A great-looking garden only becomes that way if there are pollinators to fertilize plants. Bees and butterflies are among the most common pollinators, but hummingbirds fulfill this role, too. This tiny bird – with its signature rapid-flapping wings and long, tapering beak – feasts primarily on the nectar of flowers.
Hummingbirds are certainly exciting additions to a garden environment, especially when they fly around glinting in the sun with their iridescent plumage. To make your garden attractive to these fascinating birds, you need to have a steady supply of nectar (or something equivalent) distributed across your yard.
Feeders and Flowers
Two of the best ways to go about this is installing hanging feeders or growing some nectar-producing flowering plants. Feeders are easy enough to set up – it is just a matter of ensuring they get refilled with fresh water mixed with sugar regularly.
However, to fully take advantage of hummingbirds as pollinators, having flowering plants for them to feed on is better. It’s also quite a sight to see hummingbirds flitting about the garden, sipping from flower to flower like something out of a nature documentary.
A Sweet Diet
Ninety percent of a hummingbird’s diet consists of sugary nectar, so they’re bound to visit hundreds of flowers a day just to meet their nutritional requirements. All that energy goes into powering those bumblebee-like wings, hence the high-sugar diet.
Hummingbirds prefer tubular, drooping flowers with striking red hues like petunias and red salvias. Kent East Hill Nursery recommends perennials like columbines, foxgloves, and lupines for hummingbirds to sip from during spring. For summer, the birds will zoom in on lilies, penstemon, bee balm, and coral bells. Another favorite hummingbird feeding spot is Campsis radicans, or the orange trumpet vine, which blooms throughout summer.
Pick plants that have different blooming periods, making sure they overlap to give hummingbirds a steady supply of food for the length of the season. The more flowers you have that hummingbirds like, the higher the possibility of them returning every year. These birds have powerful memories and will remember to go back to an attractive garden that has lots of their favorites.