Sitting in the shade on a comfortable bench surrounded by beautiful, fragrant flowers and busy Hummingbirds, is my idea of a peaceful time. Throw in a good book and a glass of iced tea and I am in heaven. Creating an atmosphere that is attractive to Hummingbirds is not hard as long as you know what Hummingbirds like and need to keep them around all summer long. Hummingbirds feed on the nectar of flowers and it sometimes appears as if they eat constantly as they fly from one flower to another, but they actually only feed three to five times per hour, consuming up to five times their body weight per day. They also eat small insects. In the Midwest, where I live, they first appear in mid to late April and leave around the end of September to the first weeks of October (depending on the weather). Hummingbirds need fresh water daily for drinking and bathing. Sunny and shaded areas, as well as proper materials to make their nests, are also important, so your plant consideration needs to go beyond flowers for feeding. You will want to enjoy your Hummingbird garden to the fullest, so a special area for you to relax and spend some peaceful moments is also an important part of this garden.
10 Tips for Planning a Hummingbird Garden
- Large plants the Hummingbirds will feed on such as Hollyhocks or the beautifully tall Cannas. These are excellent choices to use for backstops, along fences, or buildings.
- Smaller plants favored by Hummingbirds are Petunias and Geraniums. These work well for borders or fillers. These can also be put in pots, and moved or replaced easily.
- Choose a variety of perennials such as Dahlia, Columbine, or Sage. This will ensure growth each year with less needed work.
- Mix your perennials with colorful annuals including Zinnias, Petunias, and Geraniums.
- Include herbs in your Hummingbird garden such as Sage, Verbena, and Bee Balm.
- Add a natural looking birdbath, and surround it with small plants, or set a small yard ornament nearby.
- Plant trees or shrubs nearby that will provide shade, and nesting material such as Willows, Lilacs, or Eucalyptus.
- Even though Hummingbirds are known to be attracted to the color red, they will feed on any sweet flower, so plant a variety of colorful blooms in your garden.
- After you have taken care of the Hummingbirds, add a small Pergola, bench, and a small wind chime for your personal enjoyment.
- Decorate the Pergola by planting a flowery vine that you and the Hummingbirds will both enjoy such as morning glories, trumpet vines, or the sweet smelling Honeysuckle (one of my favorites).
When people start planning a Hummingbird garden they might consider the use of Hummingbird feeds, but if they have a lot and the right kind of plants, they will not need them.