Plants that Attract Hummingbirds

Have you ever been “buzzed by a hummingbird?” If you have, you certainly know how their name came about. Hummingbirds flap their wings 50 to 200 beats per second. They can fly right, left, up, down, backwards and even upside down! They can also migrate 2600 miles to their destination.

All of this requires a lot of energy. They must feed every 10 minutes during the day and they may consume 2/3 of their body weight. Sugar is a major part of their diet. Tree sap and flowers are their main source of sugar. Hummingbirds also need protein to build strong muscles, so they eat insects and pollen. Their bills are long and tapered, perfectly suited for probing into the center of tubular flowers to sip the nectar. Humming birds have a good memory. They can remember food sources from previous years.

The tiny feet of hummingbirds are relatively useless. They only use them for perching.  They can’t even move 2 inches without flying. Rising off their perch without pushing, hummingbirds lift off from resting by flapping their wings at full speed before moving.

A hummingbird nest may already exist in your garden. They are very hard to see. In general they are the size of a walnut. Hiding among the landscape from predators and people, hummingbirds have a wonderful habitat of their own. As the birds move from flower to flower and plant to plant they are about their daily duties of pollinating, spreading pollen and seeds throughout your landscape and your neighbors.

Now that you are an expert about hummingbirds, what can you do to attract them to take up residence in your yard? Spread your flowers and feeders throughout your entire garden. This will discourage dominance by any one bird. Hummingbirds can be very territorial of their food. By having multiple feeders or plants throughout the whole garden, it will make it difficult for one bird to feed from everything at once.

Red, red, red. The favorite color of hummingbirds, and red tubular flowers are even better! However they do not have to be fragrant because they do not rely on smell for choosing the nectar they will eat. Don’t love red? That is okay. Attached is a long list of plants that hummingbirds will visit even if they are not red.

Place feeders in an area where there are flowers to attract hummingbirds. Feeders must be kept clean. During the summer heat, the solution should be changed at least every other day. Otherwise, it can ferment and get moldy. Never use honey. It can cause a fatal fungal infection on the birds’ tongues. Also do not use food coloring in the sugar/water

solution.

Want to try to photograph your beloved birds? Try not to cast a shadow on them. This will spook them and you will be left picture-less.

Important Note:  Pesticides, especially sprays can be lethal to

hummingbirds. Even if they do not take in enough nectar to kill them

directly, the number of small insects will drop. This may cause starvation

 and/or death of the young.

 

Check out the Garden Shop for a full line of hummingbird feeders and food.

Annuals

Agastache hybrids - Anise Hyssop

Begonia species - Begonia

Cleome species - Spiderflower

Cosmos species - Cosmos

Dahlia species - Dahlia

Hummingbird with red Dahlia

Fuchsia species - Fuchsia

Hibiscus species - Hibiscus

Impatiens species - Impatien

Ipomoea species - Morning Glory

Lantana species - Lantana

Mirabilis jalapa - Four-O-Clock

Nicotiana alata - Tobacco Plant

Pelargonium species - Geranium

Pensetmon species - Penstemon

Petunia species - Petunia

Salvia species - Salvia

Tropaeolum majus - Nasturtium

Verbena species - Verbena

Zinnia species - Zinnia

 

Perennials

Acanthus mollis - Bear’s Breeches

Alcea rosea - Hollyhock

Aquilegia canadensis - Columbine

Asclepias tuberosa - Butterfly Weed

Butterfly weed with hummingbird

Astilbe species - Astilbe

Calabrachoa species - Million Bells

Delphinium species - Delphinium

Dicentra spectabilis - Bleeding Heart

Digitalis species - Foxglove

Gaillardia species - Blanket Flower

Gaura lindheimeri - Whirling Butterflies

Hemerocallis species - Daylily

Heuchera sanguinea - Coralbells

Hibiscus species - Hibiscus

Lobelia cardinalis - Cardinal Flower

Lonicera species - Honeysuckle

Lupinus species - Lupine

Monarda didyma - Beebalm

Penstomen 'Huskers Red' - Beard Tongue

Salvia species - Salvia

Veronica hybrids - Speedwell

Shrubs

Abelia species - Glossy Abelia

Azalea species - Azalea

Buddleia species - Butterfly Bush

Cotoneaster species - Cotoneaster

Hibiscus species - Rose of Sharon

Campsis radicans - Trumpet Creeper

Rhododendron species - Rhododendron

Syringa vulgaris - Lilac

Chaenomeles speciosa - Flowering Quince

Weigelia - Weigelia

Bulbs, Corms and Tubers

Begonia tuberhybrida - Tuberous Begonia

Canna species - Canna

Crocosmia species - Crocosmia

Crocosmia and a hummingbird

Gladiolus species - Gladiolus

Iris species - Iris

Vines

Bougainvillea - Bougainvillea

Campsis radicans - Trumpet Creeper

Ipomoea - Morning Glory

Lonicera species - Honeysuckle

Amy Elizabeth Uva has a degree in Horticulture from the University of Connecticut. She is also a Master Gardener with over 13 years experience in horticulture.

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