Hummingbird Garden | What To Feed Hummingbirds
Creating a good hummingbird garden takes more than just flowers for the hummingbirds. Beyond just adding plants that supply nectar packed flowers, some of the best hummingbird gardens build entire habitats for the birds taking into consideration far more than just their feeding habits. Adding a water source to any hummingbird garden will give the birds a place to bath and source of drinking water. The hummingbirds that visit your garden will want appreciate areas of shade a they offer cooler areas to build their nests and to perch in.
Hummingbird Homes | What They Nead
Hummingbirds nest in cool dry places most species build a cup-shaped nest no larger than half a walnut or a few centimeters in diameter. Trees like Willows or Eucalyptus provide sources for nesting materials, but the major find for the birds is silk strands from spiders. Using silk strand in their nests give the nest the ability to expand as the eggs grow.
What To Feed Hummingbirds
Humming birds are nectarivores, which mean they eat the sugar rich nectar from flowering plants. While hummingbirds are eating from these plants they are also cross pollinating the plants. Over millions of years plants and humming birds have evolved together and each benefits from their relationship. Nectar isn’t the only thing the hummingbirds eat, because nectar is fairly nutrient deficient they also dine on insects and spiders to get the protein they need for survival. It’s probably safe to say you’ve heard of hummingbird feeders, but do you know why they are generally red? Those plants that humming birds evolved with are called ornithophilous plants and they tend to have bright red, orange and pink flowers.
What To Feed Humming Birds in a Feeder
If you’re going to use hummingbird feeder to attract the birds you will want to fill your feeders with a mixture of 1 part white granulated sugar to 4 parts of water. This ratio mimics the ratio found in plants that hummingbirds feed on. I strongly recommend you against using honey as a substitute for the sugar in your nectar substitute as honey has a tendency to develop a fungus which if consumed is fatal to those hummingbirds you attracted. My last peace of advice with hummingbird feeders is to always keep them filled, let your garden neighbors know they where they can come to count on a free meal.
Where To Place Hummingbird Feeders
If you’re lucky enough to attract hummingbirds and have them make their home in your garden they will become completely dependent on your garden for its food source. The best practice is to combine natural plants and bird feeders for food sources. Their maybe times when your plants aren’t enough to keep the birds fed, sense they feed 3-5 times per hour. I suggest placing your hummingbird feeders 30 feet apart throughout your garden.
What Plants Do You Use To Attract And Keep Hummingbirds
Lucky for us gardeners there are so many plants that attract the birds you have a large palette of plants to choose from and still create a beautiful garden. I mentioned before that when targeting hummingbirds that you want to stick with bright red, orange, and pink colors. You also want to keep in mind that the birds will follow colors and nectar, not the scent given off by your flowers. When you’re choosing plants to attract hummingbirds try to select plants that are native species as some of the newer plants cultivated by growers have less nectar than the original plants they were derived from. I’ve included a list of some plants I recommend to attract hummingbirds, if you would like your own personalized list for your climate zone then plugin your email address and we’ll get that right out to you.
A List of Hummingbird Plants
- Bee Balm
- Red Columbine
- Delphinium and Hollyhock
- Bahama Firebush, Golden Bells (Hamelia cuprea)
- Butterfly Bush (invasive in some cases)
- Catawba Rhododendron
- Rose of Sharon
- Baja Fairy Duster, Powderpuff Calliandra californica
- Trumpet Vine and Japanese Honeysuckle (both, unfortunately, invasive)
- Cardinal Vine
- Lantana and Fuchsia
- Silk Tree (unfortunately, invasive)
Some additional resources…