How to attract hummingbirds to your balcony — 8 tips to bring these magical creatures to you

Learn to attract hummingbirds to your balcony for mesmerizing visits from these beautiful feathered friends

Hummingbird on feeder
(Image credit: Getty Images)

All birds are intriguing but once you know how to attract hummingbirds to your balcony, you’ll see these small yet mighty winged creatures are particularly remarkable and mesmerizing. 

Weighing only a few grams and measuring just 3-5 inches, hummingbirds have a surprisingly large appetite to keep their wings beating rapidly. Our experts reveal eight ways your balcony can offer these impressive creatures a well-earned rest stop, even if your apartment is a few floors up.  

Wildlife fans may already know how to attract hummingbirds to their backyard but with carefully chosen food sources and habitat influences, your balcony can enjoy the same visits, even if your apartment is a few floors up. 

Eight ways to attract hummingbirds to your balcony

There are several ways to make your small balcony attractive and appealing to hummingbirds. We’ve asked wildlife and gardening professionals their tried and tested methods that temp the sweet-billed beauties up to tiny outdoor balcony spaces, even in urban areas. 

All prices were correct at publication.

1. Plant colorful flowers

Plant pot heavy balcony with colorful flowers and wood and red bistro set

(Image credit: Getty Images/Westend61)

The first and most obvious way to encourage hummingbirds onto your balcony is to turn your small terrace into a beautiful urban garden filled with hummingbird-friendly flowering plants (you can easily do this on a balcony with container gardening).

Hummingbirds' favorite food is sweet nectar produced in tubular-shaped flowers. This is the reason the tiny and talented creatures are perfectly designed to beat their tiny wings so fast creating that wow-factor floating effect. Their delicate long narrow bills and tongues then reach deep inside the pipe-shaped petals to feed.

According to The National Audubon Society, hummingbirds adore colorful tubular flowers such as trumpet honeysuckle, bee balm, and hummingbird sage. 

Hummingbird in pink flowering bush

(Image credit: Getty Images)

“Hummingbirds are captivated by bright, vibrant, and fragrant plants," explains Chuck Pavlich, director of new product development with Terra Nova Nurseries. "Red and red-orange flowers are particularly appealing to them, so consider planting Echinacea ‘Tomato Soup’ on your balcony to attract these charming birds.”

Learn what to plant in May for summer success.

2. Steer clear of pesticides

Hummingbird feeding on flower

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Hummingbirds feed on tiny insects as well as nectar. Bugs may be pests to us but are delicious and nutritious to hummingbirds. Once you’ve planted out your colorful urban garden, incorporate natural garden pest control methods.

Artificial pesticides will not only wipe out insect food sources on your balcony for hummingbirds but also intoxicate their nectar supply.

You can also use vinegar to make a natural pesticide mix that will get rid of ants, including the flying variety, and other insects (most hate the smell of vinegar). You can also use things that repel bugs to keep them away in the first place. The great new is you will have most of these in your kitchen cabinets already so no extra spend required.

3. Hang a hummingbird feeder

Hummingbirds on a red feeder

(Image credit: Getty Images)

As well as native flowers, an easy way to entice hummingbirds onto your balcony is to put out specially designed hummingbird feeders. 

Unlike other common garden birds, hummingbird diets consist of insects and nectar, so regular bird feeders will not be suitable for the creature's delicate needle-like beaks and hovering feeding style. 

Look for bright-colored (preferably red) feeders made from glass or plastic that hold liquid. It should also have more than one feeding port and perches. This highly-rated hummingbird feeder available on Amazon is well-loved by customers with over 16k reviews.

Ensure the hummingbird feeder is hung up in a sheltered position away from predators such as cats. Balcony windows can also be hazardous for hummingbirds, so it is safer to place feeders away from glazing to prevent harmful window collisions.

If near your window is the only spot you can hang one from, try a window decal to prevent bird strikes. These pretty round prismatic vinyl clings from Amazon are perfect for the job and will throw pretty glimmers around your apartment. A win-win!

4. Fill feeders with a homemade nectar recipe

Red hummingbird feeder

(Image credit: Getty Images)

It's easy to create a homemade nectar recipe from household items that the birds enjoy almost as much as the real thing. 

The only hummingbird DIY nectar recipe you’ll ever need is mix one part white granulated sugar to four parts cool boiled water. 

Stick to granulated and refined white sugar. Don’t be tempted to use artificial sweeteners, brown sugar, honey, or organic sugar, and never add food coloring. These products are harmful to hummingbirds.

5. Clean your hummingbird feeder regularly

Brown hummingbird on red feeder with green foliage in soft focus in background

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Cleaning your hummingbird feeder often is super important when it comes to attracting hummingbirds to your balcony. 

It is vital to make sure the bird feeder you choose is easy to take apart to thoroughly clean. Delicate and dainty hummingbirds can easily become sick from dirty, contaminated feeders, so cleaning is a must.

Wildlife Biologist Kristina Lynn explains. “You want to be able to clean every single surface. If you don't, you can get black mold, salmonella, and all sorts of harmful diseases that can kill hummingbirds.” 

Kristina recommends cleaning your hummingbird feeds two times a week in hot weather and once in cold, minimum. 

“Soak the feeder in water and vinegar for an hour. Then scrub clean with a toothbrush and allow it to dry before refilling with sugar water,” Kristina continues. 

6. Inject plenty of color

Small colorful balcony with striped rainbow rug pink metal bistro set and hanging planters with purple pansies

(Image credit: Getty Images/Per Magnus Persson)

Bright colors, particularly red are a proven way to bring hummingbirds onto your apartment balcony. As well as bright flowers fill your balcony with colorful accessories to attract hummingbirds whilst they are darting past. 

Hummingbird vision is sensitive to colors in the red to yellow range so by choosing plants in this tropical-toned spectrum, you’ll not only be keeping hummingbirds happy, you’ll also be nailing a hot outdoor garden trend

Complement your planting scheme with colorful outdoor cushions, red hummingbird feeders, zesty-toned plant pots, and kaleidoscopic wall hangings. 

7. Pop in perch spots

Hummingbird on curved dark iron post

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Hummingbirds love to find safe spots to rest so add plenty of perch habitats to your balcony.

Hanging basket brackets, secured vegetable stakes, and planter supports, colorful garden statues and ornaments, such as these butterfly garden stakes available on Amazon, which come in a pack of four and can be pushed easily into a plant pot, will add a touch of playful charm and a space for hummingbird respite.

8. Have patience and be consistent

Hummingbird on bowing green stem of a red tubular plant in late afternoon sunlight

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Once you’ve planted out colorful flowers and placed a feeder in a safe spot, don’t expect to see a hummingbird instantly. The key is to be patient. 

“Think about seasonal considerations in your area. Look online to see when hummingbirds come to your area and put your feeders out a week before," says Kristina.

"On my apartment balcony, I had to wait two weeks before hummingbirds came to my feeder, they just hadn’t seen it yet.”

Most hummingbirds migrate to different areas where food is more accessible during winter months. According to the American Bird Conservancy, most North American hummingbirds breed in Canada down to the Gulf Coast and then migrate to Mexico and Central America. 

Look online at eBird to find out when hummingbirds are due back in your area in springtime and put up your feeder a week before.  

Will I see hummingbirds on my balcony during winter?

Almost all of North America is blessed by the hummingbird population during spring and summer. But come winter the little sun worshipers head south in search of tropical blooms and insects. The American Bird Conservancy states that the exception is Anna's Hummingbird, which stays put all year along the Pacific Coast.

However, The BCSPCA states that some species of hummingbird are beginning to alter their migration patterns to stick around during winter. Scientists believe this may be due to us humans offering a food supply throughout cold months. 

Why not test the theory? In the fall keep feeders up for two weeks after you see the last bird using it. If they keep coming, ensure a clean nectar supply is on offer during fall right through to spring. Pioneering over-winter hummingbirds need food supply during cold months all the more.

Meet our experts

Kristina Lynn
Kristina Lynn

Kristina Lynn is a wildlife biologist and environmental activist based on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. Kristina performs studies that help to manage wildlife populations. Kristina shares fascinating videos on her YouTube Channel to over 57,000 subscribers about science and environmental issues impacting our lives today.  

Chuck Pavlich
Chuck Pavlich

With a passion for plants, Chuck has worked in the retail nursery business for 30 years. Chuck brings his passion for plants to TERRA NOVA®. He is responsible for new ideas for the breeders as well as overseeing the breeding process and shepherding our new products to the world's perennial market. His current breeding projects include Begonia and Coleus.

By introducing hummingbird-favorite flowers, clean hummingbird feeders filled with fresh sugar-water and plenty of perch spots, it won't be long before you can sit back on your favorite balcony furniture to watch the delicate display of darting hummingbirds from your very own box seats!