How to Plant a Hummingbird Habitat?
Hummingbirds depend on the blossoms from plants to produce the nectar that sustains their life.
Providing Hummingbird Plants: If you love a flower garden you will be one step ahead of everyone else because Hummingbirds love flowers too!
How do Hummingbird Plants Help to Attract Hummingbirds?
The bright colours of the blossoms are like a neon sign advertising a delicious meal.
Flower gardens hold two of the most important foods for a Hummingbird’s diet:
- Bugs &
Hummingbirds love flowers not just for the nectar that the blooms provide either. Plants and flowers attract insects, sometimes tiny ones, which are needed by Hummers to survive.
They require a good dose of “bug” on their menu each day to keep up their busy lifestyle.
And Hummingbird plants provide the little birds with a culinary assortment of bugs to eat.
Hummingbirds eat the bugs attracted to the plants too and this will in turn provide longer viewing for you.
Wild Flowers Like This Beardtongue Are The Best Hummingbird Flowers
What Other Benefits do Hummingbird Gardens Provide?
Flowers also provide an ideal location for spiders to spin their webs. This is a double bonus for attracting Hummingbirds. They will eat the spiders and then use the spider’s web to build their nests.
Spider web provides the glue to keep the nesting material collected by the female Hummer together. She will weave the spider silk into the nest material to hold it all together.
Spider silk also serves another purpose. It’s elastic quality allows the nest to expand a little to accommodate the growing nestlings. For a more complete description of the material in Hummers nest click here.
There are also many other small bugs that thrive around plants that will be eaten by Hummers.
Just like royalty, food and drink served in high style together!
Providing a continuous blooming flower garden during “hummingbird season” will act as a magnet for attracting the Hummers.
They will have all the bugs and nectar they need from your feeder and flower garden.
And nesting material as well!
3 Quick Facts About Native Hummingbird Plants
- Planting native wildflowers will provide significantly more nectar for Hummingbirds to eat.
- Native plants are hardier, more drought resistant and require less care than hybrids.
- They support native pollinators better and the environment.
What Hummingbird Plants Should You Grow in Your Garden?
There are five lists of native plants below from different hardiness zones in North America. All of these plants are well liked by Hummingbirds.
These websites provide maps for the hardiness zones in NA:
The National Gardening Association USA
Information On Hardiness Zones Outside U.S.
There are many other sources available that can assist you in choosing the plants that will grow well in your growing zone. You could ask at your local gardening center or someone in your local birding group who is also an avid gardener could help with this knowledge.
Hummingbird plants produce a good supply of nectar which Hummers love. They are also adorned with bright colours and are very often in a tube shape suitable for long bills to penetrate to the part of the blossom that holds the flower nectar.
Most birds have very little smell and rely to a large extent on what they see and hear. Hummingbirds are no exception so fragrant flowers are not criteria when choosing which Hummingbird plants to use.
Many of the plants below will also provide nesting material for the female Hummer as she constructs her nest.
Why Wildflowers Are The Best Choice For Hummingbird Plants?
It is also significant to know that native (indigenous) plants that are properly selected for a given area produce more nectar than cultivated hybrids.
So planting wildflowers will give Hummingbirds more nectar to drink per blossom which helps them conserve energy. They will not need to visit as many flowers to get the fuel needed for further activities.
List of Flowering Perennials
- Bee Balm (Bergamot)
- Bleeding Heart
- Cardinal Flower
- Coral Bells
- Cowslip (Virginia Bluebells)
- Crocosima ‘Lucifer’
- Daylily, Foxglove
- Gay Feather (Blazing Star)
- Jewel Weed
- Milkweed (Butterfly Weed)
- Obedient Plant
The Fascinating Relationship Between
Hummingbirds & Cardinal Flowers
The beautiful wild flower called the Cardinal Flower with its deep red color is almost 100% dependent on the tiniest bird in the world to sustain its life.
The Cardinal Flower’s blooms are shaped in such a way that only Hummingbirds are able to reach inside to partake of the nectar. The Hummingbird is the only one that is able to return a favour to the plant in a significant way.
This crimson wild flower grows in moist areas (wetlands) in eastern North America and across the southwestern United States to California.
The Cardinal Flower has a long tube protuding from the blossom which holds both the male and female parts of the plant. First to be produced at the end of this tube are the male parts which consist of little hairs that when moved release pollen.
After about five days the female part called the style which holds the sticky stigmas which receive the pollen for fertilization to take place grows and extends.
All blossoms of the Cardinal Flower plant grow along a spike. The flowers at the bottom grow first as the male then as more blooms open up the spike the first blooms grow the female parts. This results in each spike there is different stages of reproduction which makes it possible for fertilization to take place within one spike.
When the Hummingbird feeds from this plant its long beak and tongue are able to penetrate to the base of the flower.
As the little bird is hovering and drinking from the flower the tube is positioned perfectly to rub against the bird’s forehead.
If the blossom is at the male stage then a dusting of pollen will be deposited on the Hummingbird’s forehead. But if the flower has progressed to the female stage then pollen will be received from the birds head.
Hummingbirds have a habit of feeding from the base of the plant spike and moving upwards to the top. Then moving to the base of the next plant providing cross-pollination of the Cardinal Flower. Even though a spike can receive pollination from itself, cross-pollination results in a healthier species.
There is no other bird which can feed from this plant. There are, however, a couple of species of butterflies that have parts long enough to reach the nectar at the base of the flower.
But they do not have the body make up to provide polination services to the plant. As a result any reciprocal service by the butterflies similar to that provided by hummingbirds, would be random at best.
This means that only the Ruby-throated Hummingbird is able to polinate this lovely wild flower in the eastern half of North America as it is the only Hummingbird in this area.
List of Flowering Annuals
- Canna Lily
- Mexican Sunflower
- Peruvian Lily
- Red Salvia
Concerned you won’t be able to identify the plants on the lists?
Watch this video which gives you a picture of the bloom and what the entire plant looks like.
Knowing what it looks like will assist you in placing the plants in just the right spot in your garden.
List of Vine Plants
- Clematis Vine
- Cross Vine
- Honeysuckle Vine
- Red Morning Glory
- Scarlet Runner Bean
- Snapdragon Vine
- Trumpet Vine or Creeper
List of Shrubs Hummingbirds Like Best
- Autumn Olive
- Azalea, Beauty Bush
- Butterfly Bush
- Cardinal Shrub
- Common Witch Hazel
- Flowering Quince
- Glossy Abelia
- Golden Currant,
- Red Buckeye
- Red-flowering Currant,
- Rose of Sharon
List of Trees
- Black Locust
- Flowering Cherry
- Flowering Crabapple
- Mimosa (Silk Tree)
- Necklace Pod (Silverbush)
- Red Horsechestnut
- Siberian Pea Tree
- Texas Madrone
- Tulip Tree
When to Plant a Hummingbird Garden?
Plan your garden to begin blooming in spring before your Hummingbirds are expected to return so there are blossoms waiting for them.
Then plan to have plants producing flowers throughout the summer that Hummingbirds will enjoy.
If you can keep Hummingbird plants flowering into the autumn that will be a big bonus for hummers too as they stock up on energy reserves for migration.
An ongoing plan to provide the best plants that Hummingbirds love is best.
Watch this video to see how each of us together can make a big difference.
Do You Have Deer That Eat Your Flowers?
6 Flowering Plants That Hummingbirds Love That Deer Don’t Like
- bleeding hearts
- shasta daisy
- blazing star
According to the Farmers Almanac, deer do not like plants with strong scent or thorns, which makes sense.
There is a lot to know about Feeding Hummingbirds, find more below & in sidebar at top.
- Cleaning Hummingbird Feeders The little Hummingbird is a feisty and fussy diner! If a good maintenance regimen is followed, bird watching in your backyard will be more rewarding.
- Where to Hang Your Hummingbird Feeders? The when, where & why of Hummingbird feeders in your outdoor space. Facts to ponder when making your decisions about your small bird buffet.
- Hummingbird Feeder Nectar Attracts Unwelcome Guests Invited guests such as ants, bees and the more common animal pests such as raccoons, squirrels, and bears are not welcome guests.