Best shrub for hummingbirds?

stevec_2007(6)October 26, 2009

I need to create a hedge about 80 feet long and am looking for something that will appeal to hummingbirds. I live way out in the country so the hedge row doesn't have to be overly attractive. I would also prefer something that's pretty low maintenance. The area will get full sun for most of the day. Any ideas?

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Steve now that is a question. Years ago I planted the old type of crept myrtle on either side of my house along with English dogwoods. About 300 feet on either side. I live in the country and wanted to seperated my yard from the fields. Later I I started planting my hummingbird and butterfly friendly plants in front of the dogwoods and myrtles. What a haven for them and mess for me. I got all this other stuff coming up there now. Should have know that would happen. It is low maintance for me because I just cut back all the dead stuff during the winter and mow in the summer. Also has full sun all day long.

I also started Evening Primsoses, a old wild flower, along one side of the house. Now in the spring for weeks I have a blanket of those beautiful pink flowers blooming along with the English dogwoods. These are just a good memory from my childhood.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2009 at 10:17AM
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These pictures will show you the place I created for the birds and butterflies. It gets to looking real bad but the inhabitants don't seem to mind.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2009 at 10:33AM
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Mimidi - I love your landscaping! I live way out in the country and am also trying to create more wild looking areas around my house. Unfortunately, the dogwoods are too tall and the primrose is too short for my needs. I'm looking for something in the 3 to 4' range that would create a good hedge and attract hummingbirds.

Do you get hummers at your myrtle? I have one, but have only seen bees using it. (I did have a Carolina Wren nest in it.)

    Bookmark   October 27, 2009 at 11:12AM
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The hummingbirds love the myrtle to hide in. The limbs are just the right size for them. They stay in the them entire season and plan attacks on they fellow hummingbirds. What fun to watch and hear. I have never paid attention the feeding at the myrtles

I have all sorts of plants planted here for the hummingbirds and butterflies for the summer. Salvias, lantanas, Mexican bush sage, Mexican sunflower, roses, Indian pinks, iris, zinnias, day lilies, and Mexican petunia to name a few. These all grow where the primoses are blooming. Between now and next February I will cut back what needs cutting back and then mow the rest. I have a crop of oak trees coming up among all this mess. Since I don't have trees in my yards this makes a wonderful place for my little friends. I imagine when one of my children or grandchildren get this house and property a bulldozier will be brought in and everything will be cleaned out.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2009 at 12:38PM
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Mimidi, I love your landscape too, and those primroses brought back alot of memories for me as well. I haven't seen them in years. They look lovely in your yard...thanks for sharing the pics.


    Bookmark   October 27, 2009 at 12:49PM
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Thank you Donna. I remember them growing in the pasture next to my grandparents home when I was a little girl. I found some growing wild a few years ago and dug some and planted them. I am letting them just grow as they please.

Not a hummingbird flower for sure.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2009 at 12:56PM
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these are beautiful pics! My cape honeysuckle is huge and also attracts many hummingbirds. It's blooming now here in Los Angeles

    Bookmark   October 27, 2009 at 3:55PM
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I did my best to kill my Cape honeysuckle but it is still trying to live. I plan to fertilize it well this winter. In the past it has bloomed late in the season for me but I hope for better results next year.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2009 at 4:06PM
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I have a long hedge of Abelia grandiflora. I planted it to keep my son's soccer ball from heading over my sloped beds...

It's in about the size range you want, currently loaded with light pink flowers that my hummingbirds love, and nice fall foliage color.

see link; there's even a video.

Here is a link that might be useful: Abelia shrub

    Bookmark   October 27, 2009 at 6:36PM
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Voodoobrew - That looks perfect! I've been researching this issue for a week and this is the very first time I've even heard of this plant. I wonder why it isn't getting more publicity?

    Bookmark   October 28, 2009 at 11:20AM
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A nursery also suggested Weigela florida 'French Lace'. Does anyone have experience with this? Do the hummers like it?

    Bookmark   October 28, 2009 at 7:33PM
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My hummingbirds are always in my buttefly bush. A hedge of that, although not native would work fine. Plus, it attracts butterflies and moths galore.


    Bookmark   October 28, 2009 at 7:40PM
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mary_littlerockar(8a-7b mid Arkansas)

It looks like the Abelia has a much longer blooming season than the Weigela's. Choose the variety well and you'll enjoy a nice fragrance, too.


    Bookmark   October 29, 2009 at 1:45PM
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I have a hedge line about 200' feet to block out my neighbors. It's a mix of several bushes. Rhodos, Azalea,
Honey Suckle, Trumpet vine, Rose of Sharon, plus a Mimosa tree and several Lilac bushes. They nest in the Lilacs. I think a mix is the best way to go. A Crepe Myrtle is close by and their favorite to hang in to guard the feeders. They guard the back feeders in the Butterfly bush. Also a favorite. Just some ideas, though I know some are taller than you prefer.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2009 at 10:03PM
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penny1947(z6 WNY)

Another shrub that gets little attention is bottlebrush buckeye. It blooms later in the season but is used quite a bit during the southward migration. As bdriver stated a mix may be the best way to go because it would maximize your flowering time....early spring to late summer.

Most shrubs can be pruned to the size you want and as long as they are pruned at the appropriate time, it wouldn't affect the next years blooms.

Weigelias can get to at least 6ft. tall and quite rangy but can be kept shorter and more compact.

Spring blooming plants need to be pruned immediately after they are done blooming so as not to sacrifice the next year's blooms.


    Bookmark   October 30, 2009 at 5:56AM
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perennialfan273(zone 5)

What about fuschia?? They'll go nuts over it!! A good hardy species for you would be fuchsia magellanica. It's hardy to at least zone 6, so you should be fine.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2009 at 5:08PM
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Thanks to all of you for your great suggestions. I think I'm going to go with a mixture of 5 or 6 different shrubs. Next spring, when I get it all going, I'll post pictures.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2009 at 8:04PM
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Steve, I have one more to add to my Abelia suggestion:

Teucrium fruticans

I have these shrubs planted alongside the Abelia row, and today I watched my male Anna's hummer (named Sparky... he's very aggressive and doesn't share well, LOL) hit the flowers, even though I have TONS of salvias still in bloom. The foliage is silver/ grey, so it can be a very nice addition to the garden.

btw, the Abelia is showing beautiful fall color now [and still blooming], something that we're not exactly famous for in California. :)

    Bookmark   November 19, 2009 at 9:55PM
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I'm on a vitex push...check it out and you'll love it. =)

    Bookmark   November 23, 2009 at 11:37PM
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hemnancy(z8 PNW)

Perhaps throw in some red-flowering honeysuckles?

Here is a link that might be useful: Lonicera

    Bookmark   December 4, 2009 at 11:10PM
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I came across a small plant today that is supposed to attract the hummingbirds. It is called Grevillea 'Coastal Gem'. It grows only about 1 ft. tall but spreads about 5 ft. wide. Does anyone have this plant? It is evergreen and blooms off and on year around. I want to bring in more plants for the hummingbirds. We had an early frost and it killed most of the flowers in my garden last month. Hopefully, this plant will tolerate frost and keep producing flowers for the hummers throughout the winter months.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2010 at 11:04PM
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YES, Kal, I have that plant! It has been in full bloom now for months (wasn't affected by the frost at all)... and is a good source of winter food for my hummers. Another Australian winter bloomer that I bought for the same purpose, Correa, has been far less floriferous.

I believe you also responded to my post over on the salvia forum... so you saw my lists there of winter bloomers. Right now though, I must say, the biggest feeder seems to be the shrub I mentioned a few posts up: the Teucrium fruticans.

The hummer fights in my garden have become pretty fierce, and I don't have feeders up! I guess my research on CA winter bloomers paid off. :)

    Bookmark   January 29, 2010 at 12:10AM
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Hi voodoobrew,

I am so glad to hear that you have a Grevillea 'Coastal Gem'. How big is yours? I have not bought it yet but I will tomorrow. I did a little research online on Teucrium fruticans. Unless there is a variety that is no taller than 3', I don't think I can accommodate them. But I can find room for a Correa. It is a smaller shrub. I am at the stage where I am only growing plants that don't need a lot of pruning and the ones that are 3' or less are ideal. The camellias are the exceptions because I plan to grow them as trees. I need them for the hummingbirds in the winter as well as for me. I like to see flowers year round in my backyard and watching the hummingbirds is one of my favorite pastime. If you have other short hummingbird plants that you are growing, please share them with us. I would love to see what more I can do for these pretty little birds. Thanks.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2010 at 12:31AM
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There is a low growing type of bottlebrush plant, I don't know the name right now, I just wonder if it is too low for the Hummer's to feed on. No care at all, I wonder if it will grow in the Eastern States, it doesn't seem to mind water and needs fast draining soil, tho I have seen it growing in clay soil as well, but will need good sun. I'll try to get the name for this group.
How in the world do you band a Hummingbird? Sorry I am new to this form, Norma Lewis and thank you for accepting me. Norma

    Bookmark   February 2, 2010 at 2:57AM
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Grevillea victoria is the best large shrub I have found so far.
It's the only grevillea I have so far, am trying more from seed.
Blooms all winter and evergreen in my area.
My hummingbirds also like honeysuckle and monarda
and jasmine.
I have lots of flowers and shrubs for them, most of the shrubs are small and so I don't know how well they are liked yet.
The one trumpet vine that is large enough to bloom is totally not interesting to them, the flowers are always full of ants, so they are sugary, I like them.
They love salvias and penstemons but most don't survive winter here.
mimulus cardinalis and zauschneria are good but hardiness is iffy.
They love justicia which I keep indoors in winter.
It's out on the balcony now, mild here this winter except for just a few days in December, was very cold, lots of broken pipes for people unprepared and lots of semi hardy plant losses.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2010 at 2:32AM
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Do you have your feeders out. Isnt about time for your first arrival/sighting.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2010 at 1:27PM
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Steve I sure do, but then again I keep some out all year

    Bookmark   March 1, 2010 at 3:24PM
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Stevec, Rose of Sharon has already been mentioned above and it gets my vote. Hummingbirds love it! It grows 8-10 feet tall with a 5-6 ft. spread. In the summer, it's always loaded with beautiful blooms and is low maintenance.

Mimidi, I love what you've done with the place. It's just beautiful! (Sure wish I had all of that room.)


    Bookmark   March 2, 2010 at 2:35PM
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Steve, not sure if you've come across this link before but it's a pretty nice list :-) Others I'd include:

witch hazel (Hamamelis species - if you have early hummers)
Mahonia (ditto for early hummers)
hardy fuchsia
chaste tree (Vitex agnus-castus)
Itea virginica

    Bookmark   March 4, 2010 at 12:33PM
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Gardengal48 - No I had not come across that link before. That's perfect - thank you.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2010 at 9:21PM
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chrsvic(z6 OH)

Weigela seems to be one of the best, at least of what i tried to grow. It puts out a big flush of blooms in late spring, and then sometimes a few more blooms later in the summer. I would look at the bloom times for shrubs that attract hummingbirds, and plant a variety so they always have something to snack on. Red buckeye is supposed to be one of the earliest, i planted one of those last fall, hopefully that blooms in late april/early may when the birds return here.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2010 at 2:09PM
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I read about blue flowers that attract hummingbirds. See:

    Bookmark   March 26, 2010 at 8:13AM
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Having a very small yard I have often thought of having a nice shrub that would flower and be attractive to hummers but have never done it. If anyone has any good ideas for a single shrub or two that would fit the bill let me know.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2010 at 8:54AM
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Steve, butterfly bushes are great, and some of the new hybrids, like "Ellen's Blue", Attraction, Bicolor, would work great!

I really want an Abelia, too. I like both the BB and Abelia because they bloom for a long season, unlike some shrubs that bloom for a shorter time.


    Bookmark   March 26, 2010 at 6:58PM
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mary_littlerockar(8a-7b mid Arkansas)


I'm with you on the Abelila. I'm going to try one this year, too.


    Bookmark   March 27, 2010 at 11:24AM
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Susan and Mary

Thanks for your opinions , I will look these up online and see what they look like.


    Bookmark   March 27, 2010 at 1:07PM
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Turks Cap, Agastache and Mystic Spires Blue Salvia and Salvia Greggii are perrinial favorites for my area. Tecoma Stans are also a very big hit for me but they are for zone 9-10 to be a Perrinial. I buy one every year and they are worth the cost.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2010 at 11:36AM
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susan82(So. CA)

-Tecomaria Capensis
-Lonicera Sempervirens 'Magnifica'

all attract hummers in my yard.


    Bookmark   March 30, 2010 at 3:05PM
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lonicera sempervirens coral honeysuckle which is a vine but could be called a shrub is a hot draw here.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2010 at 3:11PM
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I second the honeysuckle vine. We have "dropmore Scarlet". They love that, morning glories, perennial salvia, and my clematis.

I love Weigelas, but to forwarn you it took mine three years to establish and really give me blooms. By the third year, it was stunning though, you just have to be patient. Beautiful.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2010 at 9:02PM
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I'm not a big shrub person, but did notice a hummer going crazy on my neighbors Rose of Sharon. It's huge, and a major nuisance for me (I'm always pulling out hundreds of seedlings every year), but since I saw the hummer loving it, I had relaxed my anger a bit. Plus, I threw down some Orange Noah morning glory seeds on my fence line, so that reseeds like mad and grows up the ROS as well. It definitely keeps the hummer happy.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2010 at 4:41PM
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I guess I bit the bullet I must be getting shrub fever. Ive been looking at the weigelas and fell in love with the wine and roses got 1 of those and two of the red prince. I really liked the flowers on the wine and roses. I was really looking to have something in my yard that would get big and have early flowers plus offer a place to rest as I had to remove my centerized rotted out elm tree.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2010 at 10:38PM
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Well that would certainly be a bummer on the weigelas if it took 3yrs before it bloomed much. I talked to the person in charge over the outside shrubs and she as much as guaranteed they would bloom this year[referring to red prince]. If they dont then it will be a waiting game and I will just have big shrubs and that is what I was looking for.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2010 at 9:54AM
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