Spring flowers are beginning to bloom and hummingbirds are zipping around, collecting nectar and a few insects while they are at it.
Entice the Hummingbirds
Hummingbirds need more than just sugar-water feeders. Like most animal life, they need a balanced diet of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. This means that they do need some flower nectar.
More than Just Food
Every living thing on earth needs food, water, and a place to live. Hummingbirds will need shelter along with their food.
About water – yes, hummingbirds can often be seen basking in a fountain – bathing and sipping on a sunny day. So a thick shady tree and a gently bubbling fountain would be appreciated by hummers – and by humans too!
If you look carefully in many flowers, you will spot tiny flower thrips – a great protein snack for hummers. Many other tiny gnats and the like inhabit your garden, most of whom you will never notice. But the hummingbirds will!
My “Gardening for the Birds” online class will air for free on Saturday April 22. Sign up for my email newsletter – for a sign up link closer to the presentation date.
Plan for Swaths of Flowers
A visit to a local plant nursery (not a big box store) will offer any number of low-water hummingbird attracting plants.
BUT! Don’t simply get one of each kind! Your yard will turn into an unattractive hodge-podge of plants. Plus humming birds need many flowers to sip from when they swoop in for a visit.
Better for your overall design, and for the hummingbirds ease of use, is to create a swath of color. Maybe a swath of colorful “hummingbird trumpet.” I put hummingbird trumpet in italics because there are about forty-eleven plants with that name.
Your swath of color can have layers to it. Lower perennial plants in front, taller shrubs in back. Groundcover plants at their feet, filling in. Yes, hungry humming birds will visit groundcovers – I have seen them hover within inches of the ground to sip nectar.
Flowers All Year
The hardest thing to plan is for the seasonality of flowers in your landscape. No plant will bloom all year. Thus you need to plan your planting to have successive waves of color. Perhaps add some of the true aloe – with yellow flowers – they bloom in January, and hummingbirds adore them. Also consider a wildflower garden full of penstemons – they bloom in March and April. How to Grow Wildflowers – like this penstemon.
More about planning your landscape and growing plants for hummingbirds in this book: Month by Month Gardening for Arizona, Nevada, and New Mexico (Cool Springs Press).
From the review:
“A great reference book is key to successful gardening in the region where you live. Arizona, Nevada & New Mexico Month-by-Month Gardening takes the guesswork out of gardening for anyone residing in the Southwest. With this book, you’ll know what to do each month to enjoy a thriving garden all year, from January to December. Chronologically organized, this guide is full of critical gardening when-to and how-to advice, along with illustrated step-by-step instructions.
The book’s author is Jacqueline Soule, a Tucson-based gardening expert. She knows this arid region inside and out, and she’s written several articles and books packed with her gardening advice. Arizona, Nevada & New Mexico Month-by-Month Gardening showcases Soule’s expertise in one easy-to-read guide.”
Available on my book selling site – ,and if you buy the book there the Horticulture Therapy non-profit Tierra del Sol Institute will get a few pennies – at no extra cost to you.
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