Hummingbirds in the Garden

hummingbird

There are many elements to a good summer garden. None are fully complete without hummingbirds zooming around flowers! If you already have a flower garden, you are on your way to having a hummingbird retreat. To make these tiny birds feel more welcome, you can make your garden more of a hummer haven.

Gardeners play an important role in ensuring visiting hummingbirds stay as healthy and happy as possible.

Hummingbirds’ metabolism is amazing. Their wings can beat over 50 times per second and their hearts beat over 1000 times per minute. To fuel this high metabolism, they must eat every 15 minutes. They will have to visit over 2000 flowers every day to manage their hunger! Finding that many flowers can be difficult. Therefore having plants that flower throughout the season is important – from spring bulbs to fall asters.

Design larger clusters of flowers in groups.

Combining colorful annuals and perennials is an obvious advantage. Hummers, after all, love color! For best results, cluster colors together rather than intermixing all the flowers. Larger groupings of color will give better visual impact, making your plants irresistible. While hummers are renowned for favoring red, don’t limit your garden. They visit flowers of any color.

Select flowers that bloom at different times, giving the hummingbirds a source of nectar throughout the season.

Colorful, bountiful, and nectar-rich blooms will help attract hummingbirds and encourage them to stay. Filling your space with a diversity of plants, including natives, is the best way to cultivate a healthy ecosystem with a rich food supply. Create flower beds in both sun and shaded areas. Making curved beds will give hummers better access to all flowers.

hummingbirds flower

Don’t limit your pallet to just tubular-shaped flowers.

While tubular shaped flowers are typical hummingbird attractants, they visit most flowers. Plants grown for extra petals or that have lots of fragrance are often poor sources of nectar. Uncultivated varieties offer the best source of food.

Proper plant care is as important to the hummingbirds as it is to the plants.

To help ensure the best, continuous flowers, the plants need to be kept healthy. Deadhead faded flowers, pull out competing weeds, keep plants watered well, and provide proper fertilizer. 

If your goal is to attract hummingbirds, then you will want to create a safe, non-toxic respite for them. While hummers consume a lot of nectar from flowers, they also feed on large quantities of tiny insects, particularly during the nesting season. To ensure hummers stay healthy, avoid using pesticides.

Water is crucial to hummingbirds' survival.

Pollen is messy. A good grooming session is critical to the health of hummingbirds, and they take bathing seriously. To maintain their flight, hummingbirds need to remove pollen and other dirt from their feathers. Bird baths provide a place to cool off, bathe, and drink. Bird baths for hummers must be shallow. They also greatly appreciate misters.

Consider supplementing natural food sources.

While the cornerstone of any hummingbird haven is flowers, a feeder is an ideal way to draw them closer. Make a simple nectar syrup by combining 1 cup of water with 1/4 cup of sugar. Never use any other sweetener, like honey, brown sugar, or artificial sweeteners; they are not safe for hummingbirds. Since hummers are extremely territorial, place multiple feeders at least 10 feet apart or better yet, out of visual range.

When creating your hummingbird haven, here are a few plants to consider:

Bleeding Hearts
Butterfly Weed
Canna
Clethra
Columbine
Coral Bells
Dahlia
Daylily
Diervilla
Echinacea
Fuschia

Gaillardia
Hibiscus
Hosta
Impatiens
Itea
Lantana
Lavender
Lilac
Lobelia
Lupine
Mandevilla 

Monarda
Morning Glory
Nepeta
Penstemon
Petunia
Phlox
Rhododendron
Rudbeckia
Salvia
Sunflower
Weigelia

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