Making Your Yard A Hummingbird Magnet

Sunset Crater Beardtongue (Penstemon clutei) is a long-blooming hummingbird magnet.Sunset Crater Beardtongue (Penstemon clutei) is a long-blooming hummingbird magnet.
Sunset Crater Beardtongue (Penstemon clutei) is a long-blooming hummingbird magnet.
Making your yard a magnet for hummingbirds is easy if you provide the three basics: water, shelter and food.

Attracting hummingbirds to your yard with flowering plants is a very entertaining gardening activity. Children, in particular, delight in seeing these winged jewels darting from flower to flower in search of their next sip of nectar. While many non-gardeners use hummingbird feeders as nectar sources, planting colorful flowers, shrubs and vines brings added beauty to the landscape and an appreciation and understanding of how the natural world is interconnected.

Gardening to attract hummingbirds is easy to do. By providing water, shelter and an assortment of colorful flowering plants, you will be rewarded with the company of these wonderful wild birds. You will also help ensure their future by replacing food and habitats that have been lost due to human activities like agriculture and urbanization.

Hummingbirds prefer water sources that drip or spray. A fountain with multiple tiers that drip or a very low volume mist nozzle attached to a branch or tree trunk are ideal. Remember to locate the mist nozzle or fountain in the open, situated away from hiding spots where cats can hide and ambush the birds.

Conifers, shade trees and taller shrubs, will provide a sheltered perch where the hummingbirds can rest, build nests and safely survey their garden domain. Placing small handfuls of clothes drier lint in the branches will provide material for the "hummers" to build their nests.

Planting a variety of plants with different blooming times will help to keep hummingbirds happy all season.

Plants That Attract Hummingbirds In Spring And Summer

For late spring and early summer color it is recommended to plant the following:

Columbine (Aquilegia) makes an excellent early-season hummingbird nectar plant. Featured here is Golden Spur Columbine (Aquilegia chrysantha).

Ava's Hummingbird Mint (Agastache Ava) is blooms summer through fall, and is excellent for feeding hummingbirds as they migrate in fall.

Plants That Attract Hummingbirds In Mid-Summer Through Fall

The presence of these later bloomers will ensure an abundance of hummingbirds at the height of their southward migration.

To attract hummingbirds from mid-summer through the fall, plant the following suggestions:

Orange Carpet Creeping Hummingbird Trumpet (Zauschneria garrettii Orange Carpet) is a wonderful late-season, low-growing hummingbird plant.

Another late-season bloomer is Red Birds in a Tree (Scrophularia macrantha).

Even More Plants That Attract Hummingbirds

To fill in the back of the perennial border, the easy to grow Butterfly Bush (Buddleia) is unsurpassed. This late summer blooming shrub comes in a range of colors, including burgundy ("Royal Red"), pink ("Pink Delight"), purple ("Black Knight"), and lavender ("Dartmoor"). A difficult to find but wonderful spring-blooming Butterfly Bush, Buddleia alternifolia, produces long, graceful flower spikes that hummingbirds and butterflies love.

Trumpet Vine (Campsis) is a vigorous plant, useful for covering large expanses of fence or wall. It has large trumpet-shaped flowers in yellow and various shades of orange.

The scarlet or orange flowered honeysuckles, Lonicera, offer the gardener a more refined and smaller growing choice for small fences and trellises.

It is a little known fact that hummingbirds eat large quantities of small insects, such as aphids and whiteflies, as an essential part of their diet.

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