For gardeners, the hummingbirds that visit our feeders and flowers during spring and summer are the jewels that add sparkle and delight to our landscapes. Nectar-filled hummingbird feeders hanging from the porch or outside the windows can bring them up close, but it’s the nectar-rich flowers in the garden that allow you to observe the amazing interaction among Nature’s flora and fauna in your own back yard.
Which flowers are best for bringing in the hummingbirds? Think of bright, rich colors that attract their attention, and tubular or trumpet-shaped flowers that accommodate the birds’ long, narrow beaks.
Here’s a list of five easy-to-grow favorites that will keep hummers happy to visit your landscape throughout spring and summer. Bonus: some of these flowers will attract butterflies, as well.
(Lobelia cardinalis): The tall spikes of red, inch-long tubular flowers are natural attractants for hummingbirds. These native perennials grow well in rich soil in part or full sun, and thrive with regular watering.
(Salvia spp.): These upright plants also have spikes of tubular flowers, usually in red or blue shade variations. Some are perennials; some are biennials usually grown as annuals, which can reseed in the right conditions. Most grow and bloom best in full sun, but can tolerate a bit of shade, as well.
(Lonicera sempervirens) and crossvine (Bignonia capreolata): The first hummingbirds you see each year may visit your landscape to get a sip from these woody, early-blooming vines. Both grow in full sun or light shade to cover a fence or trellis, and open their tubular flowers in spring; coral honeysuckle may bloom intermittently throughout the summer. Moderate to regular water keep them growing and thriving.
(Monarda): These are native (but sometimes short-lived) perennials that have clusters of long-tubed flowers that hummers love. They enjoy full sun or partial shade and regular watering. Note that clumps of bee balm can spread quickly (they are members of the vast family of mints), and may be prone to powdery mildew in some situations. But the blooms are all but guaranteed to attract hummingbirds, along with bees and other pollinators.
(Zinnia elegans): Tall varieties of these bright summer annuals bring hummingbirds and butterflies to a full-sun landscape. They’re easy to grow from seeds or from nursery-bought seedlings planted in spring, and bloom all summer until they’re brought down by frost. Cutting the flowers for summer bouquets keeps them blooming, prompting even more flowers for the hummingbirds to enjoy.
Visit the Gardens of Babylon Garden Center to find a selection of perennials and annuals to bring hummingbirds to your landscape.