Planting a hummingbird-friendly yard or garden takes a little effort, but there is such a great payoff! Who wouldn’t love to see more hummingbirds buzzing around in their yard?
Hummingbirds are attracted to flowers with ample nectar, and they also eat small insects and sugar water from hummingbird feeders. Their favorites tend to be tubular, brightly colored blooms that provide easy access to sugary nectar.
But what about wisteria? The short answer is yes, hummingbirds do enjoy visiting wisteria flowers. The vines produce an abundance of sweet nectar and bloom when hummingbirds are most active.
What Is Wisteria?
Wisteria is a fast-growing, deciduous vine known for its stunning, hanging floral clusters.
Native to China, Korea, and Japan, it thrives in Hardiness Zones 4-9. Wisteria vines can grow up to 30 feet long over time!
They produce fragrant, pea-like flowers that are usually blue or purple. The bountiful flowers are bunched together, drooping down from new growth areas. Knowledgeable gardeners plant wisteria on the sides of outbuildings, on pergolas, and on other trellised areas. Without this support, wisteria fails to thrive or becomes unruly on the ground.
Because wisteria foliage is deciduous, it loses its leaves in the fall. They emerge as a light green in the spring and turn yellow in the fall.
Does Wisteria Have a Lot of Nectar?
Yes! Wisteria offers an excellent source of nectar for hummingbirds.
The vines flower prolifically in spring and early summer, producing thousands of blooms. Because hummingbirds need to eat every 10-15 minutes and visit between 1,000-2,000 flowers a day, wisteria is a lovely find! They have plenty of blooms to go to.
Each flower grows in a tubular shape, perfect for hummingbirds’ long bills and even longer tongues. The plentiful nectar reward attracts hummingbirds, which eagerly dart from flower to flower. Planting wisteria in your yard is sure to bring in hummingbirds during peak post-migration and nesting times!
Other Benefits of Growing Wisteria
In addition to attracting hummingbirds, wisteria offers plenty of other advantages for gardeners!
- It provides quick cover and shade over structures like pergolas, arbors, and fences
- Its fragrant spring blooms fill the air with sweet scent
- It attracts pollinating bees and butterflies, not just hummingbirds.
- It can be trained into tree forms, making a unique focal point.
- It grows well in containers for porches and patios. Even people with just a little bit of space can enjoy wisteria and the hummingbird visitors it brings.
Advice on Growing Wisteria To Attract More Hummingbirds
Wisteria may take patience to establish, but proper care will encourage magnificent blooms. Follow these tips when cultivating wisteria in your yard:
- Select a cultivar grafted for abundant flowers, not grown from seed. Seed-grown wisteria may not bloom for up to 15 years!
- Plant in full sun (at least 6 hours) to maximize flowering. Putting the plant in partial shade limits the production of blooms.
- Install a very sturdy overhead structure for the vines to grow on, like a pergola or arbor.
- Avoid planting wisteria near your home’s exterior, as vines can creep under siding and make a mess.
- Water your new plants regularly until they are well established. Then let the soil dry between waterings.
- Apply fertilizer lightly to help flowering. Too much nitrogen can inhibit blooms, so don’t overdo it on the nitrogen.
- Be patient! It may take several years for vines to mature and flower well.
- In early spring, prune back any side shoots and thin out congested growth so flowering shoots emerge.
- Cut back wayward long shoots in summer to keep growth contained.
Popular Wisteria Varieties
You have options when it comes to planting wisteria! Pretty much all of these varieties will attract hummingbirds, but the pink and red varieties may do a little bit better than the cooler colors.
These are some of your many options:
- Amethyst Falls: Lavender flowers; 8-12 feet long.
- Aunt Dee: Pink flowers; 15-25 feet long.
- Blanche Sandman: White flowers; 10-15 feet long.
- Carrol Mackinder: Blue flowers; 12-18 feet long.
- Clara Mackinder: Purple and white flowers; 12 feet long.
- Kentucky Wisteria: Pale blue flowers; 25 feet long.
- Pink Ice: Pink flowers; 10-15 feet long.
- Professor Sischo: Blue flowers; 10-15 feet long.
- Royal Purple: Purple flowers; 25 feet long.
Other Plants Hummingbirds Love (By Region)
Depending on wisteria alone to attract hummingbirds is an okay strategy, but not a great one. You could have so much more success if you planted additional flowers alongside wisteria.
The best choice is going to be dependent upon where you live, of course. Here is a region-by-region guide to popular hummingbird flowers.
|West Coast||California Fuschia|
Bird of Paradise
Baja Fairy Duster
Prickly Pear Cactus
|Great Plains||Cardinal Flower|
What About Hummingbird Feeders?
While planting nectar-rich flowers will attract neighborhood hummingbirds, you can further entice them by setting up feeders. Adding clean, well-maintained feeders to your yard ensures that visiting hummingbirds have a consistent food source, even if there aren’t a lot of blooming flowers nearby.
When choosing feeder styles, look for models designed specifically for hummingbird feeding. Select feeders with red bases or red flower accents, as hummingbirds are attracted to the color red (this also helps you avoid red dye, for which there are some concerns about safety!).
Options include basic bottle-style feeders, glass disc models, and feeders tiered with multiple flower-shaped ports. Hang feeders using either S-hooks, string, or wire in easy-to-access areas around your yard. Place them near gardens, porches, patios, or windows where you can enjoy watching the birds feed. Place them far enough apart that you don’t create territorial defensiveness around them.
To keep hummers returning, clean feeders at least weekly with a diluted vinegar solution. Rinse thoroughly and allow to fully dry before refilling.
Every two to three days, dump out any old syrup and refresh with new nectar. Use a basic ratio of 1 part white sugar dissolved in 4 parts water. Again, do not add food coloring or honey, as these may be harmful. You can store extra nectar in the refrigerator for up to two weeks! Providing fresh, clean nectar will ensure healthy birds.
With the right mix of blooming flowers and clean feeding stations, you’ll soon delight in a flock of energetic hummingbirds zipping around your yard. The birds will start arriving in early spring, so get your habitat ready to welcome them!
Our Final Word on Hummingbirds and Wisteria
With its drooping sprays of sweet nectar-filled blooms, wisteria makes an excellent addition to any yard looking to attract hummingbirds.
Once established, the fast-growing vines will reliably welcome hummingbirds year after year as a harbinger of spring. Mix wisteria with the other regional plants loved by hummingbirds to create an enticing assortment of options – like a buffet for hummingbirds!
With proper planting and care, wisteria’s breathtaking beauty and appeal to hummingbirds will enhance your outdoor living space.