How to Attract Hummingbirds with Flowers and Water Features


How to attract hummingbirds to your Texas landscape: hummingbird gardening!

We love watching hummingbirds at our home in Texas, and wherever our travels take us across the country. We also enjoy hummingbird gardening, and designing our landscape to provide food and shelter for a variety of hummingbirds.

The Needs of the Hummingbird

Hummingbirds, like other birds and other animals, need food, water, and shelter, the basic necessities of life.

Hummingbird Shelter

Food and water seem obvious requirements, but shelter and protection are also important to attracting hummingbirds. The dense foliage of trees provides not only protection but also a source of insects and the protein they provide. Trees and large shrubs provide a resting place between meals at the feeder or flowers.

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Hummingbird Food in Nature

The hummingbird's diet consists of nectar from flowers (red is the favorite color), small insects such as aphids and spiders, and sometimes even pollen and sap.

Hummingbirds feed in many small meals, consuming small invertebrates and up to twelve times their own body weight in nectar each day.

Many plant species rely on hummingbirds for pollination and provide nectar and tiny insects in exchange. Hummingbirds staunchly and aggressively defend a feeding area, or feeder, even when not feeding.

Water Features

Most birds in the wild appreciate a bird bath, either for drinking water or for bathing. Hummingbirds enjoy a "cool dip in the pool" on a warm morning or hot afternoon.

They enjoy shallow water, preferably with movement, like a small waterfall or gently flowing water. Many different brands, models and sizes of water features are available in the marketplace.

Some hummingbird fans like the Essential Garden red pot fountain which features water spilling over the top and flowing down among LED lights. The fountain can be used indoors or outdoors, and includes a 6' cord for access to an electrical outlet. We don't own one, but many of our readers say that their hummingbirds love it! You can purchase the red Essential Garden pot fountain at Amazon or other retail outlets, including K-Mart. Prices vary so be sure to shop around.

Others use a small solar-powered pump to convert a standard birdbath to one with movement and sound. No wires! Flexible ... move it around your yard.

Landscape and Flower Selections That Work Well

And a wonderful by-product of gardening for hummingbirds: Butterflies!
If you provide gardens for hummingbirds, you likely will also have butterflies ... click to visit ButterfliesAtHome.com for species, photographs and more!

Favorite flowers of hummingbirds are often red in color, and tubular in shape, so we include many plants with these features.

We plant flowers, shrubs and trees that help the hummingbirds acquire the nectar and food they need to thrive. Our landscape features a number of different ecological environments. It is in the country, and backs up to hundreds of acres of forest, with nearby fields and pastures.

We often have over 40 Ruby-Throated hummingbirds on our feeders at one time during the fall migration southward through Texas. At times we are also blessed with several brightly colored Baltimore Orioles on our feeders!

Butterfly Bush

We currently have an assortment of butterfly bushes planted, and all are favorites of the butterflies as well as hummingbirds.

Purple Butterfly Bush up close
A hummingbird favorite in the landscape: Butterfly Bush

Butterfly bushes (Buddleia davidii) usually bloom from mid-July through frost, producing long 4-5 inch flower spikes which look and smell like miniature lilacs.

Buddleias produce a honey-scented fragrance that lures butterflies to its blooms, and then once there, they find the flowers super-rich in nectar.

We utilize both full-size and dwarf varieties, in white, purple and reddish colors. Full-size species can grow large in just one season in a mild climate, perhaps 6 feet high and 6 feet in diameter.

Make sure they are planted in well-drained soil, and resist the temptation to overwater them.

The major drawback to butterfly bushes is that they never drop their dead blooms. We cut the dead blooms periodically, and also trim the bushes in areas where space is a limitation. They are often frost proof to about 25 degrees; below that, they will freeze to the ground, and in milder climates spout and grow from their base the following spring.

 

Lantana

Orange and Gold Lantana
Easy to grow, heat tolerate: Lantana

We love lantana, as evidenced by the fact that we have over 45 plants growing now, consisting of several varieties, from yellow to white to red to orange.

Lantanas are perennials in much of the South, and will flower in full sun or light shade, preferably in well-drained soil. As semi-desert natives, they bloom best when not overfed or over watered.

They are winter-tolerate in much of the South, and even in areas where they freeze to near ground-level, they readily sprout again in the early days of spring.

Other Favorites of Hummingbirds

Batface Cuphea
Another popular hummingbird plant: Batface Cuphea

In addition to Lantana and Butterfly Bush, our landscape often includes Zinnias, Pentas, Milkweed, Salvia, Batface Cuphea, Hot Lips, Fire Bush, Nasturtiums, Coreopsis, and other hummingbird-friendly plants, annuals and perennials.

But we also plant other blooms that, while they may not be hummingbird favorites, provide additional color in the landscape: Gladiolas, Geraniums, Hydrangeas, Impatiens, Verbena and roses. All deliver bright colors, and hummingbirds love color!

Other landing and feeding spots include (depending on the season) dozens of Azaleas, Pansies, Impatiens, Knockout Roses, Creeping Phlox, Daffodils, Hydrangeas, Portulaca and Gladiolas.

A Final Ingredient: The Hummingbird Feeder

Planting the right flowers is an important element in establishing the right environment for attracting hummingbirds.

But you need another key attractant: the hummingbird feeder! As the Texas migration peaks here in late August and early September, the hummingbirds start to share feeders, an action unheard of during the summer when defending a feeder is the norm. As sharing continues, we will see 6-8-10 hummingbirds on a feeder at a time.

Read more about hummingbird feeders on this website

Most Popular Hummingbird Feeders in 2017

 

Hummingbird Garden Photographs

Shown below are a few photos of features of an effective butterfly garden, including shelter, a variety of flowers and hummingbird feeders!

Hummingbird garden with low-hanging feeder.

This is a great solution if you have no pets or raccoons! Put the feeders at eye-level for the enjoyment of the hummingbirds, and you!

Hummingbird feeder nestled in a Butterfly Bush ... the hummers love it!
Hummingbird feeder nestled in a Butterfly Bush ... the hummers love it! Hummingbird feeder nestled in a Butterfly Bush ... the hummers love it!


Photos of Hummingbird Garden Plants

Shown below are photos of several of the flowers that are popular and easy to grow in home gardens ... all favorites of hummingbirds!

Zinnia

Pink Zinnia

Orange Marigold

Orange Marigold

Purple Butterfly Bush

Purple Buttefly Bush

Purple Butterfly Bush up close

Purple Butterfly Bush up close

Purple Butterfly Bush with a Hummingbird Moth

Purple Butterfly Bush with a Hummingbird Moth

White Butterfly Bush

White Butterfly Bush

Batface Cuphea

Batface Cuphea

Hot Lips Salvia

Hot Lips Salvia

Orange and Gold Lantana

Orange and Gold Lantana

White Lantana

White Lantana

White Pentas

White Pentas

Pink Pentas about to bloom

Pink Pentas about to bloom

Fire Bush.
Produces clusters of tubular, orange-red flowers. Attracts hummingbirds, and butterflies. Hardy to 20-30 degrees.

Fire Bush

Red Hibiscus

Red Hibiscus


Other Plants for the Landscape to Help Attract Hummingbirds

Other plants and flowers might not be hummingbird favorites, but we use these plants for additional color in the landscape ... hummers love color, and are attracted to it! And the hummingbirds try all kinds of flowers!

Deep Orange Day Lily

Deep Orange Day Lily

Orange Bougainvillea

Orange Bouganveila

Purple Verbena

Purple Verbena

Mexican Heather

Mexican Heather

Ornamental Peppers

Ornamental Peppers

White Gladiolas

White Gladiolas

White Periwinkle

White Periwinkle

Red Geraniums

Red Geraniums

Pink Hydrangea

Pink Hydrangea

 

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