Our Ruby-throated Hummingbirds have returned and while it’s great fun to watch them come to the hummingbird feeder, it’s even cooler to watch them nectar from flowers! It’s really easy to create a hummingbird garden that will have them (and other interesting visitors like sphynx moths) zipping through your yard.
The first thing to do is select the site – you’ll want to pick a sunny site that is a little sheltered from the wind. It’s also nice to have a tree nearby that your hummingbirds can use as a perch as they take breaks between patrols of your garden.
Next, select the plants – Wonderful native plants that the hummingbirds will love include Bee Balm, Cardinal Flower, Bergamot, Penstemon, Trumpet Vine, Columbine, and Jewelweed (aka Touch-me-not).
The bright red of the Bee Balm and Cardinal Flower will be immediate magnets drawing the hummers in. In the fall, Jewelweed is a really important nectar source for hummers as they head south.
I sometimes buy annuals that are not native but still pretty and I put them in containers on our deck. Some of the plants that I select for that area are Salvia, Verbena, and Lantana – all in bright reds!
If you have a water source nearby, you can try setting up a mister that the hummingbirds can use to drink from and bath in. I haven’t tried this myself but once I do I’ll send out a blog post on how well it worked.
Some great books on gardening for wildlife that include hummingbird gardens include:
The Wildlife Gardener’s Guide to Hummingbirds, by Susan Day, et al
Attracting Butterflies and Hummingbirdsto Your Backyard, by Sally Roth