Frustration. No hummingbirds.

kr222(6b)June 1, 2010

I'm getting so frustrated. I've lived in this house for about 4 years and have only had 3 or 4 hummingbird sightings. Every year I plant more and more plants that should appeal to them. I always kept my feeder clean and full. Now instead of just one feeder, I have five. If you saw my blog, I even resorted to taking my tablecloth off of my kitchen table and draping it from the clothesline....then I placed it on my lawn when I went to hang out some laundry. This year alone I planted some Jacob Kline monarda and Lucifer crocomia to draw their attention. I have a yard full of daylilies, coral honeysuckle (this is its first time with a good amount of blooms since it is still young), agastache, red impatiens, red-flowering heuchera, and salvias to name a few.

I guess I just need to vent, but what else can I do to get them to notice my yard? I'm not sure if you need any additional information, but I'm in Reading, PA. I am strictly an organic gardener...no pesticides, herbicides, etc. Any suggestions would be appreciated? I'm starting to feel really discouraged.

Kim

Here is a link that might be useful: Kim's Garden

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jay733

I'm new to hummingbirds seeing my first sighting in August here in Texas. In my area houston people have seen them here since March, yet I haven't seen any since late October of last year. So far I have a box of rotting lime peals which is full of fruit flies, a feeder and a red petunia next to it. I just started small hummingbird garden last week. It has foxgloves, firecracker, candy corn vine, butterfly bush and cuphea, but it's still in the growing stage, especially the foxgloves, they don't bloom until the second year I think and mine are just green leaves right now. I think you just have to be patient they will come eventually.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2010 at 10:57AM
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hummersteve

Things will pick up for you as I noted you stated you have a coral honeysuckle, hummers here adore the vine. It will bloom in the first year but the second and third it really takes off. The only problem here with it is aphids. Ive been fighting them the last 3yrs so last fall I cut it way back removed every leaf on it had only 3 good stems on it no sign of life. I had to do this to be sure I got rid of all the aphid eggs. It has come back this spring blooming nicely hummers using it and no aphids as yet. Last year I was fighting aphids from the first of May onward. Im not sure if it was cutting the thing completely back or using the liquid seaweed weekly as I am this year on all my honeysuckles or a combo but no aphids anywhere.

I also have the lucifer crocosmia got it late last year but not much hummer use on it other than as a perch. Of the plants they do use when everything is in bloom are salvia black and blue, lady in red , subrotunda, agastache tutti frutti, A. rupestris A. cana heather queen, cuphea david verity and cuphea shumannii.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2010 at 4:22PM
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kr222(6b)

I hope you are right. I just get so jealous of reading about others sighting and seeing their beautiful pictures. I have two Magnifica coral honeysuckles in bloom, so maybe that'll do the trick. I recently ordered two Major Wheeler coral honeysuckles and Black & Blue salvia to throw into the mix as well. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that when the new Jacob Kline monarda and agastaches start blooming the activity will pick up...or should I say begin.

Thanks for the words of encouragement and tips. I'll take any suggestions that I can get.
Kim

Here is a link that might be useful: Kim's Garden

    Bookmark   June 2, 2010 at 8:56PM
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hummersteve

kr 222

Some plants in my book are a waste of time for hummer use, such as heuchera, day lilies, petunias, fuschia, maybe some people have but not me. Most of the plants I use are annuals but they work once they go into full bloom. Following is a list of plants I have in my main garden every year and they all work.

coral honeysuckle
salvia coccinea [lady in red, coral nymph, subrotunda]
salvia guaranitica-- black and blue , blue ensign
salvia greggii -- pink, white and red and purple
salvia microphylla hot lips
agastache-- rupestris
agastache-- tutti frutti
agastache-- heather queen
cuphea-- david verity, shumannii

Obviously these are not all annual as rupestris and heather queen come back each year regardless, tutti frutti is borderline. But the others are annual and they grow fast and by july are in full bloom and all are used by the hummers. Untill then my feeders get a workout. It just pains me to see plants mentioned by people that they have and they dont really work at least not for me.

Im also leaving a link to a short vid I observed this morning of a hummer using my coral honeysuckle. This plant is not fully bloomed as I mentioned before I cut it way back last fall no leaves and 3 1foot stems. I have been told this vine has a high sugar content which is important.

I also want to add theres nothing special where I live. I have a small yard in a subdivion with very few trees in the area. In fact you have to walk a mile to find a grove of trees but yet come july/august I get more than my share. It didnt happen overnight its a gradual process over the seven years Ive lived here. It takes work but its worth it. Good luck to you in your efforts

Here is a link that might be useful: hummer on coral honeysuckle

    Bookmark   June 4, 2010 at 12:00PM
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greenthumbzdude

kr 222,
Iam having the same problem and i dont live far from you at all. Iam from right outside of Allentown. I think it could be because we both live near major cities. Perhaps the hummers are afraid of the loud noises and lights.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2010 at 7:30PM
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brendainnj(6)

Wow, I'm glad I'm not the only one who's frustrated...my feeder has been untouched (well, except for ants!) for the last 2 weeks. I'm in NW NJ, not too far from Allentown. We moved here last July but didn't put the feeder up until this year. Although I don't have the finances to do landscaping yet, I've got one feeder out. I'm too cheap to buy more until I at least SEE a hummingbird! I've attracted them before (though never in great qtys.) but have had no success so far. Maybe they're hung up somewhere...? lol

    Bookmark   June 4, 2010 at 8:31PM
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shadyswing(z5)

I really feel your frustrations, Kim, as I'm in the same boat. Despite setting out the hummingbird welcome mats all I ever seem to get, after all these years, are fleeting visitors on their spring and fall migrations, so quite hummerless most of the summer.

I try to think of what I could do differently, or what the difference is that keeps any of these jewels from setting up their summer residence here and I get nowhere. My son would have them all summer long in his flowerless yard just a mile from me by simply hanging a feeder. My area is very...urban, so maybe it's the neighborhood. *sigh*

My attractors: Native columbine, Jacob Kline monarda, Upright fuchsia, Coral honeysuckle, Cardinal climber, Crocosmia, coral bell (in the past, black and blue salvia)

    Bookmark   June 4, 2010 at 10:55PM
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kr222(6b)

My Black and Blue salvia plant just arrived! I really hope it acclimates quickly and starts to take off. So many of you said that this might help me attract some hummers.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2010 at 1:38PM
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hawkeye_wx(z5 east-central IA)

Kim,

I have four black and blues blooming now, but they won't do any good until hummers decide to visit my yard. I only had four hummers stop by on their way north during the last month and none used any flowers. I did average about one new hummer per day last August-September so I'm hoping to at least get the same number this year. The juveniles coming south use the flowers much more.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2010 at 2:49PM
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harryshoe zone6 eastern Pennsylvania

Kim,

I am also in eastern PA and this year is odd for me. I have occasionally seen a male at my flowers, especially my Gold Flame Honeysuckle. He also visits agastache and heuchera.

In the past my yard was dominated by a single female who drove off any other hummer who wanted to try my large selection of hummer favorite flowers. She was always present and quite brazen. She often sized us up by hovering right in front of our faces.

Steve, here hummers have always visited heuchera regularly, but only the type with large red or pink flowers.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2010 at 9:56AM
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kr222(6b)

I was visiting my father-in-law just south of us here in PA. He typically has a very active hummingbird feeder this time of year. This year, nothing. No activity at all.

I did notice that the new Jacob Kline monarda I planted was just starting to bloom. Although there aren't a lot of flowers since the plant is so new, I'm hoping it'll be a beacon for the birds. I have some un-named monarda on the other side of the house as well that I hope will help. It looks like my honeysuckle is done for right now. It had a big flush and is not doing anything right now. My butterfly bushes are starting to open as well. I had one hummingbird last year that loved my impatiens and Royal Red butterfly bush. I'm hoping that little guy finds us again this season and brings some friends!
Kim

    Bookmark   June 14, 2010 at 10:58AM
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hummersteve

This year I planted two salvia microphylla hot lips and while sitting outside yesterday, twice noticed males going over both plants , obviously an instant hit. These plants are in a section not easily seen from a window so I need to be outside to really observe those. I wonder when everything is blooming strong if they will still the fav they seem to be now.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2010 at 11:44AM
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rsingley(z6a NJ)

I'm not too far away, also in NW NJ less than 2 miles off of Rt. 80 and I only recently have seen hummers. A little history... I grew up less than 5 miles from here and never saw a hummer in my childhood home or this home in about 35 years. It wasn't until I planted Cardinal Flower, Scarlett Cypress Vine and Crocosmia that I had the tiny visitors. All 3 bloom most profusely in late July and August and this is when they feed heaviest in preparation for their long flight South. Just this year they have shown up in June to enjoy the typical red Monarda. For the first time I have seen them on the hanging Fuschia plant as well.

I would say, create several patches of Cardinal Flower, Crocosmia and Monarda, a trellis of Scarlett Cyprus Vine and be patient. I'm pretty certain you'll have them next August if the Cardinal Flowers are in bloom.

Good luck

    Bookmark   June 22, 2010 at 7:33AM
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