Think Hummingbirds only want pretty flowers? Well think again. They need places to perch, places to nest safely and even bathe in a shallow pool or birdbath too. Trees and shrubs are a necessary component for all types of birds, as is the water. If your birdbath is too deep add a rock, or even an inverted saucer to add various layers of water, since different birds require different depths.
Hummingbirds make tiny nests which are attached to tiny forks in the trees and plants make the best nesting materials. Ferns and native grasses provide wonderful nesting materials for hummingbirds and many other birds too.
We do not have any Hummingbird feeders in the garden, but they will be happy to come to feeder filled with sugar water .The feeder needs to be cleaned regularly and I find these flying acrobats would rather have flowers. Hummingbirds feed on nectar with their pointed beak and as such require nectar laden tubular blooms of any size. If you look closely at many of your favorite flowers you might surprised how many are made up of clusters of tubular blooms. In addition a large part of their diet is insects, yes hummingbirds are insectivores!.
Contrary to popular belief Hummingbirds do not require RED flowers. Any color will do, any size will do, and their preference is native plants with which they have evolved.
Native Honeysuckle- No this is not the yellow variety you see all over the woods.
The native is also known as Scarlet Honeysuckle, wonderful Lonicera Sempivirens- with no scent. This mean no competition from bees either.
Salvias- whether annual, perennial or tender perennial these are magnets for hummingbirds. Favorites include Pineapple Sage, Emerald Sage as well as annual Red Sage. Although not native to our area, they are important to our visitors.
Bee Balm - whether you choose the cultivated variety or the Wild Bergamot these are a must for the garden. Red, pink, blue, shades of purple and even white will provide a buffet for the Hummingbirds.
Trumpet Vine- considered by many to be invasive, it is a native which is a very important nectar source.
Wisteria- another potentially invasive vine but the early blooms provide an early nectar source.
Native Azaleas- possibly the reason I have Hummingbirds so early in the year. The woods have several varieties and will begin to bloom as early as late April at our elevation.
Buckeye – The Red Buckeye is my favorite, but the yellow is popular too.
Early spring brings Virginia Bluebells, Columbine, and Spice Bush.
As you see there is a huge selection of flowering plants which will make your garden a welcoming place.