Saturday, September 8, 2018

In the Garden -- Summer-blooming Hummingbird Magnets


Ruth de Jauregui

Passionflower
Summertime is prime time for many flowering plants. The hummingbirds, bees and butterflies flock to the blossoms and brighten the garden with their antics. Plant a variety of flowers that span the warm months of summer, from June to September. Nearly any profusely blooming plant will attract hummers; here are a few favorites that attract the tiny birds to the garden.

Salvia - Photo credit: Samalah / Morguefile.com 
The salvias are a wide group, with plants that range from ground covers to large shrubs. There's a Salvia for nearly every climate, soil type and sun exposure. The flowers range from white to red to blue to dark purple. In addition, salvias are deer resistant (though nothing is completely resistant to a hungry deer in winter). While local venders have common Salvia varieties, online resources include Flowers By The Sea, a small nursery in Elk, California. The website allows gardeners to search for salvias by color, season, zone and has a plethora of information about salvias and companion plants. 

A courtyard or small garden may be limited in space, but there's nearly always room for a vine to clamber over a wall or fence. Passionflowers produce a multitude of flowers through the summer, which develop into orange fruits in late summer and fall. Native to South and Central America and Mexico, passionflowers are hardy in USDA zones 8 through 10. In colder climates, grow passionflowers as annuals or in containers that can be moved indoors. Hummingbirds love the ornate flowers of the passionflower and with 30-foot vines, the plant can keep the tiny birds working the flowers all day through the summer.

Petunia - Photo credit: remoran / Morguefile.com
Hummingbird magnets suitable for hanging baskets include fuchsias, lipstick plant, nasturtiums, petunias and plumbago. The bright colors and easily accessible blossoms attract hummers. Add a basket of four-o'clocks for evening antics while you enjoy a beverage on the patio after a hard day at work.

Next time In the Garden, I'll talk about fall flowers and ways to supplement your local hummingbird's diet through the cold winter months. If you missed the Spring-flowering Humminbird Magnets post, you can find it here.

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