Hummingbirds eat while hovering on
the wing. They like nectar and tiny insects from bright, tube-shaped blossoms and bright
flowers with deep throats. And while hummingbird feeders on the porch and near the window
are nice for bringing the little birds up close, watching them hover around the garden,
darting from vine to vine and flower to flower, has a special charm, too.
One of the best annual vines to attract hummingbirds is the
Cardinal Climber (Ipomea x multifida). Another is the scarlet runner bean. In upright
plants, any of the red salvias appeal to hummingbirds, as do the bright cleome or spider
flower and the sprawling nasturtium.
Among the easy-to-grow perennials, try lobelia, ornamental
oregano and monarda (bee balm). Honeysuckle, which often grows wild, also attracts
hummingbirds but the wild kind tends to take over everything else you've planted, so ask
at your Growise Center about one of the red-and-cream cultivated varieties that behaves
more moderately. An earlier blooming perennial, columbine, will offer food for
hummingbirds before some of the summer's later flowers are in full production.
In dry climates Zauschneria, often known as California fuchsia,
is a pretty flower that grows about one foot tall, and has bright red flowers. Your
Growise Center experts can tell you which plants will do best in your region.
If you mix some plants that attract butterflies in with these
flowers, you'll see that sometimes hummingbirds actually share feeding ground with
butterflies. Try especially any of the tall growing phlox in brighter colors and the
cultivated forms of Joe Pye Weed.
In addition to plants that grow in the landscape, add a few
flowering-hanging baskets to broaden the hummingbird smorgasbord.