Hummingbirds, what a welcome delight into any outdoor garden space. These tiny, beautiful birds, have an impressive wingspan and a unique ability to hover in mid-air as they feed on nectar. They are absolutely beautiful to watch, but they also play an important role in pollinating flowers and plants. There are many plants that you can add to your garden to create a welcoming habitat for these spectacular creatures of color. Let's explore some of the best plants for attracting hummingbirds and some tips for planting and caring for them.
Measuring in at about 3 – 5 inches, and weighing less than an ounce, hummingbirds are among the smallest birds in the world. Hummingbirds primarily feed on a sugary liquid inside the flower called nectar. Hummingbirds also eat spiders and insects, providing them with protein.
I strongly believe that native plants are the best choice to aid in attracting hummingbirds to your garden. Native plants are those that have evolved to grow in a specific region, and they often have a symbiotic relationship with local wildlife, including hummingbirds. Native plants are more adapted the local soil and climate conditions. It can also be beneficial to add some non-native plants as nectar sources.
A hummingbird feeding from a Bee Balm plant./Veronika_Andrews/pixabay
Types pf Plants for Hummingbirds
To attract hummingbirds to your garden, it's important to plant a variety of flowers that produce nectar throughout the season. Here are some of the best plants for hummingbirds:
- Bee balm: This plant produces clusters of tubular flowers in shades of red, pink, and purple. It blooms in mid-summer and is a favorite of hummingbirds.
- Cardinal flower: This tall, spiky plant produces bright red flowers that are a favorite of hummingbirds. It blooms in late summer and early fall.
- Trumpet vine: This vine produces large, trumpet-shaped flowers in shades of orange and red. It blooms in mid-summer and is a favorite of hummingbirds.
- Salvia : This group of plants produces spikes of tubular flowers in shades of red, pink, and purple. They bloom throughout the summer and are a favorite of hummingbirds.
- Fuchsia: This plant produces drooping flowers in shades of red, pink, and purple. It blooms throughout the summer and is a favorite of hummingbirds.
- Honeysuckle: This vine produces clusters of tubular flowers in shades of red, pink, and yellow. It blooms in mid-summer and is a favorite of hummingbirds.
When you are planning out your garden, make sure plants are easily accessible to create a “nectar corridor,” (Fleming et al. 1993) A nectar corridor, is an easily accessible “path” of the special plants for hummingbirds you planted. It would also help to include a water source along with your native and non-native plants. You will surely enjoy hummingbirds in your garden with the above plants and tips to help you design an inviting habitat for this most delicate and interesting species.
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