I have been seeing lots of hummingbirds in the Meals Plus Harvest Garden lately so it seemed like an opportune time to blog about them. Hummingbirds are such a treat to watch in the garden as they ‘chirp’ and zip about either drinking nectar or chasing another unwelcome hummer out of their territory. Here are some tips for attracting hummingbirds to your garden.
- Hummingbirds drink nectar from flowers and eat insects (such as aphids and small spiders) for protein. Some of my favorite hummingbird flowers include Firecracker Penstemon (Penstemon eatonii), Hummingbird Trumpet (Zauschneria), Hummingbird Mint (Agastache), Claret Cup Cactus (Echinocerus), Bee Balm (Monarda), Sage (Salvia), Red Hot Poker (Kniphofia), Canna Lilies, and Zinnias.
- Avoid broad spectrum pesticide sprays for pests like spiders and aphids.
- Group plants together so hummingbirds easily see plant masses from 30-50 feet overhead.
- Provide a clean, very shallow, and moving water source to provide hummers a regular bathing spot to wash-off sticky nectar.
- Avoid destruction of nesting material, like spider webs, to attract females to nest in nearby trees or large plants.
- If you find a nest, leave it be. It is illegal to take or destroy the nest.
- Consider hanging a hummingbird feeder in your garden. Dissolve 1 cup sugar in 3 or 4 cups spring water (do not add red food coloring) and replace liquid and change liquid every four to five days (more often if temperatures over 90°F. If you plan to hang a feeder (or already have one hanging in your garden) see the Hummingbird Society fact sheet Feeding Hummingbirds for this recipe and important tips for maintaining a feeder.
- Also check-out the Hummingbird Societies’ Essential Hummingbird Facts for lots of neat hummer facts like….
hummingbirds must consume nectar amounting 100-200% of their body weight daily to survive– and you thought you ate too much for lunch!
- Hummers can be a little camera shy so give them some space. Find a nice quiet spot to sit and wait for a few high-pitched ‘chirps’ and the buzzing of wings. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the show!
- Plant plants that provide a quality pollen and nectar source for all types of garden critters. If you build it, they will come, and it is so much fun to watch all the things that enjoy your garden as much as you do!