do hummingbirds like lavender

Do Hummingbirds Like Lavender? (+ Other FAQs)

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Lavender is a favorite of many gardeners for its pretty purple flowers and strong floral scent. While it’s not likely to be a favorite of hummingbirds, that doesn’t mean they won’t stop to drink nectar from lavender plants.

Hummingbirds prefer long, tubular-shaped flowers, especially those that are red, yellow, and orange, unlike lavender’s spikes of small purple flowers.

However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t plant lavender, and it doesn’t mean a hummingbird will never visit it. While we’re here, let’s examine the relationship between lavender plants and pollinators.

Lavender Plants and Pollinators


Lavender is native to the Old World, where there are no hummingbirds. Of the nearly 350 species, all are native to the New World, mostly in Central and South America.

Lavender is a genus of 47 plants, Lavandula. The most common lavender species is Lavandula angustifolia. Among its common names are simply ‘lavender’ and ‘English lavender,’ though it’s native to Europe’s Mediterranean countries, not England.

It’s a member of the mint/sage family, commonly grown in gardens and for use in essential oils, soap, and lotion.

Their small purple flowers grow on spikes in great numbers, and they’re popular with pollinators like bees.

Hummingbird and lavender

According to Oregon State University, both bumblebees and honey bees are attracted to lavender, though it’s more popular with bumblebees, which have longer tongues than honey bees.

Lavender’s vibrant colors and pleasant aromas still have a place in creating a hummingbird-friendly environment in your yard. Consider mixing in lavender with other flowers hummingbirds love such as honeysuckle, cardinal flower, or hummingbird trumpet.

If you’re just looking for purple flowers for your hummingbird garden, there are many options available.

Better (Native!) Plants for Hummingbirds

While the lavender flower might not be the preferred flower for hummingbirds, the good news is that there are many beautiful flowers you can grow that hummingbirds will love, many of which are native.

The importance of native plants cannot be understated, as they are key to the biodiversity of their entire ecosystem. Native plants are the foundation of the food chain – insects and spiders eat plants, and birds eat bugs.

Non-native plants and native insects have not evolved together over thousands of years, and as such, non-native plants aren’t able to support even close to as many species.

Your Garden Sanctuary uses the example of non-native ginkgo trees vs. native North American oak trees to make their statement on this fact:

“One a native and another that has about as much value to wildlife as a 70-foot statue,” author Jim Anderson writes, stating that native oak trees support 557 different species of butterflies and moths to just three from the ginkgo.

In the case of hummingbirds, there are so many native flowers to choose from for every region of the United States. Since this is an article about lavender, let’s look at some purple-ish replacements to bring that splash of color to your garden.

Mountain larkspur

Mountain larkspur

Mountain larkspur is a purple wildflower that’s native to all of western North America. Its tall stems, full of beautiful flowers, grow up to two feet in height.

Before planting larkspur, note that it is poisonous; touching it can cause skin irritation, and consuming it can cause much more serious problems.



Fireweed is native to much of North America and makes for a great addition to an attractive garden.

Its flowers are more pinkish-purple than they are deep violet like the larkspur, and they grow a bit taller, reaching up to six feet tall.

According to the U.S. Forest Service, fireweed got its name from its ability to take over areas quickly after a fire, and it can quickly take over your garden if left to its own devices. But there’s nothing wrong with that if you’re looking to attract hummingbirds!

Wild bergamot

Wild bergamot

Wild bergamot is native to most of the eastern United States. It’s a tall, beautiful plant with each stem topped by a collection of purple tubular flowers that make it the perfect plant for hummingbirds and your flower beds.

Great blue lobelia

Great blue lobelia

Its name includes the word blue, but many would consider this plant’s flowers to be purple, or at least purple-ish.

Unlike the previous several species, which have many stems covered in flowers, great blue lobelia typically has one tall stem that contains numerous flowers.

Great blue lobelia is native to much of the eastern United States and central Canada.

Blue sage

Blue sage

You can find blue sage in most states in the central United States, from Utah to Ohio and everywhere in between.

It’s another popular plant among pollinators like bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds.

Growing multiple stems of up to five feet tall, blue sage blooms in late summer at a time when wildflower fields are dominated by yellow and white flowers, according to the U.S. Forest Service.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do Hummingbirds Smell Lavender?

Hummingbirds don’t use their sense of smell to find nectar. It was long believed that they actually didn’t smell at all, but some evidence is pointing to at least some sense of smell for hummingbirds.

For example, a 2021 study from the University of California, Riverside researchers showed that hummingbirds avoided smells associated with potentially dangerous insects.

What Animals Don’t Like Lavender?

Rabbits, an enemy of backyard gardeners across the globe, are sometimes said to not like the smell of lavender. Lavender is also said to repel mosquitos, a very unpopular guest.

More to Explore

This is by no means an exhaustive list of flowers that could attract hummingbirds (Did you know that according to the Encyclopedia of Life, there are about 260,000 named flowering plants out there?). It’s merely a starting point as you look to attract hummingbirds to your yard.

What hummingbirds prefer in your area may vary from what they enjoy in other areas, and planting certain plants doesn’t guarantee hummingbird sightings.

Crafting the ideal environment for hummingbirds and other birds is part of the journey of backyard birding, and lavender could still be a great fit as you create your perfect garden.

Good Luck and Happy Birding!

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