Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Tiny Bird Brain Gardening (Part 2)

Everyone knows that hummingbirds love red flowers but do you know why? Because although tiny, a hummingbird's brain is quite knowledgeable about where to find the most nectar. Red flowers tend to have more nectar than other colors. Does that mean a hummingbird garden should be completely red? No, hummingbirds also feed at pink, orange, purple, yellow, and even white flowers. The real attraction for hummingbirds is shape. Think "Tubular" and you'll be thinking like a hummingbird.

So what does a garden need to be successful at attracting hummingbirds?
  1. Flowers: You can choose combinations of annuals, perennials, flowering shrubs, vines and even some flowering vegetables to attract hummingbirds. Remember that they prefer "hot" colors and to overlap the bloom times so the garden never runs out of nectar. Although, not every flower has to be red, a patch of red flowers will act as a "Come and Get Me" sign. Also, regional wildflowers provide more nectar per bloom than other flower varieties so if at all possible "Go Wild!"

  2. Sun & Shade: Hummingbirds prefer to spend about half their time in the sun, 1/4 of their time in partial shade, and the remainder of their time in full shade.

  3. Shrubs & Trees: Essential in providing both partial and full shade they also provide locations for perching, shelter, and roosting.

  4. Flight room. While most birds perch to feed, hummingbirds don't always have that luxury. They need room between flowers to fly and hover. A tiered flower bed works best for hummingbirds.

  5. Water. Hummingbirds love to bathe (actually to shower). And are very resourceful at finding water for bathing in. They prefer moving water such as beads of water left on leaves after a rainfall or the fine spray of a waterfall. To set up a hummingbird shower in your hummingbird garden use a nozzle that gives us a continuous fine mist.

Favorites for Hummingbirds

  • bearded iris
  • bee balm
  • bellflower
  • buttercup
  • butterfly weed
  • carnation
  • catmint
  • columbine
  • coralbells
  • daylily
  • evening primrose
  • fireweed
  • foxglove
  • impatiens
  • hummingbird's trumpet
  • hollyhock
  • larkspur
  • loosestrife
  • poppy
  • sweet william

4 comments:

Robin's Nesting Place said...

They loved the red salvia in my garden last year. I'll be planting a lot of that this year along with many of the plants you listed.

GardenJoy4Me said...

Hi CJ
They seem to love ivy geraniums in hanging planters as well. I have a lot of perennials in the garden that are listed as their favorites. Hopefully we will see more of them this year.

theysaywordscanbleed said...

thanks, I wasnt aware that red flowers or even the shape of the flowers connotes content of its nectar.

Arlene,
West Bremerton florist

Anonymous said...

1. You should plant a garden with a long season of overlapping bloom, including plants such as the petunia, annual red salvia, autumn sage and shrimp plants, or the firebush.

2. You should plant flowers and plants which are native to your area of the country. You can find out information concerning the specific plants that grown in your area and attract hummingbirds by talking with someone from a plant nursery that is located where you live.

3. Your hummingbird garden should also contain some perches so the hummingbirds can survey the territory. You might want to create some perches that give the birds a good view over the flowers.

4. It is also important for your flower garden to have a source of water available for the hummingbirds. One way to do this is by having a birdbath available. The birdbath should have a very shallow water depth to allow the birds to stand in the water if they choose to do so. Adding some small flat rocks to the birdbath will create different water depths within the birdbath.


If you are looking for a wide variety of Information on the subject of hummingbirds, please click the link below.

Click Here To Visit About Hummingbirds

Happy hummingbird watching everyone!

Zoe Ann Hinds