Posted by & filed under Hummingbird gardens, Hummingbirds, Native Plants, Uncategorized

By Sandra Nelson

 

While a great design is the first step to a hummin’ garden (See last week’s post for design tips)the plants that you chose can actually make it or break it. Hummingbirds, like many bees and butterflies, have some fairly specific preferences when it comes to their food sources. Keeping these characteristics in mind when selecting plants will help make your garden the neighborhood’s favorite hummingbird hangout.

 

Choose bright-colored blooms

 

 

You don’t have to limit yourself to reds and pinks. Hummingbirds have exceptional eyesight and see colors as well as, if not better than, humans. They are attracted to all bright colors. That means that you can include oranges, deep purples and bright blues. It’s advisable to limit the number of soft colors  —  whites, silvers and soft yellows  —  but you don’t need to eliminate them from your color palette.

 

Consider the bloom shape

 

 

Because of the long, narrow beaks and tongues, flowers that have tubular or trumpet shapes are perfect choices for hummingbird gardens. Elongated bloom shapes make it easy for hummers to draw the nectar out, while rounded, bowl and saucer- shaped blooms are difficult for the birds to extract enough nectar to satisfy their hunger.

 

Use hybrids cautiously

 

 

 

Hybrids are often bred for larger bloom or plant sizes, more intense colors or improved disease and insect resistances. Unfortunately, the improvements often result in blooms that have much less nectar than the original ones. Many experts suggest including some naturally nectar-rich native plants in hummingbird gardens for hardy, easy to grow options.

 

If you’re ready to add some hummingbird favorites to your garden,we’ve gathered a list of a few of our favorites. Plant some now and enjoy some entertaining visitors this summer!

 

 

NATIVE COLUMBINE

 

 

  • Blooms April to May
  • Full sun to part shade
  • Rich, moist, well-drained soil
  • 2 to 3 feet
  • Zones 3 to 8

 

CARDINAL FLOWER

 

 

  • Blooms July to September
  • Full sun to part shade
  • Rich, medium to wet soil
  • 2 to 4 feet
  • Zones 3 to 9

HARDY HYBISCUS

 

 

 

  • Blooms July to September
  • Full Sun
  • Average, moist soil
  • 3 to 7 feet
  • Zones 5 to 9

SALVIA

 

 

  • Blooms June to September
  • Full sun
  • Dry to medium soil
  • 1 to 2 feet
  • Zones 4 to 8

 

 

INDIAN PINK

 

 

  • Blooms June
  • Part to full shade
  • Medium, well-drained soil
  • 1 to 2 feet
  • Zones 5 to 9

 

 

PENSTEMON

 

 

  • Blooms April to June
  • Full sun
  • Medium to dry well-drained soil
  • 3 to 5 feet
  • Zones 3 to 8 

 

 

TRUMPET VINE

 

 

  • Blooms July
  • Full sun to part shade
  • Average well-drained soil and moisture
  • 25 to 40 feet
  • Zones 4 to 9

 

 

RED HOT POKER

 

 

  • Blooms May to June
  • Full Sun
  • Average well-drained soil and moisture
  • 3 to 4 feet
  • Zones 5 to 9

 

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