Why Container Gardens?

Hummingbirds, Butterflies and for You

Container Gardens are for small places to attract hummers and butterflies as well as for you to enjoy.

Can I do this?

Sure you can.

Plant a pretty container, pot, hanging basket or window box to attract hummingbirds and butterflies in a hurry.

Hummingbirds and butterflies love to flit, hover and zoom around colorful gardens.

Plant a pot or container full of their favorite flowers on your patio or deck, then sit back and enjoy the show.

Bringing these flying jewels into view requires little know-how and little gardening space, but there are a few things to consider before you start your potted gardens.

Knowing what kind of container to use for your gardens, where to place them, and how to choose the best flowering plants will improve your chances of attracting hummingbirds to your garden.

Hanging baskets and window boxes filled with petunias, fuchsias, or nasturtiums create a cascade of flowers for hungry hummingbirds and butterflies.

hummingbird container garden

Large pots, old wheelbarrows, whiskey barrels or any container brimming with impatiens, begonias, snapdragons and salvia become a hummingbird hangout.

As you can see, Container Gardens are limited only by your imagination.

Clay pots of red or scarlet geraniums provide a delightful way to attract your fast-flying neighbors.

If possible, hang a nectar feeder near your plantings.

Grow hummingbird and butterfly friendly vines on trellises for a whole new range for your Container Gardens.

cardinal vine

Favorite annual vines, such as Cypress vine and cardinal climbers grow well in any sunny spot on your deck.

Choose just about any member of the morning glory family for a burst of color that hummingbirds find hard to resist.

Coral honeysuckle is another trellis growing vine that thrives in small patio gardens. Loaded with bright red flowers filled with nectar, it blooms in early spring - just in time for the first migratory batch of hummingbirds.

Container gardens include hanging baskets.

It's best to hang baskets at eye level so you can watch the birds at close range.

Since hummingbirds are amazingly bold, it's common for them to perch or feed on a hanging basket located just inches from your favorite sitting spot.

A butterfly just might land on you.

Whether the basket is hung near a bench, patio or porch, it's likely to bring hummingbirds within easy sight

Remember that any type of hanging basket takes on additional weight when wet.

Take steps to fasten it securely overhead with sturdy hooks or screw eyes over a strong support. If your pot doesn't have it's own hanger, use galvanized wire or chain to suspend it from the desired location.

Make sure to choose a spot that offers enough support for the plant and won't cause staining on the surface below.

Window boxes are container gardens too.

When planted with colorful flowers, window boxes entice hummingbirds to a feast of accessible nectar all summer long.

A number of hummingbird or butterfly favorites, such as Petunias, Salvias, Geraniums, Verbena, Lantana and Trailing ivy can be combined to create a miniature garden in just one window box.

Begonias, Fuchsias, Impatiens, Lobelia, and Nasturtium are also among classic window box and container summer plants.

Although a wide variety of flowers can be packed into a small area, window box container gardens are more attractive to hummingbirds when tall background plants, low growing foreground plants and trailing plants are used.

Plants of staggered heights and habits are simple to grow and maintain. Include plants with tube shaped blossoms, lots of color and an extended bloom season for the most appeal.

Window box gardens permit you to watch hummingbirds zip around flowers from either inside or outside of your home.

Enjoy butterflies up close.

Just be sure your window box can be easily reached for weeding, watering, adding soil or changing plantings. Since window boxes are usually exposed to full sun, drying winds and the reflected heat of your house, they may need watering at least once a day in the summer.

Preparation of your Container Gardens.

red salvia

Start out with a clean pot, tub, window bow or whatever you are going to use.

Make sure your containers have proper drain holes. If there aren't holes already, drill one or three new holes. Never use stones on the bottom of your pot. Not only does it add weight, but takes up needed space for root growth.

Start with fresh potting soil. Something like "Miracle Grow" potting soil that has time released fertilizer already added will minimize your duties for a few months.

If that isn't an option, get something a time released fertilizer to feed once.

Fill your barrel, pot or what have you, half full or to the level of your new plant balls.

Gently take your plants out of the pots, Loosen and trim roots that were growing around the pot. By doing this, you force the new plant to grow new feeder roots.

Pinch off the blooms to force even more flowers and continue to deadhead throughout the growing season.

Hummingbirds are creatures of habit and will continue to return to your offerings so keep them growing.

Most butterflies are short lived, but need the nectar for reproduction and yes, for monarch migration.

Place the plants in the desired location within your Container Gardens. Remember, tallest plants in the middle and work the shorter ones around from there if the planter is sitting in the open or hanging.

If it is butting up to your house or shed, plant the tallest ones in back and shorter ones in front.

Now give your new container gardens a good watering and feed if needed.

Container Gardens need a bit more care than plantings in the ground. Watering will be required everyday when the weather heats up.

Because the plants tend to get pot bound they drink the small amount of water faster and evaporation comes into play much quicker.

You must water more often and feed them more often as well. Nutrients are leached out through the drain holes and require feeding a tad bit more.

When starting new potted gardens, always start with a clean pot and fresh potting soil. Clean your pots with warm soapy water and add some bleach. Old soil may contain harmful fungus and diseases.

Container Gardens are becoming more popular and anyone with a small yard, patio or deck can have a small garden to enjoy.

Be sure to place them where you can visit with the birds and take care of them. the rewards will come.

Container Gardens aren't Your Style? Go to Hummingbird Gardens.

About Hummingbirds

Hummingbird Gardens

Hummingbird Flowers

Feeding Hummingbirds, Tips and Ideas

Feeder Placement

Migration North

Mating and Nesting

Migration South

What's in a Brain

Share a Passion, Build a Site with SBI


Learn more on container gardens and other wildlife gardening.

Sign up for your weekly "Gardening For Wildlife" Newsletter today.

Enter your E-mail Address
Enter your First Name (optional)

Don't worry — your e-mail address is totally secure.
I promise to use it only to send you Gardening For Wildlife.
Enjoy this page? Please pay it forward. Here's how...

Would you prefer to share this page with others by linking to it?

  1. Click on the HTML link code below.
  2. Copy and paste it, adding a note of your own, into your blog, a Web page, forums, a blog comment, your Facebook account, or anywhere that someone would find this page valuable.