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Hummingbirds

by Carole McCray

In spring the iridescent hummingbirds appear. Their loud humming announces their arrival at the syrup feeders we have hung. Experienced eaters soon realize that the sweet nectar needed to sustain them is often found in the nectar of red tubular flowers. Other flowers, trees, shrubs, and vines will also lure hummingbirds to your garden.

The hummingbird garden can be simple or elaborate. Window boxes, flower-filled pots, or perennial beds are suitable hummingbird habitats. The following flowers are some hummingbird favorites.

HUMMINGBIRD FLOWERS

BEE BALM—Monarda spp.

BEGONIA—Begonia spp.

BLEEDING HEART—Dicentra spp.

CARDINAL FLOWER—Lobelia cardinalis

CARPET BUGLE—Ajuga reptans

COLUMBINE—Aquilegia ssp.

DAHLIA—Dahlia merckii

DELPHINIUM—Delphinium ajacis

FLOWERING TOBACCO—Nicotiana alata

FOXGLOVE—Digitalis spp.

FUCHSIAS—Fuchsia spp.

GERANIUM—Pelargonium spp.

GLADIOLUS—Gladiolus spp.

HOLLYHOCKS—Althea spp.

IMPATIENS—Impatiens spp.

LUPINE—Lipinus spp.

NASTURTIUM—Tropaeolum majus

PAINTBRUSH—Castilleja spp.

PETUNIA—Petunia spp.

PHLOX—Phlox spp.

SCABIOSAS—Scabiosa spp.

SCARLET SAGE—Salvia splendens

SWEET WILLIAM—Dianthus barbatus

VERBENA—Verbena spp.

YUCCA—Yucca spp.

ZINNIA—Zinnia spp.

Shrubs, trees, and vines also are enticements to hummingbirds. Trees and shrubs can be grouped together to form a garden framework; then add flower beds or potted flowers in front of or around trees or shrubs.

SHRUBS

AZALEAS—Rhododendron spp.

BUTTERFLY BUSH—Buddleia davidii

CAPE HONEYSUCKLE—Tecomaria capensis

CURRANT—Ribes odoratum

FLOWERING QUINCE—Chaenomeles japonica

HIBISCUS—Hibiscus ssp.

HONEYSUCKLE—Lonicera spp.

JASMINE—Jasminum spp.

ROSE-OF-SHARON—Hibiscus Syriacus

TREES

CHINABERRY—Melia azedarach

EUCALYPTUS—Eucalyptus spp.

FLOWERING CRAB—Malus spp.

HAWTHORNE—Crataegus spp.

LOCUST—Robinia spp.

ORANGE TREE—Citrus spp.

PALO VERDE—Cercidium microphyllum

RED BUCKEYE—Aesculus carnea

SILK OAK—Grevillea robusta

TULIP POPLAR—Liriodendron tulipifera

VINES

CYPRESS-VINE—Quamoclit spp.

HONEYSUCKLE—Lonicera heckrottii

MORNING GLORY—Ipomea ssp.

SCARLET RUNNER-BEAN—Phaseolus coccineus

TRUMPET CREEPER—Campsis radicans

Your local Growise Center staff can give you excellent advice on flowering plants, trees, shrubs, and vines to attract hummers. Plan a hummingbird garden with the following in mind.

Are the flowers annual, biennial, or perennial? Annuals are great container plants; perennials return every year; biennials bloom in their second year.

Plant varying heights: short in front, then medium height, and the tallest placed at the back. The entire garden can be seen. All the flowers can be reached by the birds.

Plant in different areas where you will watch hummingbirds. They are territorial about favorite flowers. Plant several in each different area of your garden and in containers around your gardens.

HUMMINGBIRD FEEDERS

A commercial feeder filled with a syrup solution and placed in your garden near hummingbird flowers should welcome hummers. Red flower patterns or red parts decorate most feeders to attract hummingbirds.

First choose a small feeder; once the birds are regulars, set out larger feeders. Feeders are plastic or glass or a combination of the two. Glass, unlike plastic, will break, though is easier to clean.

Three feeders are stationed around our property in addition to perennial flowers, window boxes, and potted flowers. More birds can feed when feeders are in different locations.

At your Growise Center you will discover unique, attractive feeders and commercial mixtures to feed hummingbirds.

Feeders can be filled with a homemade syrup solution *or with a commercial mixture. Clean feeders every 2 or 3 days with hot water; scrub hard-to-reach spots with bottle brushes. If bleach is used, rinse the feeder well before adding syrup.

When to hang feeders is determined by when the birds visit your area. Fall is migration time. Keeping feeders up will not prevent birds from migrating south, but gives them nourishment for traveling.

HOMEMADE SYRUP SOLUTION*

1 PART SUGAR

4 PARTS WATER

BOIL 1-2 MINUTES. COOL. REFRIGERATE EXTRA.

Since these tiniest of birds arrive in the spring and depart in the fall, you can enjoy them for quite some time. Your Growise Center will help you create a habitat for hummingbirds from their first visit until they travel south.



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