do hummingbirds like clematis

Do Hummingbirds Like Clematis? A Case of Floral Fascination

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People plant gardens for a variety of reasons, including:

  • improving their curb appeal
  • making their home more beautiful
  • creating an outdoor oasis

In addition, many gardeners choose plants based on what will attract hummingbirds! That brings up a great question: Will the popular vining plant clematis attract hummingbirds? Do hummingbirds even like clematis?

Yes! Hummingbirds like clematis! They like them for the same reason they like many other kinds of flowers: all varieties of clematis offer colorful blooms that are rich in nectar, and therefore rich in the calories that hummingbirds need to maintain their active lifestyles!

Let’s find out more about hummingbirds and clematis.

What Is Clematis?


Clematis is a popular kind of flowering plant that has showy flowers in a variety of colors. There are more than 300 species of clematis, plus even more hybrid versions. It is considered a versatile plant that works well in a lot of landscaping.

Appearance of clematis: Clematis is a woody vine that climbs whatever it is close to, including trees, buildings, and trellises. Depending on the variety, they will grow between a few feet or up to 20 feet tall. They have opposite, compound leaves with multiple leaflets that vary in shape and size. They are usually dark green and glossy in appearance.

Clematis flowers: It’s the flowers that hummingbirds like! The flowers of a clematis may be bell-shaped, star-shaped, or other shapes. They come in colors like purple, blue, pink, red, and white. Some varietals are bi-colored or multi-colored.

Blooming information: The timeframe of a clematis’s blooming is dependent upon what kind of clematis it is. When multiple kinds of clematis are planted with intention and a bit of planning, you can enjoy clematis blooms all season long.

Growing conditions: Clematis varieties typically need full to partial shade. Some are better at tolerating partial shade. They need well-drained, fertile soil, ideally with plenty of organic material. They do better in slightly alkaline soil. Importantly, they need some kind of support structure to grow against. We recommend planning them along a trellis, but they can also use buildings, fences, arbors, or other structures.

Understanding Why Hummingbirds Like Colorful Flowers

Why do hummingbirds like colorful flowers? Well, it helps that they can see them so clearly.

You see, hummingbirds have what is almost a superpower: they can see colors that humans cannot. Their eyes contain four types of cones, unlike human eyes which only have three. This extra set allows hummingbirds to see ultraviolet light, opening up a hidden world that’s invisible to us.

When a hummingbird looks at a flower, they see more than we do. Many blooms have UV-reflecting spots and patterns that act like bullseyes, drawing the birds towards their nutrient-rich nectar. Lilies and sunflowers are examples of this. They appear plain to our eyes, but a hummingbird sees the flowers lit up with neon UV markings. These guiding signals allow hummingbirds to easily spot their food sources, even from far away.

So next time you see a hummingbird flitting efficiently between flowers, know that it’s seeing a spectacle of color that we can only imagine. Their special vision helps them thrive in their environment in ways we will never experience ourselves.

Does Clematis Have UV Markings?

The UV markings on clematis blooms are not as dramatic as other flowers, but they do exist.

Photos taken by UV photographers have revealed subtle markings on white clematis blooms. Perhaps more colorful flowers, which hummingbirds are more drawn to, have even more UV markings and range.

What Makes up a Hummingbird’s Diet?

If hummingbirds love clematis because it is such a great source of nectar, what else do they eat? Are flowers enough to sustain them, even during the summer when they are actively competing for territory, finding a mate, incubating eggs, raising their young, and preparing to migrate?

Hummingbirds eat two things: insects and nectar.

Insects: When raising their young, hummingbirds catch and eat up to 2,000 insects a day. This includes fruit flies, ants, aphids, beetles, mites, weevils, mosquitoes, and sometimes small spiders. They are known for plucking bugs right out of spiders’ webs.

Nectar: Nectar can come from two different places: flowers and feeders. Planting nectar-rich flowers is the best way to attract hummingbirds to your yard, but sugar water-filled feeders are a great backup plan.

Do Hummingbirds Eat Thousands of Calories Each Day?

You may have heard varying estimates about how many calories hummingbirds require daily, but many of those are incorrect. The truth is that hummingbirds need to eat about their own body weight in nectar and insects each day. For an average adult hummingbird weighing around 3-4 grams, that equates to roughly 14 calories per day.

While 14 calories might not seem like much, it’s a massive amount relative to a hummingbird’s tiny size. Proportionally, it would be the equivalent of an average human eating over 100,000 calories per day.

So despite their small stature, hummingbirds have voracious appetites and must consume nectar almost constantly.

The San Diego Zoo writes:

“Even though hummingbirds are small in size, they have a large appetite. Their diet is mostly liquid—nectar—and these birds get plenty of exercise with all that zipping around just to get from sip to sip. These petite birds consume between 3.14 and 7.6 calories a day. That may not seem like much, but if humans (who may eat 3,500 calories a day) had the metabolism of a hummingbird, they would have to consume approximately 155,000 calories a day. That’s about 77 times as much as most humans eat! The hummingbird’s need for lots of calories is due to its high heart rate and small body size. Some hummers have been observed visiting 20 flowers a minute, and with their hover-and-sip style of feeding, they keep beating their wings and working out even while they eat.”

Does Clematis Provide Plenty of Calories for Hummingbirds?

Clematis plants have a huge amount of blooms, making them an ideal source of calories for hummingbirds.

Their blooms are not large, but they are so plentiful that clematis attract hummingbirds.

What Kind of Clematis Do Hummingbirds Like Best?

do hummingbirds like clematis

With so many kinds of clematis available, you may be wondering which kinds, if any, are better for attracting hummingbirds to your yard or garden.

Remember that hummingbirds have some color preferences, so you should plant pink, purple, and red varieties instead of white or blue. They may enjoy white or blue clematis from time to time, but they will be especially excited about pinks, purples, and reds.

More Flowers That Hummingbirds Enjoy

Hummingbirds also like the following flowers:

  • Trumpet
  • Trumpet Creeper
  • Coral Honeysuckle
  • Honeysuckle
  • Red Hot Poker
  • Lobelia
  • Cardinal Flower
  • Columbine
  • Foxglove
  • Bee Balm
  • Salvia
  • Scarlet Sage
  • Red Sage
  • Petunia
  • Fuscia
  • Penstemon
  • Beardtongue
  • Hummingbird Mint
  • Zinnia
  • Mexican Sunflower
  • Daylily
  • Agapanthus
  • Yucca
  • Hollyhock
  • Bleeding Heart

Clematis and More: Strategies To Attract Hummingbirds

Here are some great strategies for attracting hummingbirds to your yard or garden:

  1. Plant flowers that bloom in sequence throughout the seasons to provide nectar for hummingbirds all summer long.
  2. Use a combination of annuals and perennials to create an easy-care habitat that attracts hummingbirds year after year.
  3. Incorporate native plants and grasses that are drought-resistant, reducing the need for watering.
  4. Avoid using pesticides, which can be harmful to hummingbirds and the insects they rely on as a food source.
  5. Provide some shaded areas where hummingbirds can rest and cool down.
  6. Supply clean fresh water in a small birdbath for drinking and bathing. Hummingbirds need water just as much as nectar.

Is It Good To Offer Hummingbird Feeders?

The best way to bring hummingbirds to your yard is by planting tubular, colorful flowers they love. However, supplementing with a sugar water feeder can further increase hummingbird activity – but only when it’s done properly.

Before adding feeders, commit to keeping them clean and filled: hummingbirds will quickly abandon dirty or empty feeders. Also skip the red food dye, as it may be unsafe for the birds.

Luckily, dye isn’t even needed. Hummingbirds will be drawn to feeders with red components like reservoirs or flowers. With the right vibrant flowers and a well-maintained feeder, you can provide supplemental food ethically to attract more of these dazzling birds. Just be sure you’re ready for the responsibility before introducing feeders.

Plant Clematis if You Want To Enjoy Hummingbirds in Your Garden!

Hummingbirds are strongly attracted to the bright, colorful blooms of clematis because these flowers provide the high-energy nectar needed to sustain their fast metabolism.

Planting many varieties of clematis alongside other tubular flowers in red, orange, yellow, and pink hues will supply a steady sequence of nectar across the seasons. Adding water and insect-friendly plants will further contribute to a balanced, healthy habitat.

Clean feeders full of sugar water can supplement a hummingbird’s diet, but flowers are best.

With a hummingbird-friendly garden, you’ll be rewarded with a dazzling aerial display as these tiny acrobats dart from flower to flower.

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