I love hummingbirds and am always looking for more ways to attract them to the garden. They are one of the world’s smallest birds and it is intriguing to watch them dart from plant to plant. I had one hummingbird feeder and had to get more because they were fighting over the feeder. They can be quite territorial. Here are some ideas to get these fascinating flyers to your garden year after year.
Add Red Plants To Your Garden
In the US hummingbirds are attracted to bright red blooms. The best ones have a tubular shaped flower. Hummingbirds are intuitively drawn to the color red and will go examine them. Some suggestions for great red colored flowers with a tubular shape: Salvia (also known as Sage), Lobelia (also known as Cardinal flower), Scarlet Honeysuckle, or Bee Balm. A red Mandevilla vine is the top vine for attracting hummingbirds. If you are looking for a drought tolerant plant, try Red Yucca.
Invest In Nectar Feeders
Nectar feeders are an ideal way to bring hummingbirds to your garden. Spring is the best time to start hanging your feeder. Maintain them throughout the fall, as they are needed to help the birds survive. It is best to have more than one nectar feeder because of how territorial some of them can get. Try putting the feeders in locations where they are not visible to others to prevent one bird dominating the feeders. The feeders are filled with nectar (sugar water). For every cup of water use ¼ cup of sugar. I usually make a solution of 4 cups of water to 1 cup of sugar.
Keep the feeders out of the sun, so the nectar does not evaporate. You will also need to maintain them regularly. Clean them in hot water and change the nectar regularly – every 3-4 days.
Grow Native Plants
Planting native plants will provide nectar for hummingbirds in the spring and summer. Look for native plants in colors of red, orange, or purple. Some of the plants we previously mentioned are native but you can also search for plants in your geography with the Audubon native plant database or the US Department of Agriculture database. Here are some flowers that might work for you: Butterfly Bush, Zinnia, Lupine, and Larkspur. Make sure you select flowers that bloom at different times, so you have continuous flowers for the hummingbirds to get nectar.
Keep Spider Webs
I am not a fan of spiders but they do have many benefits. When it comes to hummingbirds, leave the spider webs alone since they are one of the most important elements in building their nests. The web helps hold the branches in the nest together. You will also find that hummingbirds like to steal insects that get trapped in the web. Insects are an important protein supply for the birds
Try A Garden Mister
Hummingbirds like to take a bath. If you can set up a location for hummingbirds to have a ready supply of water, they will be very happy. A mister provides a fine spray of water in the air. Hummingbirds will cheerfully fly through the water and get drenched. After this, they would fly to a perch to dry off.
Deadhead Your Flowers
Deadheading is the process of removing old flowers from the plant. When you deadhead, you stimulate the plant to continue blooming. This will provide hummingbirds with more flowers to get nectar from and keep them in your garden. Deadheading is easy to do and the benefit is keeping hummingbirds and other pollinators coming back.
Create A Perch
When hummingbirds are not feeding they will look for a location to rest, sleep, and preen. Having a special perch provides them a safe space. A perch can be a trellis, shrub, slender pole, or plants. Any of these will give the birds shelter. When looking for the ideal location, it is optimal to have it near their food source. The perch can be in an open area but it is also good to have one in a protected location.
If you have any tips to bring Hummingbirds to your garden, please let us know!
Several photos courtesy of Jill Mazur.