Hummingbird gardens are easier to make than you would think. Hummingbirds are nectar eaters, but unlike butterflies they prefer tubular flowers instead of flat headed ones. One plant though that both hummingbirds and butterflies enjoy is agastache. This is a new perennial to me and I hope to add a couple varieties of it to my garden this year.
Hummingbirds' favorite color is red and they will be attracted to your garden if it contains a lot of red flowers. They like the red bee balm in my garden. I’ve also seen them sipping nectar from my coral bells, penstemon, bleeding heart, columbines, and cardinal flowers.
Hummingbirds have a very rapid metabolism and they need to sip nectar constantly. So hanging a hummingbird feeder in the area is not only another way to attract these little birds to your garden, it will insure that the hummers have food all season even if there are not presently flowers in your garden to feed them.
If you have a lot of hummingbirds, you will have to fill your feeder frequently. You can buy a premixed food, but it is expensive and it is just as easy to make your own. The recipe is one part sugar to four parts boiling water. Stir until the sugar is completely dissolved and let cool. You can store unused sugar solution in your refrigerator for about a week.
In the spring, I add annuals like red salvia, nicotiana, lantana, and snapdragons to my garden and plant them near where I hang my feeder. Usually I invest in a fuchsia plant too, to hang from our porch to further entice hummers to my garden.
There are also several vines that are perfect for hummingbird gardens. Morning Glories are annual vines and Trumpet Flower is a perennial. Both are favorites to these little birds. Some other good vine choices are wisteria, and clematis. Wouldn’t a vine covered arbor be a good addition to any garden?
Here in the midwest we do not have as many varieties of hummingbirds as the southwest of US does, but we have many ruby throated ones. It might take a little while to lure hummingbirds to your yard, but once they come they will keep coming and even remember your yard in following seasons.
They are not shy birds so you can hang your feeder fairly close to your house. This is fun because then you can better see their brilliant colors and whirring wings. Though beautiful, hummingbirds can be aggressive and territorial. You’ll need more than one feeder spaced at least six feet apart if you have a lot of hummingbirds. Hummingbird nests are tiny. I’ve never found one on our property, but I search every year. We have plenty of trees and shrubs in the yard and we might have a nest in one of them and not even know it. So for now I’ll keep looking and perhaps one day I’ll be lucky enough to find one.
agastache. Gardening for Nature
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Gardening for Bees
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