Hummingbirds are favorite garden visitors for many of us and there are plenty of things we can do to ensure they have what they need to thrive. It starts with an organic garden, including trees, shrubs, fresh water, and lots of insects to dine on, plus, the right flowering plants for nectar.
If you’re a hummer super fan, try taking my hummingbird quiz and see how you do!
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Basics for Hummingbirds and Other Pollinators
There are a few basics that ensure a garden is not just attractive to pollinators like hummingbirds, bees, and butterflies, but safe and healthy for them as well.
For starters, garden organically. There is no sense in attracting these guys to our garden if we’re going to turn around and use toxic substances that harm or kill them.
Trees and shrubs provide nesting and resting places, wind breaks, and protection from harsh weather and predators.
Fresh clean water is essential for all the living creatures in our gardens. Even a small pond or water feature can provide much-needed water for so many. I have a small pond which is frequented by so many different critters including squirrels, birds, toads, frogs, bees, birds, insects, and more.
I made this hanging water feeder last year and it ended up being a huge hit with way more birds and butterflies than I ever expected. This year I will have several more, now that I see the demand.
If you want to know when to expect migrating hummingbirds, follow this map: Hummingbird migration in United States and Canada.
Flowering Plants for Hummingbirds
There are a lot of flowers that hummingbirds enjoy. Their long beaks (and tongue-like proboscis) co-evolved with the deep, tube-like flowers from plants like honeysuckle, but they also take nectar from many other plants as well. And no, they don’t have to red!
Plants That Attract Hummingbirds
Note: spp. after a plant name means ‘species’.
- Bee balm (Monarda spp.) Perennial in zones 4-9
- Begoniam (Begonia spp.) Perennial in zones 6-9
- Blazing star (Liatris spp.) Perennial in zones 5-9
- Bleeding heart (Lamrocapnos and Dicentra spp.) Perennial in zones 2-9
- Butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa) Perennial in zones 4-9
- Canna (Canna generalis) Perennial in zones 8-10
- Cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis) Perennial in zones 2-9
- Carpet bugle (Ajuga reptans) Perennial in zones 4-10
- Century plant (Agave Americana) Perennial in zones 8-10
- Columbine (Aquilegia ssp.) Perennial in zones 3-8
- Coral bells (Heuchera sanguinea) Perennial in zones 3-9
- Dahlia (Dahlia merckii) Perennial in zones 7-9
- Dame’s rocket (Hesperis matronalis) Perennial in zones 2-9
- Delphinium (Delphinium spp.) Perennial in zones 3-7
- Flowering tobacco (Nicotiana alata) Perennial in zones 10-11
- Four-o’-Clock (Mirabilis jalapa) Perennial in zones 7-10
- Foxglove (Digitalis spp.) Perennial in zones 4-10
- Geranium (Pelargonium spp.) Perennial in zones 3-9
- Gilia (Gilia ssp.) Perennial in zones 3-9
- Gladiolus (Gladiolus spp.) Perennial in zones 8-10
- Hollyhocks (Alcea spp.) Perennial in zones 2-10
- Impatiens (Impatiens spp.) Perennial in zones 10-11
- Lantana (Lantana camara) Perennial in zones 9-11
- Lily (Lilium spp.) Perennial in zones 4-9
- Lupine (Lupinus spp.) Perennial in zones 4-8
- Nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus) Perennial in zones 8-11
- Paintbrush (Castilleja spp. ) Perennial in zones 3-9
- Penstemon (Penstemon spp. ) Perennial zones 3-10
- Petunia (Petunia spp. ) Perennial in zones 10-11
- Phlox (Phlox spp. ) Perennial in zones 3-9
- Red-Hot poker (Kniphofia uvaria ) Perennial in zones 5-9
- Scabiosas (Scabiosa spp.) Perennial in zones 3-7
- Scarlet sage (Salvia splendens ) Perennial in zones 10-11
- Spider flower (Cleome hassleriana and Tarenaya hassleriana ) Perennial in zones 3-10
- Sweet william (Dianthus barbatus) Perennial in zones 3-9
- Verbena (Verbena spp.) Perennial in zones 6-10
- Yucca (Yucca spp.) Perennial in zones 4-10
- Zinnia (Zinnia spp.) Perennial in zones 10-11
Providing Hummingbird Nectar
A hummingbird’s diet consists of insects and spiders, plus some delicious larvae and other snacks tossed in, as well as nectar.
Nectar, or ‘sugar water’, can have different ratios of sugar, depending on the flower type.
When we provide nectar in hummingbird feeders (this is the one I like best because it’s not too big and quite easy to clean), it’s important not to make it too weak or too strong. If it’s too weak, the hummers have visit many times to get the calories or energy they need. If it’s too sweet, it’s also sticky and can cause problems like sticky beaks.
This quick video shows how to make sugar water using the accepted 1:4 ratio. This means 1 part granulated, white sugar and 4 parts clean, boiled water.
Make Hummingbird Food
Are You a Hummer Super Fan?
And finally, if you’ve read this far, you’ve got to be a hummingbird fan like me.
Be sure to test your hummingbird knowledge with this quick quiz. I’d love to know if you’re a true hum zinger!
~Melissa the Empress of Dirt ♛