Add Red to Your Hummingbird Garden (Without Adding it to Your Nectar)

Red is a key color for attracting hummingbirds' attention. While these birds will eagerly feed from nectar-rich flowers of any color, their eyes see red hues more brilliantly and they often investigate any red object in case it might yield a new food source. But even if your flower beds don't have bright red blooms, there are easy ways to add red to your yard so hummingbirds will visit.
  1. Planting Containers: 
Choose bright red pots for your container gardening and hummingbirds will be drawn directly to pots that have nectar-rich flowers of any color. The entire pot does not need to be red – a red stripe, geometric pattern, artistic swirls, polka dots, quirky floral patterns or other designs are equally effective at getting hummingbirds to notice the color. If the pots themselves do not have nectar-bearing flowers, be sure to position them near hummingbird feeders to encourage the birds to stay nearby.

  2. Gazing Balls: 
Red, pink and pinkish-purple hues are popular for gazing balls, and these are an ideal decoration to add instant red to your garden. Not only will hummingbirds notice the color, but the sparkles and reflections of the ball will also catch their attention and encourage them to come closer to investigate. Because these birds can be aggressive, however, it is best to choose balls with crackle patterns or wavy options so the birds are not distracted by their own reflections. Nestle garden balls directly into flowerbeds, or opt for pedestals to elevate them above low shrubs.

  3. Painting
: A gallon or two of red paint can quickly transform bland garden fixtures into hummingbird magnets. Try painting an old bench or patio furniture a bright, cheerful red, or paint fence posts or a garden gate for a splash of hummingbird-friendly color. If you can paint your fence, try alternating red fence slats, or even add large red swirls or flowers to the fence for rustic, fun decorations. You can even paint large stones to line flowerbeds or just scatter them in the garden for bits of red that hummingbirds will notice.

  4. Bird Baths: 
It's a great idea to provide water for backyard birds anyway, so why not use bird baths to add more red for hummingbirds to the garden? A red-glazed bird bath is ideal, or the pedestal or edge of a plain bird bath can be painted – but do not paint the interior of the bath or you risk toxic contamination of the water. Another option is to add red marbles, gravel or pebbles to the basin, which will not only add more color to the garden, but will also keep the water shallow enough for small birds – including hummingbirds – to enjoy.

  5. Garden Décor: 
There are dozens of fun garden decorations you can add to your yard that will bring more bits of red color to hummingbirds' attention. Try garden gnomes with pointy red hats, seasonal flags with red designs, red furniture cushions on patio chairs or other top options such as wind chimes, stepping stones, sculptures, wishing wells, windsocks, toadstools, hanging lanterns and more. Any red, yellow, pink or orange hues will help attract hummingbirds, and every little bit of color will help bring even more of these birds to your yard.

It doesn't take much red coloration to attract hummingbirds, and while every bit of color can be helpful, the birds won't stay in the garden if there aren't suitable food sources for them to visit. Be sure your garden is filled not only with red and red-like hues, but also with healthy, nectar-rich flowers, and you'll be able to enjoy constant visits from beautiful, glittering hummingbirds.

Melissa Mayntz

About Melissa Mayntz

Melissa Mayntz is a birder and a writer, naturally writing about birds. Her work has appeared with The Spruce, Farmers' Almanac, National Wildlife Magazine, Bird Watcher's Digest and other publications. She is the author of Migration: Exploring the Remarkable Journeys of Birds (Quadrille Publishing, 2020), and is transforming her suburban backyard into prime bird habitat. Be Your Own Birder.