New year new plants to try for hummers

Robert (zone 7a, Oklahoma)February 20, 2014

This year I sorta went crazy with ordering new plants to try for my hummers (I live in Tulsa, OK).

I still have my proven hits like Cuphea 'David Verity', Salvia guaranitica 'Black and Blue', Lonicera sempervirens 'Major Wheeler' and Russelia equisetiformis .

This year I'm also trying the following-

Cestrum fasciculatum var. Newellii
Manettia cordifolia
Justicia spicigera
Stachytarpheta mutablis
Iochroma 'Ashcott Red'
Bouvardia ternifolia
Petunia exserta
Salvia 'Van Houttei'
Eccremocarpus scaber
Canna indica
Nematanthus 'Black Gold'
Ipomoea lobata
Ipomoea x multifida

Hope I spelled all those correctly.

Anyone else getting geared up for spring and trying new plants in the hopes of pleasing our feathered friends?
If so please share your new plants. I'm always looking out for new plants to try. :)

-Robert

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shillanorth Z4 AB

Wow - I think you qualify as the Mad Planter! I don`t recognize most of those Latin names - perhaps some pictures would clear things up for me(hint, hint). I have wintersowed digitalis ambigua and mertonensis, aquilegia canadensis and monarda didyma and penstemon for my expanded hummingbird gardens. I don`t know how this will turn out what with our chinooks and all but thought I would give it a try. I should know by Victoria Day weekend. If I don`t get any transplants out of it, it`s off to the greenhouse for me!

    Bookmark   February 20, 2014 at 5:42PM
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mbrowne(9b Central CA)

I started some Cardinal Climber from seed. They germinated quickly and got ahead of me. I have them under lights, and they are sort of taking over the closet I have them in. I need to get them in the ground pretty soon!

    Bookmark   February 22, 2014 at 4:35PM
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Robert (zone 7a, Oklahoma)

Ha! I was wondering if I should have included some common names. ;)

Cestrum fasciculatum var. Newellii (Red Cestrum)
Manettia cordifolia (Firecracker vine)
Justicia spicigera (Mexican Honeysuckle)
Stachytarpheta mutablis (Coral Porterweed)
Iochroma 'Ashcott Red'
Bouvardia ternifolia (Humminbird Flower)
Petunia exserta (Red Petunia)
Salvia 'Van Houttei'
Eccremocarpus scaber (Chilean Glory Vine)
Canna indica (Indian Shot)
Nematanthus 'Black Gold' (Goldfish Plant)
Ipomoea lobata (Spanish Flag)
Ipomoea x multifida (Cardinal Climber)

I received a couple of plants from Almost Eden that were huge and in bloom that I've got inside under the lights. I snapped a pic of the pinkish Red Cestrum and the orange Mexican Honeysuckle for ya. :)

So ready for the cold to be over with and the return of the hummers!

I'd like to start some seeds now but I've got so many cuttings under lights that I'm running out of room. I'll probably wait a little longer since reading how vigorous the cannas and Cardinal Climbers can be makes me think that waiting seems prudent. ;)

-Robert

    Bookmark   February 23, 2014 at 12:17PM
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shillanorth Z4 AB

Oh, those are beauties!! Will some of these be perennials in your area? My seeds are whiling away their time in a snowbank. The first sightings are posted so the excitement begins!

Sheila

    Bookmark   February 24, 2014 at 12:52AM
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Robert (zone 7a, Oklahoma)

Thanks! The only ones I can leave in the ground will probably just be the cannas and maybe the salvia if I place it in a protected spot and mulch it heavily. The others I'll have to keep in pots or dig them up come winter, for the vines I'll just save seeds. :)

Have you seen a Goldfish Plant before?
I spotted them at a local nursery in the houseplant section and thought the flowers looked like they would attract hummers.
I looked it up on my phone and nabbed a couple after I saw pics of hummers coming to the blooms! I'm hoping the variety I got (Black Gold) also attacts them.
If not oh, well. They were pretty cheap and of course helped me get through this dreadful winter.

So excited the hummers have hit the states! I know I'll have to wait until late March or early April in the hopes of spotting some but still it's something to look forward to!
Thanks for letting us know.

I normally don't get any resident hummers until early July.
That's when I get really excited! :)

-Robert

    Bookmark   February 25, 2014 at 1:49PM
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shillanorth Z4 AB

Yes, I have seen those goldfish plants in florist shops. I am looking to add a little excitement to my containers so I will be keeping any eye out for something like that. This summer, it`s hummer plants all the way!

Sheila

    Bookmark   February 26, 2014 at 7:00PM
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Robert (zone 7a, Oklahoma)

The hummers will love you for it, Sheila! :)

Been reading books about gardening for hummingbirds and so of course today I ordered Jewelweed (Impatiens capensis) seeds off eBay.

Oi vey! There's no hope for me. Laugh.

-Robert

    Bookmark   February 27, 2014 at 10:45AM
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dave_k_gw

robert1971,
I've had difficulty with Impatiens capensis in hot dry weather. It needs lots of moisture. I've read the seeds need cold stratification. You might try winter sowing a few. Good luck, I know the hummers use it.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2014 at 6:46PM
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missingtheobvious(Blue Ridge 7a)

Impatiens capensis's natural habitat is creeks and creeksides. It's nearly solid in the "sand bar" in my small creek, where it can easily send roots to access the water table -- but otherwise doesn't grow more than a couple of feet from the water, and then almost always in the sandy areas. And the same was true for my mother's rocky creek in Connecticut.

It likes to have its toes wet.

[And for anyone who sees it in the wild: you will usually find poison ivy nearby.]

    Bookmark   February 27, 2014 at 7:56PM
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Robert (zone 7a, Oklahoma)

Thanks, guys!
I tried some plants a few years back but unfortunately it turned out to be one of the years when the temps were 100+ for weeks on end so they fried.
I think I'll sow some on moist peat pods and put them in the fridge in a plastic bag until spring and direct sow some outside whenever I get the seeds in the mail. I'll probably have to work extra peat into the spots outside where I want to try them though.
I'm also considering trying some in pots since they're such water hogs. :)

-Robert

    Bookmark   February 28, 2014 at 9:17AM
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rvird01

I put in 4 coss vines (3 shalimar red ad 1 tangerine beauty) and 2 Jacob Kline bee balm today. I'm hoping the varieties of bee balm I planted last year will thrive this year. They are little ones popping up everywhere :)

Has anyone grown the cross vine? I planted each at the bottom of a longleaf pine tree (1 tree each). The trees have really rough bark that I'm told the vines will cling to. Also told hummers will go crazy for them.

I sat out in my garden for 4 hours til the sun went down hoping I'd see my first hummer of the year as the migration map shows sightings all around me. No dice! Maybe this week.
Rhonda

    Bookmark   March 2, 2014 at 7:44PM
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Robert (zone 7a, Oklahoma)

Hi Rhonda!

Let us know if you get any hits off your cross vines.
I planted one a long time ago before I ever saw any hummers in my yard and got rid of it but now I regret that action. Laugh.

My hummers love my 3 plants of Jacob Cline Monarda.
It's spreading like mad though. I dug out a huge section from the middle to give as a starter plant for a friend but I'm sure I'll still need to divide some more come spring.

So jealous that the hummers have already arrived where you live!
I too would be sitting out hoping to catch sight of one if I knew they've been spotted in my area. :)

-Robert

    Bookmark   March 4, 2014 at 2:46PM
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rvird01

Hi Robert!
I will let you know how the cross vines work for the hummers. I sure hope I'm not disappointed because I fell in love with all the photos online of mature plants :)
When I lived in Ohio, the bee balm grew so lush and tall, but this will be my first full year with them in Florida. I planted them in part shade hoping they'll make it through te heat and humidity.
As far as the hummers go, they could be in my yard now but I leave in the dark and come home in the dark, so I'll have to wait til the weekend to find out :(

Rhonda

    Bookmark   March 4, 2014 at 10:37PM
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Robert (zone 7a, Oklahoma)

I hope you finally saw a hummer, Rhonda!

We had temps in the 80's yesterday so I brought out my Goldfish plants just in case a hummer decided to drop by. Laugh.

I also broke down and ordered a Calliandra californica (Baja Fairy Duster) and a Abutilon megapotamicum (Flowering Maple).

I should probably just stop and by a feeder already. :)

-Robert

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 2:38PM
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ponyexpress_1

Hi Robert. I too am trying Iochroma, spanish flag, canna and indian shot from seed this year. I have had Petunia exserta before. The hummingbirds use it, but not like they use the Black and Blue Salvia or the Cuphea. The cardinal climber definitely worked. I start my seeds a few weeks before last frost. They work better that way for me. I was thinking of ordering the Bouvardia, Cestrum and others from Almost Eden this year. They have to be over wintered here. I'm running out of room for that. I am also winter sowing Salvia azurea and 4 other varieties, 5 varieties of lychnis, 17 varieties of Penstemon, Agastaches, silene, indian paintbrush, stachys monieri, malvas, and mallow. I have already bought Salvia weny's wish, pachyphylla, ulignosa, argentine skies, and Salvia Darcyi pscarl. One of the flowers that the humming birds seemed to like last year was Phygelius. There was so much nectar in them that the hummingbirds stayed at each flower a long time. I had it on my deck in a container so I could enjoy the hummingbirds at them.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 4:07PM
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Robert (zone 7a, Oklahoma)

Thanks for the info, Pony! Glad to hear I'm not the only one going nutty for hummers this year. :)

I have a huge clump of Saliva darcyi in the front yard in the strip between the sidewalk and the street.
The hummers like it but not as much as the Black and Blue.

You have a lot of salvias! There's a new pest that's been appearing the last 3 years or so.
A small pink triangle shaped moth that lays its eggs on the salvia and the caterpillars eat the blooms.
So far I still have enough blooms for the hummers but it's a bummer (sorry...couldn't help myself).
I'd like to grow more salvias but I'm a bit reluctant.

That's good news about the phygelius. I used to grow a ton of them when our local K-Marts carried them. I sort of went nuts and planted Phygelius capensis everywhere. Unfortunately none survived.
I don't think they like our heat and humidity but I did see some at Lowe's last year so knowing me I'll pick up another one this year should I see any. :)

-Robert

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 4:39PM
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ponyexpress_1

Robert, I do go nuts for the hummingbirds. I am always looking for good hummingbird plants. I would love to really increase the number of hummingbird visitors I get. That's a shame about the Salvia pest. I hope we don't get that here. I'll keep a look out for that. As far as the Phygelius, You may want to try a self watering planter. I had mine in them, and they did great in those.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 5:20PM
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Robert (zone 7a, Oklahoma)

Thanks for the pot tip!

Yes. The moth pest is no fun. Especially if you're an organic gardener and also garden for butterflies so you don't want to put anything out that might hurt them (like bt). :(
I hope you never see it where you live!

-Robert

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 5:37PM
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zzackey(8b GA)

My hummers love my Golden Dewdrop bush. It's their favorite plant. I can stand next to the plant and they don't seem to mind me being there! such a thrill to get so close to one. They also love my firecracker plant and my dainty little salvias. Sorry I don't know their names. I just planted some pineapple sage seeds. The plants are supposed to get 8-10 ft. tall and are great for hummers.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 5:46PM
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Robert (zone 7a, Oklahoma)

Hmm...I didn't know the hummers like Golden Dewdrop bushes (Duranta erecta)!
I've seen them before at Lowe's but never bothered getting one since I didn't know the hummers like them.

Thank you! :)

-Robert

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 5:53PM
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zzackey(8b GA)

The phrase "Flip Out" would be putting it mildly. They are on it several times a day and that is only when I see them.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 6:23PM
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rvird01

Robert,
I haven't seen one yet :( Maybe this weekend. It's frustrating since the map shows them all around us. I did make 3 hummingbird swings and hung them near the feeders and plants :)

Rhonda

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 9:16PM
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Robert (zone 7a, Oklahoma)

Uh oh. Never heard about swings for hummers.
This forum is dangerous. ;)

I'm sure it's just a matter of time before we all start seeing our beloved birds.
Spring is just around the corner!

-Robert

    Bookmark   March 13, 2014 at 11:18AM
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rvird01

Robert,

I had never heard of hummingbird swings either, just happened across them on the web. I really don't need them since I've always had hummers sitting on branches guarding feeders. But these will hopefully allow them to sit closer and add a little bling :) I know.....they're just a gimic but sort of fun.

Rhonda

    Bookmark   March 13, 2014 at 8:29PM
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Robert (zone 7a, Oklahoma)

Ha! I thought the same thing. The hummers normally land on the electric wires but I figured if I put a swing closer to a window I'd get a better view. Why not? :)

Stopped at Lowe's today before work and picked up three red 'Firefly' Heucheras for the hummers.
At least I can plant these in the ground!

-Robert

    Bookmark   March 14, 2014 at 10:00AM
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rvird01

I'm a sucker for anything that allows me to enjoy my hummers :)

I would love to put some of those firefly heucheras out, they are gorgeous and I'm sure the hummers would go crazy for them. But, I'm afraid the Florida sun would fry them.
If I do see them here, I might pick up one and plant it in my shade garden to see if they'll survive.

I got the rest of my feeders out today. I have several salvias blooming and the red cestrum and spicy jatropha are getting ready to. My bottlebrush, which is a favorite of my hummers and butterflies, will most likely be blooming in a month.

It really feels like Sring today, so keeping my fingers, toes and eyes crossed that this is the weekend my babies return :)

Rhonda

    Bookmark   March 14, 2014 at 2:36PM
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Robert (zone 7a, Oklahoma)

Crossing my fingers for you as well! :)
Surely with all you've got going on this weekend you'll finally see some.

Yea. I've had problems with heucheras not lasting as well in our heat but since they were 6 bucks each and of course they've got bloom spikes I figured why not? ;)

-Robert

P.S. Now I want a bottlebrush. Laugh.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2014 at 3:31PM
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rvird01

Thanks Robert! I hope I see one soon so my eyes don't get stuck in this position. Lol. If you do a search on the butterfly garden forum for "first giant swallowtail ever" and you'll see some pics I took of one on my bottlebrush :)

    Bookmark   March 14, 2014 at 9:23PM
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rvird01

They're here! At least the male is :) I've seen one several times today out back and out front. The crossvine is about to bloom, right on time.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2014 at 2:03PM
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Robert (zone 7a, Oklahoma)

Hooray! Congrats! :)

    Bookmark   March 15, 2014 at 2:37PM
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Robert (zone 7a, Oklahoma)

This weekend I picked up a packet of Scarlet Runner Beans (Phaseolus coccineus).
This is a dangerous forum! :)

-Robert

    Bookmark   March 17, 2014 at 12:18PM
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rvird01

Hee hee ;) Is there a 12 step plantaholic program?

Question: is balsam as good at attracting hummers as jewelweed? I had jewelweed growing wild on my property in Ohio. I picked up some balsam seeds and planted them in a shady spot this weekend. Thanks!

    Bookmark   March 17, 2014 at 10:56PM
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hummersteve

robert

Good luck with all your new plants, I will pretty much stay with what I have , all that you listed in your second paragraph I have also.

I tried a nice crop of "Petunia Exserta and the hummers never touched it bees did though.

Another plant I tried on a whim a couple of years ago and the hummers loved it as much as anything else "Pentas Lanceolata". I will add a couple of shots for plants to consider.

Pentas Lanceolata used daily

another shot of the plant

Salvia Oxyphora works well for me unique fuzzy blooms, very sweet as ants crawl all over it

closeup of oxyphora blooms

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 3:22PM
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rvird01

Great pics Robert! Those plants are gorgeous...that salvia is amazing. I will most definitely look for it. Thanks!

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 7:52PM
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rvird01

Robert,
Can you please share where you purchased the salvia? I've never seen it at nurseries around me and have found it at just a few sites online. I'm always nervous about ordering plants from a new site without recommendations. Thanks!
Rhonda

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 9:44PM
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hummersteve

rvird01

If you are referring to salvia oxyphora they were my pics not roberts.

You can get these at "flowers by the sea" but they are in limited supply.

Steve

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 11:24PM
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hummersteve

Rhonda

Flowers by the sea is a trustworthy site. Steve

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 11:40PM
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rvird01

Steve,
I'm so sorry about crediting Robert instead of you with the pics. As usual, your pics are wonderful.
Thanks for letting me know where you purchased the salvia.

Rhonda

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 9:12AM
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susanlynne1948(7a-OKC)

I am just hoping I get spring hummers this year, Robert, in OKC. I always get them around July until the south migration.

I do wish Bustani still had their mail order business. Alas, I can't get up to Stillwater to get plants. I like Almost Eden, too. I started a new garden last year since I moved in with my DD. I did bring a few things, like Salvia 'Hot Lips', S. 'Black & Blue', and Salvia 'Lady in Red' which they adore as well. The latter is a reseeding annual for us in OKC, but the hummers and large butterflies, like the Black Swallowtails, Monarchs, Gulf Frits, etc., love it. They also love the Butterfly Bush, Pentas, Japanese MGs, Passion Vine, Anisacanthus quadrifolia var. wrightii, Zinnias, Monardas. In the past I got my porterweed from Bustani's - the dwarf red, and from Almost Eden, the deep purple. The hummers loved both of them. They ignore my Cuphea 'David Verity'. They also loved my Lantana 'Dallas Red' and 'Miss Huff', Cosmos sulphureus 'Cosmic Orange' and Verbena bonariensis. Trumpet Vine and Honeysuckle are always adored, as well as Hibiscus coccineus 'Texas Star'.

I usually also grow large sunflowers. They attract tiny insects and the hummers are all over them for their protein snacks. The other birds don't bother them at all. Hummers are very "gregarious".

I hope we have a good year. Won't be good for the Monarchs based upon the reports out of Mexico, unfortunately. I do plan to plant more Milkweed for them anyway. The hummers also like the Tropical and Oscar annual milkweeds here.

Susan

    Bookmark   March 23, 2014 at 2:47PM
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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

How exciting to have so many new plants, Robert!

One plant I don't see on the list is Malvaviscus drummondii/turk's cap. It's an old fashioned plant that dies back on the top but comes back from the root each spring down here. The hummers go to it over new plants that I plant each year. Salvia guaranitica, which includes Black & Blue, and turk's cap are still the favorites.

Please let us know which plants are most popular with the hummers!

Sherry

    Bookmark   March 24, 2014 at 11:38AM
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Robert (zone 7a, Oklahoma)

Hi everyone!

Got my Bouvardia ternifolia in the mail the other day. I love its color!

Steve,

Thanks for the info and the beautiful pics!
I guess the red petunia will probably be a bust but we'll see.
I like bees as well though. :)
Funny you should mention pentas. I've been reading Hummingbirds and Butterflies (Peterson Field Guides/Bird Watcher's Digest Backyard Bird Guides) and they recommend pentas with dark eyes or something like that (the book is at home). I might find a spot for some!

Susan,

Same with me. I'll spot a few males for a day or two in late March or earlier April and get super excited hoping some will stick around but they never do. I won't see any regular ones until early July. I'm considering putting up a feeder next week just in the hopes of trying to get one to stick around longer! Laugh.

I've only been to Bustani once. It was cool. I'm hoping my Erythrina x bidwillii (Coral Bean Hybrid) made it through this brutal winter okay. Surely it will sprout from the base if all of the top is dead from the cold.

Can't believe your hummers don't dig David Verity! Mine absolutely love it though I did see that the one in a pot on the back deck got way more attention than the ones I had growing in the ground so you might try one in a pot on an elevated spot to see if you get any action.

Oh, I noticed hummers coming to our sunflowers last year but didn't realize they were eating insects. I'll have to pay closer attention this year. :)

Sherry,

Yea. I went way, way overboard this year. Who knows how many plants will make it or will actually be started from seed since I've no room inside at this point!
Thanks for the Malvaviscus drummondii recommendation.
I've grown them before. Sometimes Home Depot will carry them so I'll grab one this year if I see any and I'll let everyone know which plants were the biggest hit this year. :)

-Robert

    Bookmark   March 25, 2014 at 10:43AM
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hummersteve

Concerning Pentas, last year I had both red and pink and hummers used both. I found mine at lowes.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2014 at 12:05PM
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