There are a multitude of flowers out there, both Annuals and Perennials, and when it comes to the discriminating taste of a hummingbird, only the finest will do. With young hummingbirds they may sample every flower, but they soon realize which ones are sweet, which ones contain much nectar, and which ones will never get a return visit.
For my zone 2-3 region, I have planted a ridiculous amount of perennials to see which would make it through our tough climate. Some made it, some didn't. Then I tracked which ones got return visits. Then a list was made of the flowers that proved to be magnets for the hummingbirds. Some flowers attracted only the young, and some attracted all of them, including the adults. I repeated this with the annuals. Which ones flowered the most and continued through the hummingbird season, which ones attracted the hummingbirds continuously, and which ones were just showy without any real results with the hummingbirds. After over a decade of flower testing I discovered that about 10-12 Annuals and Perennials made the list to plant in masses. I do very little sampling anymore, unless I get some good advise from another hummingbirder that's discovered a real jewel of a flower. I know that my region differs greatly from climates across Canada and the United States, so both Annuals and Perennials will differ in many cases. Some flowers are drought tolerant, some hate the heat while some love it, and some love an abundance of water while others not so much. There are enough people around each region to know what produces well, and which ones are golden for the Rubies.
So I'll ask everyone who knows of a proven winner to list it with it's zone #(if a perennial). Also, if you know of an Annual that tops your list, please suggest it. This will be valuable information for all who are getting started in hummingbirding, in all regions of North America. Thank you all in advance for participating, and I'm sure this will help many!
This is a young Ruby-throat hummingbird dancing in the Zinnias(one of my favorite Annuals for young hummingbirds). N.E. of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. August 6, 2018.
Author of Jewel of the North. Please post your comments and questions.