Make Your Garden a Hummingbird Haven

Make Your Garden a Hummingbird Haven

One of the biggest perks of maintaining a pristine garden is continuous visits from hummingbirds, butterflies, bees, and especially hummingbirds.  These remarkable little creatures are fascinating to watch.  Feeding every 10-15 minutes, hummingbirds visit 1,000 - 2,000 flowers per day in order to achieve their caloric intake.  Here is how to extend an open invitation to these coveted little garden guests.

Hummingbirds have a one-track mind:  nectar.  Evident by their long bills and grooved tongues which are ideal for probing flowers, hummingbirds were made to eat nectar.  Attract, nourish and help hummingbirds flourish by planting tubular shaped flowers that hold the most nectar.   Encourage them to make themselves at home by spacing the flowers so they have room to hover and navigate between blooms.

Roll out the red carpet,  literally.  Since hummingbirds do not have a keen sense of smell, they rely on seeking out bright colors to procure nectar.  They are most fond of red.  Naturally, planting red tubular flowers is akin to ringing the dinner bell for them.  You can also sustain a hummingbird haven by making and offering them nectar 24/7. Simply combine 1 cup of sugar and 4 cups of water and voila!  You have nectar.

Tying red ribbons on your hummingbird feeder is sufficient to lure them in.  You do not need to dye your nectar red.  The food coloring may have an adverse effect on them.  Another alluring amenity for attracting hummingbirds is moving water.  They find a gentle, continuous spray from a sprinkler hose irresistible.  All that hovering and frenzied wing flapping works up a sweat!  

Following is a list of flowers that hummingbirds, butterflies and bees find irresistible. 

Foxgloves . . . 

These elegant, tall and stately plants may reach 6 feet in height, depending on the variety.  Hummingbirds love the nectar of foxglove flowers that grow in tubular shaped clusters.  These hardy beauties will thrive in full sun to partial shade. Keep their soil moist and they will not disappoint you or the hummingbirds!  

While hummingbirds are attracted to their nectar, children and pets should be kept away as these plants are toxic when consumed.  Thus, deer and rabbits steer clear of it.  Yet it is grown and distilled commercially for the purpose of making Digitalis, a heart medication. Foxgloves add terrific vertical beauty!  

Sedum . . . 

Also known as “stonecrop,” these hardy plants are easy to grow and adored by gardeners and pollinators alike.  They are suitable for just about any garden due to the large variety of species available.  Typically, they are divided into two categories:  low-growing sedum (ideal for ground cover) and upright sedum.  

Hummingbirds are attracted to the blooms of upright sedum.  These low-maintenance beauties do best in full sun, average moisture and well drained soil.  They are tolerant of light shade and poor soils.  While deer and rabbits avoid them, hummingbirds, butterflies and bees cannot resist them. 

Shasta Daisy . . . 

The quintessential summer bloom:  cheerful, low-maintenance, classic perennial.  These dependable beauties thrive in full sun and moderately fertile soil.  Like clockwork, they return every year to bloom in your garden till early fall.  Albeit, hummingbirds are not attracted to them, Shasta daisies attract another coveted garden guest:   butterflies!

Black Eyed Susan . . . 

These golden-yellow beauties add cheeriness to any garden.  They are members of the sunflower family and as such enjoy and prefer the full sun.  They can reach heights of over 3 feet, with leaves of 6 inches and stalks over 8 inches long.   They thrive in fertile soil and if left unchecked can be territorial and squash out other plants growing nearby.  They are a favorite of butterflies and bees. 

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