at the end of this post!

Hummingbird Habitat and Butterfly Garden Design

We got rid of an old, splintery deck and water-thirsty lawn.  Also gone are a bunch of plants that were just plain old, tired and ugly, replaced by plants and flowers that attract hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees.

Since we live in California, we pay more for water in drought years so keeping things simple with the right perennials was important.

Thankfully, all of the hummingbird plants, butterfly garden flowers, and hummingbird vines we planted are drought tolerant which means they are easy to establish without needing a constant supply of water.

Since hummingbirds are territorial, we made sure to plant plenty of different hummingbird bushes, vines and other perennials so they wouldn’t have to share!

Best Plants For a Hummingbird Garden

Our backyard revamp included salvias for hummingbirds and butterflies and other drought-tolerant perennials.  I love the mix of vibrant color these low water perennials bring to my garden.  Low water, low maintenance and hummingbirds and butterflies…what more could you ask for?

We found many varieties of hummingbird sage (technically called Salvia) at our local nursery. These salvias for hummingbirds grow quickly, have different and interesting blooms and gorgeous colors that attract hummers and butterflies. These three salvia varieties are easy to find and have been super successful:

  • Hot Lips (vibrant red)
  • Black & Bloom (dark violet)
  • Mexican Sage (light purple)
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We also planted several varieties of:

  • Butterfly bushes
  • Milkweed
  • Penstemon
  • Yarrow
  • Lavender
  • Purple Coneflower (echinacea)
  • Trumpet Vine (often called hummingbird vine)

All of these are drought tolerant perennials so they don’t require much water once established, and the hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees love them! We planted a butterfly bush and honey bees showed up – bonus because I love having bees in my garden!

I also planted some hanging baskets with fuschias, and multiple annuals like impatiens and petunias.

Creating a garden for hummingbirds and butterflies.

I’m happy to say that the hummingbirds and bees are loving my yard!  Salvias for hummingbirds and butterflies are easy to find and easy to grow.

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Hummingbird Garden Must Haves

Every summer my garden comes alive with zooming, twittering, swooping hummingbirds because I plant their favorite nectar-producing hummingbird sage, hummingbird bush, hummingbird vine, and hummingbird flowers. But to make sure I have lots of these little guys I still put out several hummingbird feeders with homemade hummingbird nectar. These are my all time favorite, tried and true feeders that I fill with hummingbird sugar water to keep them coming back year after year.

Hummingbird and Butterfly Garden Decor

You can bet that we spend a LOT of time out in our yard now!

I have had so much fun looking for cool, interesting and functional garden art to decorate this space. I really feel like our new yard is an extension of our home now.

We put in a firepit, strings of outdoor lights and a bunch of pretty garden decor. Do hummingbirds like mirrors? I’m not sure but I found a super cute garden mirror that I now have hanging on my fence.

I love having friends over for a barbeque or a glass of wine.

Hummingbird and Butterfly Garden Decor

After all your hard work is done part of the fun is being able to decorate your space with both functional and whimsical outdoor decor. I spend so much time in my garden that it's almost like another room in my house - it may as well be comfortable and fun!

Gardening is Exhausting but Rewarding

We did most of the work ourselves.  But we did hire a local company to come out and put in a paver patio.   Whew!  I’m glad that we are finally to the point where we can enjoy the yard instead of just toiling in it!

Favorite Gardening Tools

We are really enjoying our hummingbird and butterfly garden. It was a ton of work, but since we planted low maintenance colorful perennials, it doesn't take much work to keep things looking great. Here are a few of my favorite things that I use month in and month out to keep our hummingbird habitat looking great.

Print out the recipe to make your own hummingbird sugar water. It’s inexpensive and healthier for the hummers! ⬇️⬇️

Yield: 8 ounces

Hummingbird Nectar Recipe

Creating a garden for hummingbirds and butterflies.

This easy to make hummingbird nectar recipe is a great way to keep the hummers coming back to your yard. It's cheaper and healthier than store bought hummingbird food.

Cook Time 5 minutes
Additional Time for Cooling 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes


  • 1/4 cup white cane sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • (Or measurements with a ratio of 1 part sugar to 4 parts water)


  1. Bring the water to a boil.
  2. Take the water off the heat and add the sugar.
  3. Stir to dissolve all sugar granules completely.
  4. Let cool before filling your feeder.
  5. Store unused nectar in the refrigerator.


  1. The golden rule for making a great hummingbird solution is 1 part sugar to 4 parts water.
  2. Never add red dye. It's not healthy for the hummers.
  3. Always use white cane sugar. Never artificial sweeteners, honey, brown sugar, etc.
  4. Check your feeder every few days. More often if it's hot.
  5. Clean your feeder well between refillings with mild detergent and water and make sure to rinse well.

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Want To Remember this Hummingbird Garden Post for later? Save it to your favorite Gardening Pinterest Board and pass it on!

We replanted our yard with perennials and flowers that attract hummingbirds and butterflies.  We also added some fun garden decor that we love and the wildlife loves.  Do hummingbirds like mirrors because I have a great one on my fence!  I even figured out how to get hummingbirds to eat from your hand with a cool feeder.  Hummingbirds, a butterfly bush and honey bees were a bonus.
Top flowers for a hummingbird and butterfly garden that are easy to grow.
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