9 Easy Drought Tolerant Plants to Attract Hummingbirds


Are you struggling to find hummingbird magnet plants that can also stand the heat? Do you need some flowers that don’t need a lot of rain or watering to still put on a fabulous display?

Well, don’t despair, as we have you covered. These drought-tolerant plants not only get the hummingbirds heading straight for your yard, they can stand the harsh conditions and still put on a show-stopping display.

Maintaining a backyard with landscaping is not easy. It takes dedication, patience, and a little know-how just to get everything right. The pay-off is your plants produce flowers, and they bloom profusely. When they flower, your backyard will play host to a number of animals, particularly hummingbirds. 

There are many varieties of flowering plants that are drought-tolerant, so if you sometimes forget to water them, it’s okay. Here are the best drought-tolerant plants to attract hummingbirds to your backyard.

9 Drought-Tolerant Plants To Attract Hummingbirds:

1. Agastache


Agastache, pronounced as (“ah-GAH-stuh-kee”), are aromatic herbaceous perennials with as many as 22 species, most of which are native to North America. They are commonly referred to as “hummingbird mints” and “Giant hyssops”. Aside from being a hummingbird magnet, they can also be made into herbal tea.

Agastache flowers are attractive to hummingbirds because they literally stand out from among the leaves. They are about 3 to 4 inches long and appear fuzzy because they’re made of many tiny flowers growing in clusters. Their striking purple and red colors are a hummingbird’s favorite colors, and they will be unable to resist flocking to Agastache flowers, especially when they’re in full bloom in the summer. 

The best way to grow Agastache flowers is to start them as indoor plants in May and then transplant them into flower beds in the summer. They require full sun and regular watering when they’re still trying to establish themselves. However, once they’re done, they are drought-tolerant and can easily be left to their own devices. 

Agastache are desert plants, hence they can tolerate even the hottest days. That is also the reason why it’s not necessary to keep watering them once they’re established. Too much water will rot the roots, so make sure to just give them a good splash and then leave them alone to dry. 

  • Growing Zones: 3 – 10
  • Sun: Full Sun
  • Soil: Lean soil, well-drained
  • Colors: Blue, purple, red, orange, pink, and white
  • Height: 3 to 5 feet tall 
  • Plant type: Herbaceous perennial

2. Salvia

With over 1000 species of these members of the mint family, salvias are a great perennial to choose for hummingbirds. They are also drought-resistant easy to care for.

Salvias evolved alongside hummingbirds in the Americas and they use the hummingbirds’ long bills to enter the flower and open a trapdoor that deposits pollen on their heads and rewards them with rich nectar.

They put on a rich display of flowers and tubular blossoms all summer that keep the hummingbirds coming back.

Many native species of salvia are drought tolerant and grow happily in the heat of the South. Although salvias are heat and drought tolerant, if it is very dry, then water thoroughly once a week.

Sometimes known as sage plants, they can be grown as annuals, but also perennial varieties are available.

Deadhead during the summer to encourage more flowers but leave flowers on at the end of the season, so they reseed.

Choose Salvias with red, pink, and orange-colored flowers. Native species are best, but Salvias from Europe are hardier and will grow further north, extending the range and nectar availability for hummingbirds.

  • Growing Zones: 4 – 10
  • Sun: Full sun, but some will tolerate partial shade
  • Soil: Well-drained
  • Colors: Red, pink, purple, blue, white, yellow.
  • Height: 1 – 6 feet
  • Spread: 1 – 6 feet

3. Desert Willow

Desert willow

The Desert Willow, Latin name “Chilopsis linearis”, is a large deciduous shrub or small tree native to the Southwestern United States and Mexico. It may be named “Willow” because of its willow-like leaves, but it’s actually a member of the catalpa family.

Commonly found along desert washes and riverbanks in its native territory, Desert Willows thus thrive under full sunlight and are drought-tolerant but will occasionally need a good watering. 

Rain only comes very rarely in the desert, but flash floods occasionally happen in arroyos, and that’s all that the Desert Willows need. So, in a backyard setting, give your Desert Willows the occasional “flood” to keep them happy and content and to encourage new flower growth.

The flowers of Desert Willows are usually shades of purple, like lavender, pink, purple, and white. They bloom between May and June, late spring through summer, and you’ll notice them hanging from the tree’s branch ends. They may be small, about 1 to 1.5 inches long, but they can grow profusely if you care for them properly. 

Once the flowers are gone, another identifiable feature of the Desert Willow emerges – the seed pods. They are long (4 to 8 inches), thin and brown. They usually appear in autumn and will split open in half to release the seeds. You may collect the seeds for propagation. 

Caring for Desert Willows is a breeze once they’re established. Their pretty flowers, drought tolerance, low pruning maintenance, and as they are a perfect plant to attract hummingbirds this makes them a stand-out winner.  

  • Growing Zones: 5 – 9
  • Sun: Full Sun
  • Soil: well-drained soil
  • Colors: lavender to light pink
  • Height: 20 – 25 feet tall
  • Spread: 15 -20 feet wide
  • Plant Type: Deciduous large shrub or small tree

4. Flowering Currant

flowering currant

The Flowering Currant, Latin name Ribes sanguineum, is a large deciduous shrub growing up to 10 meters tall, native to the western United States and Canada. They are considered an ornamental plant because of their lovely reddish flowers, but they’re also cultivated for food because of their edible berries for humans and animals. 

The Flowering currant, also called red-flowering currant or redflower currant, is multi-stemmed with upright arching stems. With careful pruning, it can be cultivated as a tree with rounded branches. It thrives under the full sun but can be grown in partial shade. It is drought-tolerant, but ideally, you should keep the soil moist. 

The flowers of the Flowering Currant are wildly attractive to hummingbirds and bees during early spring (April to May). They’re clusters of 10-30 flowers, each cluster as long as three inches. The flowers are light pink to red that seemingly cover the stems and sometimes hang from them. 

The leaves are deep green that are shaped like small maple leaves. They appear at the same time as flowers, and when they’re young, they emit a type of woodsy scent. They’re essential because moths and butterfly larvae eat them. 

During the fall, blue-black fruits appear. Songbirds love these berries. People may use the berries for jams and syrup. 

  • Growing Zones: 5 – 9
  • Sun: Full sun or partial shade
  • Soil: well-drained soil 
  • Colors: light pink, red
  • Height: 10 feet tall
  • Spread: 5 feet
  • Plant Type: Deciduous shrub

5. Penstemon


Penstemon is a genus belonging to the plantain family (Plantaginaceae), with over 250 different ornamental flowering plants, like snapdragons and foxgloves. It is also called Beardtongue because the pollen-free stamen that protrudes from the flowers has a tuft of small hairs. 

With a wide number of species, there are many varieties of Penstemon to choose from to suit your backyard. They may have different sizes and different colors, but they all share these things- they’re all drought-tolerant, they attract hummingbirds and bees, they’re easy to take care of, and their lovely blooms brighten up any backyard. 

Flowers of the Penstemon genus bloom in early summer. They become a focal point in a garden setting because of their spires and a colorful cluster of tubular flowers. There are many colors to display depending on the variety you’ve chosen. There are blue, purple, red, orange, white, pink, and yellow.

Hummingbirds always flock to Penstemon because they’re bright and colorful, and they’re nectar-rich. 

The best place to plant penstemons is where they can get full sunlight. Flowers will bloom profusely, and stems will remain upright instead of drooping because of shade. They prefer nutrient-poor soil with moist conditions. They can tolerate drought, but it’s also good to give them a good watering every once in a while. It’s better to choose a variety suited to your soil condition and climate to make them last longer. 

  • Growing Zones: 3 – 9
  • Sun: Full sun
  • Soil: lean, fast-draining soil
  • Colors: Blue, Purple, Red, Orange, White, Pink, Yellow
  • Height: 6 to 12 inches, 1 to 3 feet, 3 to 8 feet
  • Spread: 8 to 20 inches
  • Plant Type: Perennial

6. Native Butterfly Bush (Buddleia)


The Butterfly Bush, with its striking purple, red, pink, white, and yellow pointed flowers, is a favorite ornamental plant if you want to attract butterflies (of course!) and hummingbirds to your backyard. They also produce nectar-rich flowers that are a surefire way to get hummingbirds to visit your backyard every time. 

Butterfly bushes are low-maintenance plants. They are a hardy breed requiring full sun, so you might say they are pretty much drought-tolerant. However, during the first year, they would require regular watering as they’re trying to establish their roots. But once they’re firmly established, you only need to water them when the soil has become dry, like 2 to 4 inches deep. 

One thing to note is that in some states, the Butterfly Bush is considered an invasive species, so you may have to check your local government before planting them. Their seeds tend to spread very easily, and they may crowd out native plants. Be careful not to buy the purple davidii variety.

The good news is, there are some Butterfly Bush variants that are sterile, and some species are available to grow in your pot or backyard, like Dwarf varieties that only grow up to 8 or 10 feet.

Some sterile or native varieties that you can grow are Rio Grande Butterfly Bush (Buddleia sessiliflora), Wand Butterfly Bush (Buddleia racemosa), Escobilla Butterfly Bush (Buddleia scordioides), and Fountain Butterfly Bush (Buddleja alternifolia).

  • Growing Zones: 5 – 10
  • Sun: Full Sun
  • Soil: Well-drained 
  • Colors: Pink, Purple, Red, White, and Yellow
  • Height: 4 to 10 feet
  • Spread: up to 5 feet
  • Plant type: Perennials, Evergreen

7. Catmint


Catmint, Latin name Nepeta mussinii, is often mistakenly interchanged with Catnip (Nepeta Cataria). They are both of the same genus, Nepeta, but Catmint is more ornamental than the weedy Catnip. Catnip is also what’s euphoric to cats, not Catmint. 

Catmint is an aromatic herb plant that has a long flowering time, is drought-tolerant, easy to grow, has beautiful flowers that are attractive to hummingbirds, and can be used for culinary and herbal tonics. 

Gardeners love using Catmint as groundcover and as an edging plant because it is easily propagated and they grow fast. Catmint has lavender-blue flowers rising from its stalks and flowers in early summer, much more continuously than Catnip.

They flower well into fall, and even when the flowers have disappeared, the plant itself continues to provide cover and interest. 

The leaves are gray-green and aromatic because Catmint belongs to the mint family. They are often used for tea and are also added to make soups and sauces.

Growing catmint is simple. It thrives under full sunlight and in rich, well-drained soil. When they’re young, they need regular watering, but once they’re established, they become drought-tolerant. 

  • Growing Zones: 4 – 8
  • Sun: Full sun, partial shade
  • Soil: Dry, Well-drained soil
  • Colors: lavender, blue
  • Height: 12 – 18 inches
  • Spread: 12 – 18 inches
  • Plant type: herbaceous perennial

8. Cape Fuchsia

Cape Fushia

Cape Fuchsia, Latin name Phygelius capensis, is a flowering plant from the family Scrophulariaceae. It is a semi-evergreen shrub that can grow from 3 to 5 feet and is native to South Africa, and its name comes from the Cape of Good Hope. 

What makes Cape Fuchsia a good ornamental plant is its long flowering season. From May to November, you can enjoy its brilliant colors, depending on the variety that you have. There are yellow, peach, coral, magenta, and red variants that are 2 inches long, tubular, and hang upright or vertical on stems. 

Cape Fuchsia is easy to take care of because it is not picky about the soil you place it in as long as it receives just the right amount of water and a full dose of sunlight. It grows and spreads fast too from its underground stems, so you just need to make sure to constrict it to its space so it won’t overwhelm other shorter plants. 

It’s pretty drought-tolerant, but you have to keep the soil moist when the weather becomes too hot. Also, when it’s too hot, it wouldn’t hurt to bring it under partial shade. It flowers for a long time too, which is a really good treat for hummingbirds. 

  • Growing Zones: 5 – 7
  • Sun: Full sun
  • Soil: well-drained soil 
  • Colors: yellow, peach, coral, magenta, red
  • Height: 3 – 5 feet
  • Spread: 3 – 5 feet
  • Plant Type: Perennial, annual

9. Weigela


Weigela are a favorite flower of hummingbirds and butterflies because of their pink and reddish colors, although there are varieties of Weigela that are yellow and lavender. The flowers are tubular-shaped, about 2 cm long, and form clusters. They flower from early spring to late summer. 

Weigela are a group of 6 to 38 species of flowering deciduous shrubs from the family Caprifoliaceae. All of the flowers are natives of East Asia, the most popular variety is the Weigela florida. The “florida” does not represent the state of Florida but instead stands for “florid” or “covered with flowers”.

The leaves of Weigela are also as interesting as the flowers. They come in different shapes – some are long, some are oblong, and some have a serrated edge. Normal colors are green, but there are others that are variegated (dual-colored), gold, and burgundy.

These Weigela plants are perfect ornamental plants, whether you use them as specimen plants when they bloom or as hedge plants because of their dense foliage. The key is to put them in moderately acidic soil that is well-draining. They flower best when receiving full sunlight, but they can still grow in partial shade. 

Weigelas are easy plants to take care of and have the advantage of being drought-tolerant too. They hardly need water unless the weather has been exceptionally hot, so they may need just enough to keep their soil moist. 

  • Growing Zones: 4 – 8
  • Sun: Full sun, partial shade
  • Soil: Well-drained, moderately acidic soil 
  • Colors: red, pink, white, yellow, and lavender
  • Height: 3 – 10 feet tall
  • Spread: up to 12 feet 
  • Plant Type: Deciduous