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Hummingbird Flower Power

May 18, 2018

Host: Gary Bachman, Ornamental Horticulture Specialist


Hummingbirds are entertaining creatures and the right flowers are an invitation to your garden today on Southern Gardening.

Everyone enjoys watching hummingbirds. So what plants do you grow to attract them to your garden? Two characteristics are shared by a majority of humming bird attracting plants: tubular flowers and the color red.

Tubular flowers have the characteristic of being able to hold quite a bit of nectar. This is part of Mother Nature’s grand plan. Nectar is simply sugar water produced by the plant and can be thought of as an energy drink for the hummingbirds. As hummingbirds use their bills to probe for nectar, they pick up pollen and transfer to the next flower visited.

A grouping of red flowers is a signal that the kitchen is open. Most hummingbird feeders have red around the feeding ports. Try bee balm, butterfly weed, cardinal flower, butterfly bush (Buddleja davidii) and trumpet vine. Many flowers that attract hummingbirds have little fragrance as hummingbirds feed by sight. Sweet smelling flowers also attract bees and wasps. Since hummingbirds have the ability to fly in multiple directions and obviously hover, having plants whose flowers cascade are ideal. Fuchsia flowers, for instance, hang downward are perfect for the hummingbirds to feed.

There are literally hundreds of blooming plants which will attract hummingbirds. Creating a nectar filled garden will certainly put the welcome mat out for these tiny birds and give us summer entertainment.

Consider planting low to high like a stadium. This will allow the hummingbirds to access all of the flowers and let you sit in the front row to watch the action. I’m horticulturist Gary Bachman for Southern Gardening.

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