Sunday, December 28, 2008

Hummingbird plants

With each new seed catalog in the mailbox my dreams get grander and less likely to ever happen.

I love pouring over the new varieties and planning where each might fit in my garden, but actually choosing anything new over my old favorites seems an impossibility. Mostly I plant for butterflies and hummingbirds and think everyone needs to lure them into our gardens for the simple pleasure and laughter they can bring.

Hummingbirds love bell-shaped flowers and will zoom and hover from one to the next to the delight of anyone who stops long enough to notice.

My short list of easy-to grow plants for hummers includes:

Agastache - not bell-shaped, but hummers seek it out together with all manner of bees and insects.

Bee-balm - again not bell-shaped, but it smells great and a red variety has rooted itself along the border of my little pond and is a hummer magnet.

Crocosmia - only half-hardy for me, but a stunner.

Salvia - A personal favorite of mine that the hummers also seem to love in any color.

I can't remember the name of the plant in this photo - maybe scarlet cypress vine? For years my MIL started the seeds for me and I grew it along the fence that surrounds our pond. Now it grows from any little nook and cranny. This summer it sprouted from between a couple pavers in the driveway and twined its way up the gutters of the house! Beautiful, but it blooms way too late for the hummers to enjoy before they migrate. Anyone else have that issue with this plant?

Any other good hummingbird plants you've had success with?

10 comments:

cedrorum said...

I've got to admit, I'm one of the lazy ones. When it comes to hummingbirds I mostly just put out clean sugar water. It's great that your thinking about what to plant this early on.

bobbie said...

I love mandevilla, and try to have it under the feeder each year. That's the one I brought indoors this year, and it's going crazy in my living room. I tried it last year and it lived all winter, then died when I put it out again. The hummers love it too.
I know the one in your picture, and my mind has blanked out. Garden Author could tell you in a minute, I'm sure. She writes a number of blogs including Waltzes with Words, and Grouse and Chortle.

dguzman said...

I can't wait to move to the West Coast and plant some of these--I'll have all sorts of hummers instead of just the ruby-throats! *giggling with glee!*

I've never had much luck attracting hummers with flowers, so I always just use a feeder with sugar water.

Anonymous said...

I've never had much luck staying on top of keeping the sugar water feeder clean and full, so I rely on the plants!

I've planted lots of penstemon (Husker Red) and Agastache, but have never seen the hummers feeding at them. I tend to see them at the hostas in bloom, some semi-hardy red/pink salvias that I buy at the local nursery, and native turtlehead.

J.Z. seems to have lots of tropicals that she overwinters that attract them, I recall. Time to search her blog for past posts.

I do like having plants that attract and feed the/any birds, and am trying to plant more of them. But nothing like having feeders to draw the birds down.

It must be January if it is time to look at plant catalogs!

Heather
Wayne, PA

Rabbits' Guy said...

We are fortunate here in the Pac. NW that fuschias grow so well. Hummers like them and they have a long season of flowers.

LauraHinNJ said...

cedrorum: I do that too, but like to have some plants as well.

Blame the early garden planning on too much time inside lately.

Bobbie: Hmm... I have a couple varities of mandevilla too, but not all are popular.

What color do you grow?

Delia: Trying to make us jealous already are you?

Pfft.

Heather: Lots of people mention hostas, but I've never seen them feed at them.

I've not had any luck with penstemon, either.

Rabbit's Guy: Fuschia's are great, but I kill them all! Not enough shade here, I don't think.

tai haku said...

Hey Laura - the plant in your picture is either the improbably named ipomoea quamoclit or something very close to it. I believe it is sometimes called cypress vine.

RuthieJ said...

Hi Laura,
Try the Black & Blue Salvia if you can find it.

I've also grown Nicotiana in pots on the deck and the hummingbirds love that too. Cardinal climber is another flower that you can grow from seed in a pot. It will climb a trellis.

Do you realize in only 4 months from today it will be May and I'll be watching for the first hummingbirds to arrive back here in Minnesota? That's a cheering thought on a close-to-zero Minnesota night!

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