Do Hummingbirds Like Geraniums? The Shocking Truth You Didn’t Know


Are you a hummingbird enthusiast hoping to attract these tiny aerial acrobats to your garden? Perhaps you’ve heard that geraniums are a favorite among these nectar-loving birds. But do hummingbirds like geraniums?

The relationship between hummingbirds and geraniums is a bit more nuanced than it seems. While geraniums’ vibrant colors may initially catch a hummingbird’s eye, the reality of their nectar production and flower structure tells a different story.

Let me help you discover the fascinating world of hummingbirds and their preferences, exploring whether geraniums truly are a top choice for these delightful creatures.

I’ll explain the science behind their flower choices, offer alternative options, and help you create a haven for hummingbirds in your garden.

Do hummingbirds love geraniums

Do Hummingbirds Like Hardy or Tender Geraniums?

Hummingbirds occasionally visit Hardy Geraniums (Cranesbill) but don’t prefer the flower as much as other plants with higher nectar rewards. In addition, hardy geraniums are low-growing plants with flat, open flowers,  so they often get overlooked.

Pelargonium (Tender Geraniums) has brightly colored flowers that attract. They are, however, not typically tubular and do not produce as much nectar as other flowers like fuchsias, salvias, or trumpet vines.

Whereas, Hummingbirds mostly seek out brightly colored, tubular flowers that do provide a good nectar source.

Ivy vs Scented Pelargoniums (Tender Geraniums): Which One Does The Humming Bird Like More?

Neither Ivy nor Scented Geraniums are particularly attractive to hummingbirds.

Most Ivy Pelargonium Geraniums produce flat, open flowers unsuited to hummingbirds’ long, narrow beaks. They also lack the higher quantity of nectar they crave.

However, as Ivy Leaf Pelargoniums are usually elevated in hanging baskets, they will attract some passing attention. While they might not provide the required nectar, they also attract insects hummingbirds like to feed on.

Scented leaf Pelargoniums have bright flowers that will initially attract hummingbirds. Unfortunately, they, too, don’t produce enough nectar to hold their interest for that long. In addition, they tend to be planted at lower levels, though they will also attract beneficial insects.

Some excellent choices for attracting hummingbirds include:

  • Bee balm
  • Salvia
  • Trumpet vine
  • Cardinal flower
  • Columbine
  • Penstemons
  • Native honeysuckles

Do Geraniums Attract Any Pollinators?

Geraniums do attract pollinators, but it depends on the type of geranium.

Hardy Geranium (Cranesbill)

These geraniums are excellent for attracting pollinators, particularly different varieties of bees. Their open, single flowers are nectar and pollen-rich enough for insects, making them a valuable food source. However, the quantity doesn’t make hummingbirds love geraniums of most kinds.

They have a long flowering season and are particularly attractive to butterflies and hoverflies. Some popular pollinator varieties include ‘Rozanne,’ ‘Brookside,’ and ‘Johnson’s Blue.’ I highly recommend planting Hardy Geraniums to attract beneficial pollinators to your garden.

Pelargonium Geraniums (Tender Geraniums)

Unfortunately, pelargoniums, commonly found in garden centers, are less attractive to pollinators.

They usually have double flowering structures, making it more difficult for pollinators to access the nectar. The quality of which is lower compared to that of Hardy Geraniums. A single flowering variety would be better for attracting pollinators to your garden.

Here’s a quick comparison:

Geranium TypePollinator AttractionNotes
Cranesbill (Hardy)HighOpen flowers, abundant nectar and pollen, loved by bees, butterflies, hoverflies, and other pollinating insects.
Pelargonium (Tender)LowComplex flower structure, lower nectar production, less attractive to bees but may attract some butterflies and insects with longer tongues, such as the Wallace’s sphinx moth.

Do Pelargoniums (Tender Geraniums) Attract Butterflies?

Pelargoniums (Tender Geraniums) can attract butterflies. While they might not be the top choice for nectar-seeking butterflies, the vibrant colors of geranium flowers will still attract them to your garden.

To create a more butterfly-friendly environment, consider planting various nectar-rich flowers such as milkweed, coneflowers, and butterfly bushes alongside your Pelargoniums.

Better still, find somewhere to plant their cousins, Hardy Geranium (Cranesbill). This combination will provide a near-perfect food source and create an inviting habitat for butterflies.

Do Pelargoniums (Tender Geraniums) Attract Wasps?

Pelargoniums (Tender Geraniums)  are not typically known to attract wasps. On the contrary, the scented varieties can sometimes repel insects because of their strong scent, which contains compounds some insects find off-putting.

If you’re looking to avoid attracting wasps, Pelargoniums can be a good choice, especially when combined with other plants such as marigolds, basil, and citronella. For a garden that minimizes wasp visits, focus on plants that do not produce large amounts of nectar or have strong, sweet fragrances.

Final Words

Geraniums play a partial role in the connection between hummingbirds and flowers. While their flashy colors might initially beckon these tiny aerialists, their nectar offerings often leave hummingbirds wanting more.

The truth is, while some hummingbirds might take a quick sip from a geranium blossom, these plants aren’t their top choice for a satisfying meal. Focusing on nectar-rich alternatives like bee balm, salvia, and trumpet vine is best to create a genuinely irresistible hummingbird haven.

However, don’t despair if you adore geraniums. They can still be used in your garden, providing a splash of color and potentially attracting other pollinators. Combining them with hummingbird favorites will create a diverse and thriving ecosystem that welcomes many winged visitors.

So, embrace the beauty of both geraniums and hummingbirds and let your garden become a haven for these fascinating creatures.


  • Sebastian Avila

    Meet Sebastian Avila, our featured writer and expert gardener, whose green journey began in the intimate spaces of home gardening. With a natural flair for designing container arrangements, Sebastian initially catered to a niche clientele, transforming their spaces with his botanical artistry...

    View all posts

How to Keep Bees Away From Hummingbird Feeders

While bees are beneficial for your garden, they can be a nuisance when they take an interest in hummingbird feeders. The combination of sweet...

How to Attract Birds to Your Birdhouse

If you've spent money buying or building a birdhouse only to find that none of your feathered visitors are attracted to settling in, don't...

The Ultimate Guide to Hummingbird Feeders

Known as the flying jewels of the bird world, hummingbirds are a pleasure to spot in the wild. If you're in the Eastern side...

How to Attract Birds to Your Bird Feeder

Transforming your outdoor space into a tranquil haven for feathered friends is a peaceful, enjoyable, and rewarding experience. Attracting an array of birds into...

Read More

Related Articles