Hummingbird Nectar Recipe

Hummingbird Nectar Recipe

Isn't it Sweet!

Here is a homemade hummingbird nectar recipe to use now that you have purchased several hummingbird feeders and decided where to hang them.

Please Note: If you have decided to hang feeders, feeding hummingbirds is a commitment and there are 2 VERY IMPORTANT RULES you must follow:

  1. You must be vigilant about changing the nectar regularly (every 3 to 5 days) to keep it from spoiling. See filling instructions.
  2. You must keep your feeders clean from bacteria which can be harmful to hummingbirds. See cleaning instructions.

Here are step by step instructions to make hummingbird food with the formula for the sugar to water ratio that you can print.

For a large selection of Hummingbird Feeders, Accessories and Wind Chimes: Visit Our Store!

Making Homemade Hummingbird Nectar:

The Hummingbird Food Recipe is actually a "Hummingbird Food Formula" or a "sugar and water ratio:
4:1 ratio, that is, 4 cups of water to 1 cup sugar or make more or less volume if so desired.

How to Make Hummingbird Food : HGTV Gardens
Attract hummingbirds to your yard with these plants and this recipe for how to
make hummingbird food from HGTV Gardens.

A Homemade Nectar Recipe:

  • Step 1: Bring 4 cups of water to a boil.
  • Step 2: Add 1 cup of white granulated sugar.
  • Step 3: Stir well until the sugar is dissolved.
  • Step 4: Boil this mixture for 2 minutes to help prevent it from spoiling too rapidly.
  • Step 5: Allow to thoroughly cool.
  • Step 6: Pour into clean hummingbird feeders.


  • Use a larger 4 parts water to 1 part sugar mixture to make a bigger batch of nectar.
  • You can store the unused homemade hummingbird nectar in the refrigerator for 2 weeks.
  • Do not use honey as this can cause a fatal infection to a hummingbird's tongue.
  • Artificial sweeteners or sugars have no nutritional value. Please don't use them.
  • Red dyes are not necessary and some may be unhealthy.
  • Remember to clean your feeder regularly.
  • Change the nectar every 3 to 5 days and more often in hot weather.
  • NOTE: Since this hummingbird food recipe is a sugar water mixture, it can quickly ferment in the heat and sun causing bacteria and mold. You will see the nectar turn cloudy when it starts to ferment.

We have been using this nectar recipe for years and we have had many hungry birds at our feeders.

We hope your feeders will be as busy with hummingbirds enjoying this delectable treat!

Jewel Box" feeder. Its very easy to clean and has 2 options for mounting and installation.
I also did a review on this one.

I clean my feeders at a sink with brushes and a tiny amount of dish soap and water. Rinsing the feeder thoroughly to remove all traces of the soap. If there is a soap residue left behind it could alter the taste of the nectar and repel the hummers.

Another method is to use a water and vinegar solution, about a 4 to 1 ratio of water to vinegar. Again, rinse the solution well and leave no vinegar residue.

If you see mold present in/on your feeders, you need to change your nectar sooner with more frequent cleanings. (I clean my feeders every time I change the nectar to avoid a mold situation. Some clean their feeders at every other nectar changes.)  To rid the mold, soak the feeders for 1 to 2 hours in a very mild bleach and water solution. A 10 to 1 ratio should be fine.  The soaking will kill the mold bacteria and prevent further growth but the discoloring will still be present.
After soaking, clean the feeders thoroughly with brushes.

More Information about Hummingbird Nectar

Another detail about the nectar recipe is that it can be adapted. This recipe of 1 part sugar to 4 parts water is adequate for the spring and summer months. One exception would be when we initially attract the birds. At this time you can make a stronger mixture of 1 part sugar to 3 parts water. When our hummingbirds have settled at our feeders, change the recipe to 1 part sugar to 4 parts water. This recipe is actually a little closer to the nectar found in nature.

Another time to adapt the recipe is before the Hummingbird Migration.  Did you know that these tiny birds need to bulk up and double their body weight in order to successfully make the long migration journey? Can you imagine doubling body weight is so short a time? So it is recommended by scientists that we increase the recipe to 1 part sugar to 3 parts water for a month or so before the expected migration.

It is a misconception by some that nectar is a replacement for water. True nectar is a liquid but hummingbirds, like all wild birds, need a water source.

Hummingbird Guide › Nectar Recipe

By James White, Copyright © 2009-2014 ™
All Rights Reserved
By James White, Copyright © 2009-2014 ™
All Rights Reserved

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