What is so special about a hummingbird garden?
Sometimes a feeder alone fails to draw a bird's attention. Some hummers never learn they can get nectar from our odd shaped dispensers.
However, all hummers know that flowers produce the high octane nectar they need to fuel their high energy lifestyle.
Plants for the Hummer Garden:
Typical hummer plants have red trumpet shaped flowers that lack a strong scent (they have poor sense of smell).
Not to be denied a source of sweet nectar, the birds are resourceful and learn that other flowers and other colors besides reds and pinks offer high octane as well.
The best plants in your hummer garden should produce lots of small flowers
Plan your plantings so there is always something in bloom.
Plan your Hummer Garden with permanent plants first if possible (trees and shrubs). They may be more costly and take a year or two to bloom, but can last for years or a lifetime.
You want to make sure they are properly placed, so study your area carefully.
Know how big the plantings will be when mature. This avoids replanting or removing it later on.
So, growing plants with the right flowers may be the best way to these little gems to your yard.
Fortunately, there are scores of plants that attract hummers. There are several just for you!
No matter what region you may live in, your taste or your gardening skills, you too can plant a successful garden.
First you should learn something about the species of hummingbirds that occur in your region.
The seasonal timing will determine the times they are expected, and your hummingbird garden should revolve around that.
Proper planting will have something in bloom when the first bird arrives and your plantings should provide continuous blossoming through the entire season.
The length of your gardening season may be year-round if you live in areas like the Pacific coast, Arizona, New Mexico, or parts of Texas.
Southern states along the Gulf coast,and possbly Georgia, the Carolinas and even Tennessee may have hummers through out the year.
Here in Michigan we have a brief, but glorious season. However, that doesn't stop me from having a Hummingbird Garden, or have special plantings just for them.
Allow flowering vines to grow up fences and trees. The use of vines creates a visible barrier between territories and gives your hummers a place to perch and rest.
A Side Note:
Trumpet creeper (Campsis radicans), should never be planted near a house or other structure with wood or siding. It will eventually tear the siding from the structure.
Plant these large vines where they can climb fences or large poles.
Plant perennials and annuals in front of shrubs as well as a designated hummingbird garden.
These plants offer a lot of nectar but some perennials are short lived and annuals need to be replanted yearly. Proper planting is well worth the effort, however.
When using several plants of a single species, it is better to plant in mass groupings.
It looks better to our eyes and it makes a big splash in your hummer garden for your flying jewels to see (a large bed of red salvia is a can't miss proposition).
Not to mention, the hummers would prefer to dine with as little effort as possible.
Variety offers a spice to life in a Hummingbird Garden. Offer several different kinds of flowers. As one wanes, another is in full bloom.
This takes some planning on your part, but it is worth it. Not only for your birds, but for your eye appeal as well.
Are you a novice at creating Gardens to Attract Hummingbirds? Choose plants that are known to grow in your area. Consult a local nursery of experienced gardener.
Like all of your wildlife gardens, tidiness is not a virtue. The birds like places that are a bit wild and overgrown. Deadhead when needed,
Pesticides should never be part of your Hummingbird Garden.
Toxic chemicals destroy tiny insects and spiders that make a vital part of the birds' diet.
Yes, birds need the protein in their diet that nectar simply can't provide.
The chemicals kill beneficial insects and pollinators.
Not to mention the harm and even killing your treasured hummers and other yard birds.
Water for your hummer Gardens:
A shallow birdbath or a mister can be a major attractant for hummers. They get most of the liquids they need from the nectar they drink, but all birds enjoy a daily shower.
Place the water near shrubs or attach a mister near a favorite vine.
Once you have planned your hummingbird garden, make sure you add a place for you and your family to enjoy these magnificent flying jewels.
I grew up in rural America. I've lived in the city and suburbia and we never fail to attract hummingbirds.
As a "Wildlife Habitat Naturalist", I'm out in some pretty remote locations from time to time and it is common to come across hummingbirds no matter where I am.
Trees and Shrubs in the Hummingbird Garden:
They play a vital role in all bird gardens, Hummers are no exception.
While flowers seem to be the main attraction in a hummer garden, trees and shrubs also offer nectaring flowers. They also drip sap that hummers lick up when there are no flowers around.
Insects and spider webs that reach from branch to branch offer food and webbing is used to glue the diminutive nests together.
Moss and lichen grow on and under the plants and shaded canopy, used as nesting materials. Not to mention plant down that many willows and other trees offer.
Trees and shrubs offer protection and a place to rest and preen. Hummingbirds rest more than they fly.
Who knows, you may even become the proud grand parent of some baby hummingbirds.
For more information on these special birds, check out the following webpages.
A Hummingbird Garden Needs Plants.
Learn to build your hummingbird garden and other wildlife gardens.
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