Hummingbirds are one of the more amazing visitors to summer gardens. One of nature’s tiniest birds, hummingbirds appear to hover in the air, their wings a blur, as they suck nectar from flowers with their long thin beaks. Their mid-air hovering is made possible by the extreme speed at which hummingbirds flap their wings – up to 90 times per second. The staccato beating of their wings actually makes the air hum, the characteristic that gave these marvelous garden visitors their name.
You can encourage hummingbirds to visit by adding certain flowers to your garden. To satisfy their high-energy needs, hummingbirds feed only on flowers with sugar-rich nectars, pollinating the flowers as they feed. Protein needs are satisfied by preying on garden insects and spiders. Hummingbirds are particularly attracted to red, orange and pink flowers, preferring to feed on flowers with elongated bell shapes. The following flowers are good choices if you want to attract hummingbirds to your garden:
- Agastache (Agastache) Also called Giant Hyssop, this durable perennial projects thick spikes of bright color above a sea of green leaves. Tolerant of hot, dry conditions, agastache requires full sun.
- Canna Lily (Canna) This stately annual adds an exotic tropical touch to gardens, rising in majestic spikes above garden beds to unfurl bold, showy blooms. Plant in full sun.
- Fuchsia (Fuchsia) A hummingbird favorite, fuchsia is also known as Lady’s Eardrops for its characteristic drooping growing habit. Planted in hanging baskets, fuchsia can lure hummingbirds onto your porch or deck. It grows best in partial shade.
- Petunia (Petunia) An annual favorite, brightly colored petunias are easy to grow in any location from sun to partial shade.
- Salvia (Salvia) Also known as Salvia/Geranium and Salvia/Pelargonium, salvia plants add upright height to garden beds. A reliable garden favorite, salvia tolerates hot, dry conditions and thrives in both sun and partial shade.