10 Plants That Attract Hummingbirds
Image by Fotolia
The tall leaves and deep orange tones of the Crocosmia "Lucifer" are like beacons to hummingbirds
Make your garden colourful and hummingbird-friendly with these 10 plants
I have “adopted” two Anna’s hummingbirds over the past few years. It pleases me to provide hummer-friendly plants and supplemental sugar water for those times when blooms are inadequate. Since they are territorial, I have two feeders at either side of my townhouse, each tucked just under an overhang.
When the weather is bitterly cold, the tiny birds perch on my front porch, saving energy by tucking out of the wind. I keep their feeders from freezing with a small light bulb, especially if I’m away in winter. Best of all, last spring two hummers nested along the quiet walkway by our townhouse gardens. So, here are a few plants on the menu!
Our Top Ten:
1. Single Fuchsia cultivars are best for hummingbirds. Hardy cultivars bloom late summer, but you can buy annual fuchsias in bloom earlier. Hardy cultivars need full sun; annual fuchsias take more shade and bloom well. ZONE 8 OR 9.
2. Flowering maples (Abutilon) are regaining popularity; new cultivars are showier and hardier, with flowers in sunset shades produced until frost. ZONE 8 OR 9, DEPENDING ON CULTIVAR.
3. Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ throws up tall (to 1–1.3 m/3–4 ft.) sword-like leaves and arching inflorescences of brilliant-orange flowers in midsummer. Give it full sun and stand back. It will put on a show! ZONE 6.
4. Salvia guarantica ‘Black and Blue’ has grown in my garden for nine years in a hot and sunny spot with excellent drainage. Emerging late, it reaches 1.5 m (5 ft.) and blooms until frost. ZONE 8.
5. Perovskia atriplicifolia (Russian sage) loves full sun and sharp drainage. Another late-summer bloomer that reaches 1.3 m (4 ft.). ZONE 6.
6. Rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) is good for the garden, kitchen and hummingbirds. ZONE 7 TO 8.
7. Campsis species and cultivars, referred to as trumpet vines, climb to great heights. Blooming in late summer, their tubular flowers of dark gold or orange red are a hummingbird’s delight. Provide sturdy support. ZONE 5 TO 7, DEPENDING ON CULTIVAR.
8. Mahonia ‘Charity’ has yellow flowers and a variable bloom time – as early as December and as late as March. This handsome evergreen shrub throws up tall stalks (to 1.5m/5 ft. or more with age). The huge leaves are prickly but dramatic – set it to the back of a bed for best effect. ZONE 8.
9. Ribes sanguineum (flowering currant) produces pendulous flowers in early spring, and forms a tall thicket. ZONE 6.
10. Daphne odora ‘Aureomarginata’ tucks in at the feet of my Mahonia ‘Charity’, for it also needs protection from hot afternoon sun. It likes generous handfuls of dolomite lime in spring and fall. It is exquisitely fragrant in March, and my hummers seem to hover in anticipation even before its flowers are fully open. I, of course, share their delight. ZONE 7.
One note of caution: if you have free-range cats or neighbourhood cats that hang out, avoid any plants with flowers close to the ground. Low-flying hummers are easy targets for hidden feline predators.