Hummingbird Garden


One good way to enjoy the company of hummingbirds is planting a hummingbird garden. In addition to providing them a natural diet, a hummer garden is an excellent way to attract birds to your nearby feeder: since hummingbirds feed by sight on regularly followed routes - called traplining - their inquisitive nature will quickly lead them to investigate any possible new source of food. A hummer garden is also a great way to capture the birds on film or video, and makes a much nicer backdrop for your photos than the typical plastic feeder. If you plan carefully and select a variety of plants that flower at successively later dates, you will be rewarded with happy hummers throughout the season.

Using pesticides around hummingbird plants is a very bad idea. Killing garden pests will also eliminate the small insects hummingbirds rely upon for protein. In addition, hummers might directly ingest pesticides sprayed onto flowers, which could sicken or kill the birds. Remember: if you wouldn't eat it yourself, don't feed it to a hummingbird! (Well, maybe not the bugs...)

Since hummers, like most birds, have virtually no sense of smell, the flowers that attract them tend to have little or no fragrance, apparently directing their resources instead toward high visibility and nectar production. Note also that cultivated hybrids often make much less nectar than wild strains. While you should visit your local nursery for suggestions specific to your climate and area, here are some of the best plants to consider if you're planning a hummingbird garden:

Plants to Attract and Feed Hummingbirds
Trees and Shrubs
Azalea
Butterfly Bush (Buddleia)
Cape Honeysuckle
Flame Acanthus
Flowering Quince
Lantana
Manzanita
Mimosa
Red Buckeye
Tree Tobacco
Turk's Cap
Weigela

Vines
Coral Honeysuckle
Cypress Vine
Morning Glory
Scarlet Runner Bean
Trumpet Creeper

Flowers
Some may be annuals or perennials depending on climate.

Perennials
Bee Balm (Monarda)
Canna
Cardinal Flower
Columbine
Coral Bells
Four O'Clocks
Foxglove
Hosta
Hummingbird Mint (Agastache)
Little Cigar
Lupine
Penstemon
Yucca

Annuals
Beard Tongue (and other penstemons)
Firespike
Fuchsia
Impatiens
Jacobiana
Jewelweed
Petunia
Various Salvia species
Shrimp Plant

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