Apr 29, 2014 | Featured Web Article

Gardening for Hummingbirds

Tubular flowers like those found on orange jewelweed (Impatiens capensis) are irresistable to ruby-throated hummingbirds.
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If you only have a little room in your garden, or want to simplify things and plant a few flowers that really appeal to hummingbirds, you can't go wrong with these:

  • Impatiens have lots of nectar in the little spurs out behind the petals. Stick to the single-flowered varieties; the double "rose-flowered" impatiens are pretty, but hummingbirds can’t get past all the petals to the nectar reservoir. Wild impatiens, or jewelweed (Impatiens capensis and I. Pallid) are irresistible to hummingbirds, and have the added advantage of blooming late in summer when migrants pour through.
  • Bee balm (Monarda spp.) is a highly prized resource with its tangy nectar. It's best planted in shades of red or purple (M. fistulosa); the pink and white varieties don't seem to be a favorite food of hummingbirds.


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  • I am excited to have my daughter’s tree this year, since my landlord has removed the lovely yew next to my patio, which was the only shelter for birds at my feeder.
    by pmalcpoet, Mon, 20 Dec 2021
  • Goldfinches will continue as long as Swiss chard is available. I'm watching one eating chard right now (mid-November in Vermont).
    by Brian Tremback, Sun, 14 Nov 2021
  • Birds are on the decline though sunflowers are rarely touched and for weeks hardly .eaten. I'll try a few sparing nuts on the table and a fat ball broken for jackdaws and tits but mealworms were a summer favourite being my go to choice
    by Paul Harabaras, Thu, 04 Nov 2021
  • I’ve been enjoying goldfinches eating coneflower/ echinacea seeds in my new pollinator garden! I will leave the plants out all winter for them if the seeds keep that long? Or should I deadhead and put them in a dry area? Im in CT and thought they migrated, but didn’t know they put in winter coats! What do they eat in winter without bird feeders?
    by Anne Sheffield, Sat, 04 Sep 2021
  • Hi Gary, I will pass your question along to Birdsquatch next time I see him. He knows infinitely more about nocturnal wildlife than I do. Where do you live? That's pretty important in figuring out the answer. But the thief could be raccoons, deer, or flying squirrels. Do you live in the woods? Are there trees near your feeder, or must the culprit climb a shepherd's hook or pole? Dawn Hewitt, Watching Backyard Birds
    by Dawn Hewitt, Mon, 30 Aug 2021