They’re baaack! The hummingbirds have returned to my gardens. These amazing fast-fluttering little birds are so fascinating to watch. But how do you attract them? Hummingbirds are attracted to nectar. They travel from plant to plant, flapping their wings up to 70 times per second, lapping the nectar up with their tongue. The love bright colors, not just reds. I am by no means a birding expert but here are some of my successful tips for attracting hummingbirds in your garden that I use.
♦ A good start (before you even think about planting flowers) is to use a hummingbird feeder. This puts the thought in their mind that “hey, this yard’s got good nectar!”, and they will be coming back for more. Feeders need to be cleaned with hot, soapy water at least once a week and refilled so the nectar does not ferment. I hang my feeder in a spot where I can enjoy it and somewhere that is easy for them to access — like under a tree.
♦ You can make your own nectar at home by combining 1 cup sugar and 4 cups water. Bring mixture to a boil and cool and refrigerate. Do not add red dye or food coloring — keep it natural! The feeder you have has enough red on it to attract the hummingbirds.
Now let’s talk about plants. There are so many options for you. They basically like anything with a trumpet shaped flower (although, it doesn’t have to be) that is bright. And, your flowers don’t all have to be red. They will gravitate towards any bright color — pinks, yellow, purples, you name it. They are attracted to both annuals, flowers that only last one season, and perennials, flowers that come back year after year. In our yard, we plant a lot of annuals. I love them because they consistently bloom (if taken care of properly) throughout the entire summer. Perennial are great too but be aware that their bloom time is not as long. It is nice to have a mixture of both.
You can find plenty of hummingbird-loving flowers at your local garden center or farmer’s market. Before purchasing, make sure you have the right growing environment in your yard. You don’t want to plant a flower that can only tolerate shade or part shade in the hot blazing sun. Here are some ideas for you:
Butterfly Bush (perennial, full-sun)
Daylily (perennial, full-sun)
Bee Balm (perennial, full-sun)Trumpet flower (perennial, full-sun)
Delphinium (perennial, full-sun)
Torenia (annual, part-sun)
Mandevilla (annual, full-sun)
Calibrachoa/Million Bells (annual, full-sun)
Petunias (annual, full-sun)
Impatiens (annual, part-sun)
Salvia (annual, full-sun)
Dragon Wing Begonia (annual, part-sun)
Lantana (annual, full-sun)
Dig in and have fun! Happy Birdwatching! Happy Planting!