Melinda's Gardening How To: Attracting Hummingbirds

Attracting Hummingbirds

Invite hummingbirds into your garden!

It's easy to attract hummers if you provide the essentials; food, water and shelter. Then, enjoy the color, motion and entertainment they provide throughout the season. And don’t worry if planting space is limited. Add a feeder, source of water and grow a few of their favorite plants in containers on your patio, deck or balcony.

 

What You Need

  • Nectar rich plants
    • Select a variety of plants to provide season long flowers for you and the hummingbirds to enjoy
    • Include a few plants with red tubular flowers. This helps attract them to the garden where they will feed upon a variety of different colored flowers.
    • Include native plants, many of which are popular garden plants, whenever possible. Local hummingbirds have a longstanding relationship with plants native to the area. You will also find them feeding on cultivated plants as well.
  • Fuzzy leafed plants. The hummingbirds harvest the soft plant fibers and use them to line their nests.
  • Trees and shrubs if space allows...
    • include them in or near the garden for birds to use as perches, collect lichens to camouflage their nests and use as springboards for their dramatic courtship displays.
  • Perch within 10 to 20 feet of the garden if you are unable to add trees and shrubs to the landscape.
  • Water for the hummingbirds to sip, preen and bathe. Drip fountains, garden misters and small waterfalls are great options.
  • Feeder to help attract the birds & supplement garden’s nectar (optional). Hummingbird Mix – Must clean feeder every 2-3 days

1 part sugar (not honey) and 4 parts water

Boil for 1-2 minutes and cool and refrigerate extra nectar.

 

Design & Care Tips

  • Create the garden near a patio or window where you can easily view these winged visitors.
  • Include vines, hanging baskets and window boxes so hummingbirds have easy access to a wide variety of food and you will enjoy the additional bird watching locations.
  • Plant in groups or masses providing hummingbirds with more nectar within a smaller area.
  • Remove faded flowers as needed to keep plants blooming and providing nectar for the birds.
  • Spread a thin layer of shredded leaves or evergreen needles over the soil surface to conserve moisture and suppress weeds for easy care of your plants.
  • Skip the pesticides that can harm the birds and eliminate a food source whenever possible. Hummingbirds feed upon aphids and other garden pests.

 

Just a Few Plants to Consider

  • Annuals
    • Ageratum
    • Cuphea (Cigar plant, Mexican heather)
    • Fuchsia
    • Heliotrope
    • Hibiscus
    • Hollyhock
    • Lantana
    • Nasturtium
    • Nicotiana (Flowering Tobacco)
    • Petunia
    • Salvia
  • Perennials
    • Anise hyssop (Agastache)
    • Beebalm (Monarda)
    • Bleeding heart
    • Cardinal flower
    • Catmint (Nepeta)
    • Columbine
    • Coral bells (Heuchera)
    • Daylily
    • Hibiscus
    • Hosta
    • Penstemon
    • Phlox
    • Red hot poker
    • Salvia
  • Vines
    • Canary creeper (annual)
    • Candy corn plant (annual)
    • Cardinal vine (annual)
    • Clematis
    • Honeysuckle vine
    • Hyacinth Bean vine (annual)
    • Mandevillea & Dipladenia (annual)
    • Passionvine (annual and perennial)
    • Scarlet runner bean (annual)
    • Trumpet vine
  • Shrubs
    • Abelia
    • Blueberry
    • Butterfly bush
    • Caryopteris
    • Hydrangea
    • Lilac
    • Rose of Sharon
    • Summersweet (Clethra)
    • Viburnum
    • Weigela

 

Written by gardening expert, Melinda Myers. Melinda Myers is a nationally recognized gardening expert with more than 30 years of horticulture experience. She is a wealth of knowledge and we are pleased to share Melinda’s Gardening How-To with you!