Hey all! I have a teeny backyard garden with a picket fence. I'm looking for that ONE GREAT PLANT to get some hummers to visit regularly. What is your No.1 hummer plant?
Without a doubt hummers are attracted to the color red and if you want red, salvia coccinea for example lady in red. But my #1 plant for hummers last year was blue-- salvia guaranitica black and blue. I suggest either but they are a annual for me , it depends on where you live. I am leaving a link of a great shot up close of the B & B. I used amended soil and mine grew about 30inches tall and that wide. I had mine too close to the house and the hummers could not get to the backside of it though they tried.
Here is a link that might be useful: black and blue
Steve nailed it, I think. Another winner is monarda...red bee balm. But salvia has it beat. For annuals, I grow pentas--man do the hummers love them!
I have red Monarda, love it even though I'm not a huge fan of the color red. I put it right in the middle of my teeny garden just for the Hummers. Alas, I've seen one in the past three years...feeding on a petunia. Never have I seen one at my feeders! I looked up the Black and Blue. I think I'd want that in my garden even if it didn't attract the Hummers! Thanks for the help, Deborah.
Out of all of my hummer plants, honestly, I'd say the Cypress Vine (Ipomoea quamoclit) has got to be the most popular plant. I'm also not in the habit of recommending annuals, but this vine is a definite must have. It does reseed, not heavy though, for me. Even though it does reseed, I just purchased 2 plants, just in case I'm unlucky enough NOT to have any reseeders, LOL.
mbuckmaster--- I tried growing the monarda mix seeds but they all failed on me, if I want monarda I will have to get a plant I guess.
It is a great plant, steve...not in vogue right now, but fragrant foliage and low maintenance put it up on my list. But the hummers do prefer the salvia overall! I bought my monarda as plants--haven't tried it from seed yet.
Hey Tracey! I have some Cypress seedlings going. I got the seed packet from a friend, and it said it would attract hummers. Good to know that it will. With such a tiny space to grow, the only place for me to go is vertical!
I grew the monarda mix from seed and had great success. There are 6 different colored plants in my garden, from reds to purples and everything inbetween.
The trick to starting monarda seeds is to just barely cover the seed. Then it needs 70 degrees in the day and 55 degrees at night. It's worth the trouble till germination, afterwhich you can treat them like any other seedling you start under lights.
Jacob cline Monarda (red) is best, TMHO for a small garden!
I can't grow monarda from seed either. As much as my hummers and I love the monardas, they just don't bloom long enough for my taste, plus, I always get a nasty caterpillar that destroys the blooms. I refuse to use chemicals and go the tedious route of hand picking with a tweezer. Even so, I'll never get rid of them willingly ;)
Cypress vine in my garden covers EVERYTHING!! and i must dig up at least a million seedlings every year! I'm in Zone 7, so know that at least here in North AL, it can take over a garden!
But the Hummers do love it. They also are really attracted to my Lantana. Surprisingly they go for the Confetti variety which is pink and yellow, more than they go for the red variety.
I had a monarda in between two Butterfly bushes, but it didn't make it. I think mostly because I have a Jack Russel that trampled it the two years it survived. I would see the broken stalks on the ground, flowers at the end of each stalk, and at least one hummingbird at it. This year, I got a dwarf, and have it in a container on my deck. I hope it blooms this year, and I hope the hummers love it!!! Christy :)
Ooh, I have two Lantana plants that I wintered over. One of them is the pink and yellow variety! I'll try it in another spot this year.
In my garden, a great small bush is cigar plant or cuphea ignea. The hummers flock to it, and it has a nice shape. Also roots itself wherever a limb touches the dirt.
Last year was my first year here and I had hummers, lots of them, that entertained me and the neighbors. They spent a lot of time on my big red Cannas, Million Bells-red yellow mix and blue and red Penta. But what they loved most was a bulb called Crocosmia, the red variety. It's iffy in this zone and unfortunately I have not seen it back so far this year.
I googled the Cigar plant and the Crocosmia. Neither is hardy here in Wisconsin, but what's one more thing to bring in for the winter! LOL! I loved them, and all the ideas. Keep 'em coming. I want those Hummers to be happy and hang around in my teenie little garden, not just fly by!
When I first started humgardening I purchased a Salvia guaranitica Black & Blue and grew it in a LARGE container. The hummers started hitting it within 30 mins of bringing it home and putting it out. I grow more hummer plants than I can count including but not limited to all the ones mentioned above. Black & Blue is one I will never be without. It will get at least 3ft tall and just about as wide and cutting are very easy to root and overwinter. ANother that is equally as good is Cuphea ighnea 'David Verity'. This one is even easier to root cuttings to overwinter.
The plant that the hummers eat the most on in my yard is Purple Coneflower. The majority of a hummers diet is small insects and the hummers know they can pick insects from the spines of the coneflowers.
If I am weeding int he garden, the hummers will hover over my head, waiting for their turn at the coneflowers.
Other hummer flowers that I have include cardinal flower, royal catchfly, and columbine. But by far, the hummers swarm the coneflowers like a bee, where the others they flit from flower to flower sucking nectar.
Now I have quite a few Purple Coneflowers and they never go to any of mine. They also reseed all over the place I have about 40 (conservative estimate) right now that I have to dig out of my salvia bed. The Black & Blue and Cuphea ignea David Verity bloom all season long up until frost where coneflowers bloom later in the season.
Hey Penny, thanks for the news flash about the cuttings of the Cuphea! Cuttings are sooo much easier to deal with when it's time to bring stuff in for the winter. And JoePye, I have some Coneflowers! Those I grow for the goldfinches. Love all the info, folks!
Tall verbena. They kept coming after it and snubbing all of my other plants last year.
One of my favorites in my garden is the Fuschia magellanica. Very hardy! I have some I never water and are in full sun! I learned to put them where their flowers can drop and it won't look unsightly. They bloom like crazy until hard frost here. I pinch the end shoots out, to get even more flowers, and make them bushier--but it's not necessary, they bloom profusely. I don't fertilize them. The hummingbirds always come to them. It's a nice perennial choice. They are also extremely easy to pull up and divide!
The major plant that my hummers come to is an Autumn Sage bush. I don't know exactly what variety, but the flowers are red.
You also need to take into account your zone somewhat and particularly your growing conditions. Autumn Sage (Salvia greggii) is a terrific plant but it needs well draining soil and only moderate moisture. It is best suited for dryer growing conditions and full sun.
Fuschia magellanica is also a good plant but required more moisture and some shade. It is one of the hardiest fucshias but not a hardy perennial in zones 4, 5 or 6.
Check out one of my forum member's website she grows many of the plants already listed and a whole lot more as I know Kathi and Michael are trialing several new plants this year. She is in Madison Wisconsin and also puts out a newsletter called the Dane County Nectar News and she will be doing an article for Bob Sargent in one of his upcoming newsletters about gardening in the Midwest.
Here is a link that might be useful: Hummingbird Gardening in the Upper Midwest
This has turned into a fun thread. I hope the OP will tell us what she/he planted.
I too have purple coneflowers and have not seen the hummers near them. The true winners I've come to depend on during the summer are pentas--annuals that the hummers will spend three minutes or more sucking nectar from. I don't see much love given to these plants in here, so I always bring them up when I can. Try them in containers and watch the hummingbirds come in droves! As annuals, they're tough to beat in my opinion.
Thanks for the great link Penny, I think I'll find it very helpful. And mbuckmaster, just a note regarding an earlier post of your. Monarda is always in vogue in my garden. I was born on the fourth of July, and I call Monarda my own little garden fireworks show!
Good to hear! What a neat plant--splashes of interesting color, fragrant foliage, naturalizes a planting bed well, and attracts hummingbirds and butterflies by the hundreds. I need to try more colors--you can even do red, white, and "blue" for your birthday this year, pet! =)
Ooh, bad flashback to a red, white and blue bedroom theme in my early teens!
Kathi and Michael really do push the envelop when it comes to their garden but once you get started you just want more no matter what zone you are in.
Yeah, I don't worry too much about the zone...I'm more than willing to bring something in for the winter, collect seeds or do whatever is necessary to have a plant that I want in my garden! Good news, it's the beginning of the month...which means payday to those of us on Disability! I will be searching the stores for some of the fabulous suggestions of that One Great Plant that you have all given me! I'm so hoping to find that Salvia 'Black and Blue'! Wish me luck, Deborah.
B&B is fairly popular, so you have a good shot of finding it. Although I went to get some more recently and had to travel to several places before I got it. Guess it had sold out...it is a little late to be planting down here. Good luck! Please post pictures when you finally plant that one plant.
Well, no luck yesterday in finding the suggested plants. But, I fell in love with a pretty pink Gaura. Do Hummers like that? I really hate to the idea of trying to smoosh something else in if it's just going to make me happy and not the Hummers. Well, this year anyway! The Hummers are the main goal this year. I'm going to be a very good girl and check the Hummer plant list before I end up with yet another impulse purchase!
Gaura is beautiful and very airy looking but it is more of a butterfly plant. I have never seen a hummer go near it.
Here are three tried and trues and I know that some are repeats from the above mentioned plants
Salvia Black & Blue - Any nursery selling Proven winners may have it as Proven Winners has taken it over this year
Salvia greggi (any variety) I have Cherry Stampede and Cherry Chief. The Cherry Stamped is available at a lot of Lowes stores around the country
Salvia coccinea - Lady in Red, Coral Nymph
There are many more too and if you have room for a perennial vine I suggest Coral honeysuckle or Dropmore Scarlet Honeysuckle not the Jzapanese Honeysuckle. They are just coming into bloom here and the hummers will be all over them.
Hey Penny! Thanks so much for letting me know to NOT get the Japanese Honeysuckle. I have Honeysuckle on my shopping list, but just that. It never occurred to me to be looking for a specific one!
The botanical name of the Japanese honeysuckle is Lornicera Japonica and it will have whitish or creamy white flowers
There are several American honeysuckles
Lornicera sempervirens = Coral Honeysuckle
Lorniereax brownii = Dropmore Scarlet
Lonicera x heckrotti = Gold Flame Honeysuckle
Lonicera sempervirens John Clayton = John Clayton Honeysuckle
Lonicera sempervirens ÂBlanche SandmanÂ= Blanche Sandman Honeysuckle
I have added a link below to a good article on invasive honeysuckles for the midwest
Here is a link that might be useful: Beautiful species to hate
Thanks for the great article, Penny. The japanese vine is a truly aggressive menace; no one should ever plant it. There are many nicely behaved native honeysuckles that hummers like just as much, if not more; yet people continue to buy and plant this invasive pest. I even saw it at Home Depot earlier this year...masquerading under the innocuous name of "Hal's Honeysuckle."
Hal's "Take Over Your And Your Neighborhood's Gardens And Woodlands And Choke The Life Out Of Every Native Plant (Except Poison Ivy) Honeysuckle" is a more appropriate name. I literally have a carpet of this stuff in my woods...and a hot button about it, as you can see! =)
Thanks for the list of excellent alternatives, Penny.
Your welcome mbuckmaster,
Unfortunately the garden centers both local and big box are the guilty ones for selling these non native invasives. Our own local nurseries do not carry any native honeysuckles. If a naive customer goes in and asks for a honeysuckle they are immediately shown the Hals or Japanese Honeysuckle. I have diverted more than one unknowing person away from them. I purchased my Dropmore Scarlet from Wal Mart of all places and my Coral from Mail Order Natves in Florida. Both have been fantastic performers and are still growing in the same location they were planted and on the same trellises. Have they grown over the top...yes but they are staying within their boundaries.
Another vote for Honeysuckle - I have Dropmore Scarlet, a neighbor has "Alabama Crimson". They bloom heaviest when hummers are migrating and don't take up much space in your small yard.
A pot of geraniums is a nice long blooming, tough annual that also won't take up much space.
You probably have planted something by now, but I would recommend 'Stachytarpheta franzii' or 'Portersweed'. One plant will grow into large shrub that the hummers love!
Porterweed is great but I don't know if it would be able to grow enough in her zone 4 garden. She would probably have to order it by mail too. I know I have never been able to get it locally in zone 6.
Hey there all! I just checked out a local nursery website and they have Black and Blue on their plant list. I sure hope the Hummers appreciate this, because I have to take the bus and then ride my bike to get there! It's amazing the lengths we'll go for our garden, isn't it? Hey, way down in Costa Rica! And Penny, I loved that article about the Honeysuckle. I had to laugh when they mentioned that digestion didn't seem to affect seed germination! That is evidenced all along my fence line with little surprises that the birds plant for me. Well, we have a break from the rain this morning, so I'm heading out to the garden!