Foxglove digitalis, how much do your hummingbirds like them?

suspenders(3)May 10, 2009

Hello everyone. I recently found for sale some rather large foxglove "seedlings", and bought and planted 8 of them. They're the "Camelot mix" variety. I'm really happy so far, as they've already started flowering and look lovely.

Since my whole purpose is to plant a flower bed that will attract local hummers, I wanted to know everyone's experience with foxglove and hummingbirds. Most of what I find online all says the birds love'em, but I'd like your second opinion ;) I planted a hybrid, but is it better to stick with just wild foxglove?

Also, my neighbour will be putting in a new fence sometime this year, and when he does I was thinking of planting lots of foxglove by it. I'd like to create a sort of wall of flowers by the fence, so any other suggestions for tall flowering plants that are hummingbird magnets would be very much appreciated!

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At the risk of sounding like a broken record I highly recommend Black n' Blue Salvia It grew to about 2 1/2 to 3 ft in my whiskey barrel. I would have hummers every few minutes with just one plant and no feeder! Cardinal Climber and goldflame honeysuckle might look nice climbing the fence as well. This is my first year with them but they have gotten rave reviews on this sight.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2009 at 12:21AM
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Here ya go.....a nice sized thread with a whole bunch of plants that are Zone 4 happy.

Here is a link that might be useful: Zone 4 Hummer Plants

    Bookmark   May 11, 2009 at 12:23AM
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Thanks for the thread gatorinfla. I've tried mostly following the plant advice I found here , and I've planted a bit of what I could find. That plus lots of Monarda bee balm.

lionsfan, thanks for the advice on the black and blue. I've read all the great things on here about the black and blue, and I tried to source some locally but I couldn't find any. The online seed shops I usually buy seeds from don't have any either, sadly. I'm working on it :) Will the black and blue grow in a hanging basket?

Anyway, what I can get fairly easily is foxglove, and I like the flower anyway, which prompted my question about whether or not the birds prefer them.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2009 at 3:55PM
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Propaganda Garden Design

Suspendrs Black and Blue is a really good Salvia but pretty much any Salvia will do. If you can't find Black & Blue maybe something like Hotlips is available. My hummers visit all my Salvias.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2009 at 4:25PM
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Black n'Blue will quickly outgrow a hanging basket I believe.
Lady in Red Salvia is a very effective hummer plant small enough for containers.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2009 at 6:21PM
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rita_h(PNW 8b)

Black & Blue is an upright salvia and will grow about 4 feet tall, not suitable for a hanging basket. I have it and different agastache growing in pots on the deck -- they're hummer magnets.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2009 at 12:01PM
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penny1947(z6 WNY)

Black & Blue is a fantastic salvia but would have to go in a very large pot. Seeds are not available from reliable sellers because Black & Blue is a hybrid and doesn't always come true from seed. I have tried it from seed for about 6 years now and I get about 20% at the most that will come true from seed. This year none. There are a few online plant retailers in Canada but not sure what plants that they sell. Have you tried Ebay. A lot of people have good luck getting hummer plants on Ebay. I have never tried foxglove myself but a friend in Wisconsin does gorw it in her hummer garden.


    Bookmark   May 12, 2009 at 2:37PM
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That explains why it's hard to find. I found some fellow on ebay selling the seeds and bought some, so we'll see how that works I guess...

Thanks for the replies everyone.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2009 at 3:42PM
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Suspenders, from my experience, hummingbirds do like foxglove.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2009 at 8:36PM
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zebz, I like hearing that :) Do you plant much of it?

    Bookmark   May 16, 2009 at 10:35PM
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Foxglove is probably a second-tier plant for hummingbirds in most gardens. The salvias mentioned in here are definitely first choice. But foxglove is such a nice plant anyway that it's very much worth growing. And hummers will use it. The only reason I don't plant foxglove is because it's poisonous to humans, and I have a 2 year old who like to put anything green in her mouth! =)

    Bookmark   May 18, 2009 at 10:53AM
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No, I planted one plant once about five years ago and ever since have had one or two that just appear each year.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2009 at 7:13PM
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terrene(5b MA)

I have a couple types of Foxglove growing in my hummingbird bed, including Digitalis purpurea and grandiflora. I love Foxglove and the hummers nectar at it sometimes, although it doesn't seem to be their favorite plants. The hummingbird's favorite 3 plants that I grow are

- Monarda didyma (red bee balm)
- Lobelia cardinalis
- Yvonne's Salvia - which is a tall cultivar of Salvia splendens

Also growing Ipomoea sloteri/Cardinal climber which is a very vigorous annual vine with red tubular flowers that will cover a trellis pretty quickly and the hummers love it.

Other plants I'm growing this year that the hummers like are Salvia coccinea - 'Lady in Red' and 'Coral nymph'. They will sometimes nectar from other assorted flowers, like Cleome, Phlox, Buddleia, Dicentra, Columbine, Heucheras, Hosta, etc.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2009 at 7:16PM
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