How to Attract Hummingbirds to Your Garden

What's not to like about watching tiny dive bombers zooming around your yard? Hummingbirds often show no fear of their human neighbors and are known to buzz close to your head if you stand still. They may even drink directly from your watering hose. If you want more of them to visit your yard, learn how to attract hummingbirds to your garden.

Hummingbirds love color

To look at many of the hummingbird feeders with sweet red water inside, you might assume that hummingbirds are only attracted to that color. The truth is that while red and orange colors are their favorites, their need for nectar doesn't allow them to become finicky eaters based solely on color. If you observe these fascinating birds for even a short time, you will notice that attracting hummingbirds to your garden means planting almost any color of nectar-bearing flower.

Avid hummingbird observers have noted that these birds can spend an entire day visiting one flower variety. The next day, they will move on to another variety. You might say that hummingbirds believe that "variety is the spice of life." The more assorted the colorful flower selection in your garden, the more time they will spend zipping around your yard.

Hummingbirds prefer certain flower shapes

Just as important to the hummingbird is the shape of the flower for potential dining. Scientists believe that flowers have evolved through co-adaptation and co-evolution. The term "mutalism" is used for a positive inter-specific relationship that, in this case, allows both the flower and the hummingbird to benefit. Flowers best adapted for hummingbirds are designed to attract this particular group of birds rather than insects.

You may be surprised to learn that flower fragrance plays no part in attracting hummingbirds. Instead, their priority is easy nectar extraction from a relatively long floral tube.

Hummingbirds need nectar

Hummingbirds are voracious eaters and must feed three to five times per hour. It makes sense that when they find a garden filled with nectar delicacies, they will fight other hummingbirds in order to guard their turf. Their battles are commonplace wherever there is an abundance of nectar.

Depending upon the area of the country where you live, there should be a hummingbird-attracting flower that grows well in your climate from the following list:

Perennials: Butterfly weed, columbine, dahlia, delphinium, foxglove, fuchsia, geranium, lupine, morning glory, sage, and verbena.

Annuals: Mountain garland, four-o'-clock, touch-me-not, nasturtium, petunia, spider flower, and zinnia.

Bulbs: Tuberous Begonia, canna, gladiolus, iris and montbretia. Corms and tubers can also attract hummingbirds.

Vines: Bougainvillea, cardinal climber, flame vine, honeysuckle, lantana, trumpet creeper and trumpet vines.

In addition to attracting hummingbirds with an assorted menu of flowers, a good gardener will keep in mind that creating an entire habitat will keep them as regular residents. Hummingbirds will gather leaves, spider webs, moss and lichens to build their tiny nests. Shrubs and trees also play an important role in attracting hummingbirds to your garden.

Even a basic gardener can plant a hummingbird-attracting flower in a pot on their patio or balcony. Regularly add a saucer of water in a shady spot, and you have given a hummingbird two good reasons to visit your yard, patio or balcony.

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