Hummingbirds are among the smallest birds in the world.They can hover in mid-air by flapping their wings 12 to 90 times per second and are the only bird who can fly backwards. Hummingbirds drink the nectar from flowers and are attracted to the brightly colored blooms in your gardens. There are certain flowers and shrubs that will bring these lovely little creatures back to your garden on a daily basis.
Foxglove (Digitalis grandiflora) are elegant-looking perennials that add color and a dramatic flair to your garden during the midsummer months. Their spikes of tubular flowers range from shades of white to purples, pinks, yellows and reds. Foxglove require full to partial sun exposure and well-drained but moist soil conditions. They can grow to heights well over 4 feet; some varieties may need to be staked to stay upright. Foxglove may appeal to hummingbirds but deer do not like them.
Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis), often called wild columbine or little lanterns, are perennials that reach about 10 inches in height and produce a deep red and yellow flower that blooms for 8 weeks starting in the spring. Columbine thrives in shade or sun and is deer resistant but attracts bumblebees, butterflies and hummingbirds. Hardy little flowers, the columbine is adaptable to most soil conditions, preferring to remain moist, and is ideal for growing in shade gardens or rock gardens.
Geraniums (Pelargonium x hortorum) are sun-loving annuals that flower in the late spring and early fall months. They grow to be 12 to 24 inches tall and range in color from pink to red, salmon and white. Hummingbirds are highly attracted to your geraniums. Plants are easy to grow and will adapt to almost any soil type. They do prefer to be well watered. Geraniums are best used in gardens or potted containers on decks and porches.
Impatiens are multicolored annuals that provide the shadier spots in your garden or patio with splashes of color. Ranging in hues from vivid reds to hot pinks, purples and whites, impatiens are a favorite flower of hummingbirds. Impatiens bloom from late spring continuing into the fall months. They thrive in moist but well-drained soil conditions and must be watered regularly to avoid wilting. They grow to be 8 to 24 inches high and can have a width of 30 inches.
Shrubs and Trees
Butterfly bush (Buddleia davidii) is an evergreen shrub that can grow from 6 to 12 feet tall and has a 4- to 15-foot spread. The bush prefers full to partial sun and thrives in moist, well-drained soil conditions. Flowers are small and fragrant and bloom from summer to fall. They vary in shades ranging from lavender, lilac and purple to white yellow or pink. Bees, hummingbirds and butterflies all find the butterfly bush attractive. Butterfly bushes make good foundation plants for a butterfly or hummingbird garden.
Azalea (Rhododendron obtusum) are part of the rhododendron family and are easy-growing shrubs that are known to attract hummingbirds to gardens. Azalea shrubs grow to be 3 to 6 feet in height and have a variety of bright colors that range from white to pinks and purples. Azaleas thrive in fairly mild and humid climates and need to be protected from winds. Proper drainage is essential as plants are prone to root rot, and azaleas prefer to have filtered light exposure; they will not flourish in full shade. Hummingbirds and butterflies are attracted to the azalea shrub.