How to attract Hummingbirds

I don’t know of one person who isn’t mesmerized when they see a hummingbird and you can increase visits from the petite bird by planting a few of their favourite sources of nectar in your yard.

Hummingbirds use flower nectar as their food source and like butterflies and bees, they also pollinate plants. Hummingbirds are attracted to nectar sources by sight rather than scent and red is the most attractive colour to a hummingbird. If you would like to attract hummingbirds, you need to plant some flowering plants in the red colour ranges which also includes oranges and bright pinks, like fuchsia. Once attracted to your garden by flowers from the red family, the hummingbirds will also be attracted to flowers in other colour families.

Although many homeowners place a hummingbird feeder with the signature red-tinted sugar water in hopes of feeding and attracting the bird, the hummingbird still needs plant nectar in order to get all the vitamins and nutrients that it needs to survive, especially when rearing chicks back at the nest. Despite their petite size, hummingbirds have a voracious appetite for nectar throughout the entire season they spend with us.

One of the easiest ways to attract humming birds is to plant a climbing flowering vine on a trellis. Trumpet vine, climbing honeysuckles, morning glories and some hybrids of clematis with burgundy or fuchsia coloured flowers, are good choices. Blooms with a tubular shape are preferred by the little birds so you can mix up a few colours and species as well. Again a reminder that if you are trying to attract more birds and good insects to your garden, not to use pesticides or herbicides. The more organic your practices, the more “good” insects, birds and wildlife you will attract to your garden.

All plants have nectar but by incorporating some of the following plants preferred by hummingbirds you will increase the likelihood of regular visits. Keep in mind that although red is the most attractive to the birds, not all of the plants listed have a variety in red. Use the tips above to help you decide how to best enhance your own garden to attract the birds using a selection of what is listed. I can almost hear the whirr of hummingbird wings as we speak!

Perennials: garden phlox, lilies, day lilies, pinks, Dianthus, sweet William, monkshood, honeysuckle, trumpet vine, Lychnis (companion flower), columbine, hollyhock, larkspur, morning glories, bell flower, foxglove, globe thistle, bearded iris, coral bells, Lupin, bee balm, catmint, poppy, beardtongue, sage (Salvia), delphinium.

Annuals: poppy, snapdragons, cosmos, petunias, salvia, geraniums, scarlet runner beans.

Shrubs: butterfly bush, lilac, flowering currants, azalea, honeysuckle, Caragana, Cotoneaster.