Hanging a hummingbird nectar feeder or two around your yard is a nice way to ensure the little hummers always have something to eat when flowers may not be in full bloom. Here’s an easy homemade hummingbird nectar recipe.
From the annual plant, to the blooming tree, plants of all variations in your flowerbeds or containers not only add to the beauty of your yard or patio, but with a little planning can provide food and shelter for several different critter species (think hummingbirds, butterflies, bees (pollinators), toads, not to mention insects like praying mantis). Perennials are good for future years since they come back year after year. Annuals are only good for one growing season, but add beauty and function too.
While hummers are attracted to the color red, your garden need not be all red flowers. There are plenty of flowers which bloom in other colors that will feed your visitors. With a little planning, you will be able to have blooming flowers for your hummingbirds most of the season.
Bee Balm, (Monarda) a member of the mint family and considered an herbaceous perennial, grows about 2-4 feet tall in full sun. It is indigenous to Eastern North America. Bee Balm produces tubular flowers which bloom in mid to late summer. Hardiness zones 4-9. Blooms are red or light purple color.
Bee Balm has culinary and medicinal uses, as well as attracting hummingbirds and butterflies. Dead-head bee-balm flowers to force another bloom.
Blue Lobelia, (Lobelia siphilitica), grows 30″-36″ and blooms a spikey deep blue during August-September.
Canna, sometimes known as the Canna lily, though not of the lily family, have large attractive foliage. The flowers are typically red, orange, or yellow or any combination of those colours and are small, hidden under extravagant stamens. These flowers were meant to attract pollenators like bees, hummingbirds and even bats.
Cardinal Flower – hybrids grow up to 4 feet tall, while the wild counterparts grow to 2 feet. Hummingbirds love the intense scarlet flowers. Blooms July through September. Requires moist (not saturated) and never dry soil in partial shade to sun.
Red Columbine, (Aquilegia), makes a useful plant for hummingbirds. It blooms early in the year, just in time for the hummingbirds migrating north. Plant in sun or light shade, zones 2-8. The tiny birds will hover in place under the plant and lap the nectar from underneath the bloom. Columbine also comes in purple, blue, yellow, white,peach and pink. Super easy to grow by seed.
Coral Bells, (huechera), zone hardiness 3-8. They do well in partial shade, particularly in hot climates. Rather smallish pretty little pink flowers on long stems form a sort of haziness over large leaves. There are several native varieties (around 35).. some more showy than others. I believe mine (shown in picture) is a Purple Palace. This is another plant where dead-heading may produce another bloom.
Foxglove – a biennial, see Annuals and Biennials for Hummingbirds
Hosta is a shade loving plant. Leaf colors vary from shades of blue to green to yellow and some variegated in white/cream. The stalks, or scapes can be more than 30 inches and produce pendulous-like flowers blooming white, lavender, or violet in color and usually scentless. Not only do hostas attract hummingbirds, but also deer, slugs and snails. I have a few planted and while the snails and slugs do their share of snacking, the hostas always bloom. Separate when they start coming up and it’s easy work. The number of genus isdebated, there could be up to 45 different types.
Hummingbird Mint blooms summer through late fall. It has fragrant foliage and flowers; attracts hummingbirds. Different varieties have differing zone hardiness, so check for your area. Full sun to part shade. Grows 1-4 feet with the same in spread. Flowers are orange/ salmon and pink flower.
Lantana grows 3 to 4 feet tall; full sun to part shade. Blooms pink, purple, red, yellow and orange. Depending on the plant can bloom from late winter all the way through late fall- check each variety. Perennial in the southern states, grow as an annual in others.
Lupine hardiness zones 3-9, grows 1 to 3 feet tall. Takes full sun. They produce spikes of pea-like flowers and blooms yellow, white, red, blue and pink during the summer months.
Yucca the plant produces 8-foot spikes of nodding, bell-shaped, fragrant white flowers, sometimes tinged purple, to 2 inches long. Grows 6-10 feet tall with a spread of up to 6 feet. Drought tolerant, requires full sun; blooms early to late summer.