The Hummingbirds are Back! Part II

Fill your garden with Hummingbird-attracting plants, such as Agastache (Hummingbird Mint), Penstemon (Beardtongue), Salvia (Meadow Sage), and flowering vines like the Lonicera in the picture above. You will attract more hummingbirds with these flowers than using feeders.

Late summer is the time of the year when gardeners here in New Mexico are waiting for our life-giving “monsoon” rains and the return of the hummingbirds. We get about 60 to 70% of our annual precipitation in New Mexico in July, August, and early September. The rains were late to start but have given the state much needed moisture, as late July had been abnormally hot and dry. The return of the rain is very good news for the hummingbirds as well. The hummingbird population in Santa Fe is transitory with the numbers of these tiny birds peaking in early September as they move their way south to their winter grounds in MX, as well as southern AZ and NM.

The soaking rains have revived our heat and drought stressed gardens, and the natural nectar plants that feed the hummingbirds are in full bloom. I love to plant for the hummingbirds the following: Hummingbird mints (Agastache), Sages (Salvia), Hummingbird Trumpets (Zauschneria), Beardtongue (Penstemon), Honeysuckle Vine (Lonicera sempervirens cultivars), and Trumpet Vine (Campsis). These are some of our” big names” for flowers that provide natural nectar. I’ve been especially enamored with the Sages and Hummingbird Mints for many decades, so my gardens are over-flowering with as many of them as I can fit into my beds.

Some of my favorite Agastache include ‘Rosita’, ‘Ava’, Agastache rupestris (Grant Co., NM collection), A. rupestris, ‘Glowing Embers’, and the hybrid, ‘Blue Blazes’. My favorite Sages include various Salvia greggii cultivars and hybrids, including ‘Raspberry Delight’, ‘Furman’s Red’, ‘Ultra Violet’, ‘Maraschino’, and a fabulous and very tough native from the Davis Mountains of West TX, Salvia reptans. For vine lovers, try Campsis radicans ‘Flava,’ a gorgeous butterscotch yellow variety of the species.

I’m thrilled to see so many of our HCG Facebook fans posting their hummingbird photos. Let us know you favorite hummingbird plants as well. We love seeing plant photos and appreciate learning about other plants that supply our beloved “hummers” with natural nectar.

Text by David Salman

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4 thoughts on “The Hummingbirds are Back! Part II”

  • Janet Kieffer
    Janet Kieffer 08/11/10 at 6:02 pm

    They seem to be gearing up for the trip south. I don't know if the rufous guys and gals are here yet, but there is definite feeder fighting and action! Last year, I saw a calliope at my friend's feeder in July or August.


  • Debbi

    Gee, monsoon...what monsoon!!! Not much for me outside of Tucson!! But the hummingbirds have been here for awhile and once again their favorite this year is Desert Sunrise....and I am now soooooo excited for 2011 cuz I've been waiting for you to release a new Agastache!!

  • Kathy

    I'm not sure where all the hummingbirds have been this summer, but I have only had a few instead of the 8 to 13 that usually spend a number of weeks here on all the flowers I plant with them in mind. Spring came so late to the high country that what should have spring flowers are still blooming now, and I think a lot of the hummingbirds stayed up high. I haven't had all my little Rufus friends this year, and I miss all the "air shows" they put on.

  • Jacki

    Here in Steamboat, Co. our hummers came end of May and left the area about a week ago- they are heading your way! Never saw so many hummingbirds, the 3 feeders needed refilling every day.

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