shade plants for hummers

posiepaulaMarch 2, 2007

I have a dear friend who has 90% shade in her little yard, but she would like to have a hummingbird garden and has asked for my advice. Any suggestions?

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What kind of shade does she have? What is shading the garden area, the house, trees, if trees what kind? What grows there now? Does it get some sun during the day, and if so how much? Does she want a perenniel garden or does she have room for some shrubs?

    Bookmark   March 2, 2007 at 9:36PM
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ben_birding(z3 AR)

Try a Wild Blue Phlox.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2007 at 12:06AM
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I was going to say the same thing as ben birding, plus some others.

Phlox divaricata (Wild Blue Phlox)
Ajuga reptans atropurpurea (Bugle) I saw a photo somewhere of a Ruby-throat at one of these
Dicentra spectabilis (Bleeding Heart)--They visit mine!
Heuchera sanguinea (Coral Bells)--May not bloom well in very deep shade, but my friend says the hummers like his!
Spigelia marilandica (Indian Pink) Supposed to be highly attractive to hummers
Impatiens capensis (Jewelweed) A wildflower that the hummers like--I've seen them use it. Requires very moist soil.
Hostas (Plantain Lilies) Mostly blooming in August/Sept, but you might be able to get some for June/July

I hope your friend has nice moist soil in her shady garden, and that the shade isn't too terribly deep. If it's very dark, and the soil is dry (like under a pine tree) she may not be able to get much of anything to grow!

    Bookmark   March 3, 2007 at 12:58AM
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penny1947(z6 WNY)

Did you say that you had found seeds for Spigelia marilandica or did you order a plant. I have been looking for seeds but haven't located any yet.


    Bookmark   March 3, 2007 at 1:45PM
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Penny, I looked and looked for Spigelia seed and was never able to find any from the large numbers of online wildflower seed suppliers. It's supposed to be easily grown from seed, so I can't understand why it is so unavailable.

What I mentioned in a different thread was that I had ordered 3 plants of Spigelia marilandica for spring planting. I said I would be willing to collect seed and send some to you, but I never heard back from you until now, so assumed you were either not interested, or had missed my post.

So, if you've got your heart set on Spigelia in 2007, it looks like you'll have to do as I did and order some plants. There are quite a few sources listed in Dave's Garden. If you'd like me to try to collect seed from my plants and send it to you, I can probably do that. I've read that it's tricky to collect because it is shed very suddenly. One day it's not ready, and the next day it's fallen on the ground. I guess I'll find out if that's really true. I have no idea how long it takes to flower from seed.

All I can say is that if you're interested in seed, I'll do my best to pay attention and collect it and send it on to you. No promises, but I'll try. I imagine it would become available in June or July, some time after flowering.

Would you like me to try and save you some seed?

    Bookmark   March 3, 2007 at 6:18PM
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penny1947(z6 WNY)

Hey Kristin,
I must have missed your post....sorry. I know the seed is tricky to collect b/c as soon as it is ripe it is dispersed so that could be why it isn't readily available. I think I saw that Park's Seeds has it but it is really expensive compared to other seeds. OH no don't worry about collecting the seed. Let it self sow in your beds Sometimes it is hard for me to keep up with all the forums since I moderate two, I have to give those two my first priority then I trickle over here. I will probably order some plants from Mail Order Natives since it is already this late and I have ordered from them before..

    Bookmark   March 4, 2007 at 6:55AM
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I gotcha Penny--don't bother with the seeds, you'll get plants yourself.

I have an idea about collecting seed. When the plants get close to shedding their seed, I could make a paper or maybe even a clear plastic funnel and wrap it around the stem below the flowers. It would fit sort of like one of those "collars" you put around a dog's neck to keep it from chewing an incision. The seed would fall and collect in the upturned funnel and voila!

I think it could work, but I would also watch it like a hawk to see if I could collect the seed myself. If successful, maybe I could sell it to some of those lazy seed companies that aren't bothering with it.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2007 at 1:08PM
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penny1947(z6 WNY)

Hey Kristin,
That sounds like a plan! I have done something similar with black and blue seeds since they fall out so quickly.


    Bookmark   March 5, 2007 at 8:25AM
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I have dry shade and tree roots, so I add a few containers with summer annuals - mostly impatiens, begonias, and fuschia in big pots among the perennials. That way I'm not digging into tree or perennial roots to plant annuals.

For partial shade my hummers love native columbine and coralbells. I've also noticed the extremely common lance-leaved hosta (Hosta lancifolia) seems to start blooming just when they're starting to show up on their way south. This is a very common 'can't kill it' type of hosta that if any of your neighbors have they will probably share.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2007 at 12:59PM
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I got a Spigelia Marilandica last year. It has been in the ground since Spring and has done NADA!! I hear it is last to get going, and it needed to become established, so I hope this year to get some blooms. I'm considering ordering another one this year, and putting it into a container. How did yours do Kristin? Christy

    Bookmark   March 6, 2007 at 2:34PM
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Christy, This is my first year for Spigelia, and I don't even have the plants yet. I'm expecting 3 of them to come in the mail this May. I hope they aren't too slow to get going. I think I've got a nice spot for them with good soil, some direct morning sun, and some dappled shade, but no afternoon sun. They'll be right by our front door, so I'll be able to keep close watch on them.

I'm sorry I can't give you any feedback yet. Your getting a second plant seems like a good idea. With only one plant, maybe you have a slower than average one. I don't really know what's typical for them, but maybe you'll have better luck with the second. Do you have the plant in deep shade, or does it get some sun? Although it's listed as a shade lover, I'm thinking it might grow a bit faster if it gets some sun, as long as the soil remains moist--but then I don't really have any experience with it, so shouldn't be giving advice.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2007 at 5:39PM
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Ah, thanks Kristin. I read that you have 3 of them, but didn't get back to see when you got them. When it didn't do much, I started looking around, and read that it is the LAST plant to get going in the spring/summer. I don't recall exactly when I FINALLY started seeing some growth, but I would guess it was around Aug/Sept. It does get partial sun, full sun in the spring/fall when there are no leaves in the trees. Mine is also right by the front door, I kept a close eye on it all summer. You'll have to let me know how yours do, I think it looks great in pictures!! Christy

    Bookmark   March 6, 2007 at 9:18PM
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