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Not only are hummingbirds some of the most beautiful birds we’re lucky enough to welcome into our gardens, they are also incredible pollinators. To that end, it’s reasonable to expect that these birds love collecting nectar from the vast majority of colorful flowers and plants. But – for example – do hummingbirds like marigolds?
Marigolds, surprisingly, do not attract hummingbirds. While they grow in various colors and can deliver some nectar, the average flying pollinator will simply show no interest whatsoever. It’s curious behavior for a bird that otherwise tends to be less than discerning about its favorite plants, blooms, and vines.
Why don’t marigolds attract hummingbirds?
It is all to do with nectar content. While marigolds can smell fragrant and are as lovely to look at as many other blooms in a wild garden, hummingbirds simply won’t get much nectar from them. Therefore, the pollinators will generally learn to look for flowers with a richer bounty of sweet nectar elsewhere.
For example, hummingbirds love flowers such as the hibiscus. Mandevilla vines can also attract hummingbirds from time to time, largely thanks to fragrance, color, and accessibility.
Thankfully, if you are looking for reliable hummingbird flowers to attract these delightful little flutterers, there are more blooms they love than those they dislike.
Are there other flowers hummingbirds dislike?
Dislike is a very strong term – hummingbirds don’t tend to ‘hate’ any flowers or plants as such. The main reasons for a hummingbird to avoid certain flowers and growths in your garden will be due to nectar content and flower shape. These pollinators typically prefer tube-shaped blooms they can easily pop their tongues in and out of. However, that doesn’t always turn them away. In fact, hummingbird beak shapes and lengths – which differ depending on sex – can also dictate the flowers they prefer.
Flowers that might not always attract hummingbirds to your garden – as well as marigolds – include irises, daffodils, peonies, gardenias, tulips, lilacs, and even roses. These are all perfectly fragrant, eye-catching flowers – but the hummingbird simply doesn’t choose to fly to them very often.
Therefore, if you want to welcome more hummingbirds into your yard, make a point to balance any marigolds, roses, or daffodils you are already growing with a variety of flowers they are known to enjoy visiting. For example, there are plenty of perennial flowers hummingbirds enjoy getting nectar from.
If you are looking for a great shortcut to getting pollinators to visit you, zinnias are fantastic hummingbird attractors – and they are just as easy to grow as marigolds, if not more so.
Is it still worth growing marigolds?
Even though hummingbirds show no preference for marigolds, they can still attract pollinators. However, anecdotal reports can argue over this – some suggest that they are great at attracting bees, while others suggest they can actually repel insects – both pests and welcome pollinators alike.
Marigolds tend to grow wildly on their own without much support, mainly because they persist so well in the sunshine. However, there is never a good reason to remove them from your yard or garden. In fact, it may be worth planting one or two to see if you can attract creatures other than hummingbirds to your yard. Marigolds won’t repel hummingbirds, but be warned, they won’t want much to do with your garden if they make up the majority of your beds and planters!