How to Attract Hummingbirds
A visit from a hummingbird to your garden is a welcome event. Fortunately, there are easy steps you can take to attract hummingbirds to your backyard. Give hummingbirds what they need and you'll be rewarded with multiple visits from these colorful, tiny jewels of the garden.
Fifteen different hummingbird species live in the United States at least part of the year. Hummingbirds can be found year-round along the West Coast and in the southern states. In central and northern areas of the United States, hummingbirds visit from spring to fall, when they migrate up from the south.
Know What Attracts Hummingbirds
Flowers that are rich in nectar, particularly red, orange and pink flowers, attract hummingbirds. Tubular (trumpet-shaped) flowers are a particular favorite because hummingbirds insert their long beak inside to collect the nectar. Small insects are also part of the hummingbird's diet.
Hummingbirds often stop to refresh themselves at a water source. They particularly enjoy "moving" water from a source such as a fountain or sprinkler.
Trees and large shrubs provide areas where hummingbirds can perch up high and find shelter. They also serve as places for hummingbirds to sleep.
Female hummingbirds look for large shrubs in which to build their tiny nests.
Add the Right Plants to Your Garden
To attract hummingbirds to your garden, add red, orange or pink flowering plants with trumpet-shaped flowers, such as honeysuckle, salvia, trumpet creeper, monarda, penstemon or foxglove. Because hummingbirds are territorial, install plants in groups of five to seven and locate them out of sight of each other. This will help attract more then one hummingbird to your garden. If your space is limited, use containers for planting instead.
Hummingbird feeders will also attract hummingbirds. Most hummingbird feeders consist of a clear plastic top filled with a sugar and water mixture that is inserted into a red base with multiple feeding tubes. To make your own "nectar," mix ¼ cup of granulated sugar with 1 cup of boiling water and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Fill your feeder once the mixture has cooled. It's important to clean your feeder thoroughly each time you refill it to kill any bacteria.
Providing a water source for hummingbirds is relatively easy because they enjoy lawn sprinklers, fountains and misters, which you may already have. In fact, it isn't unusual to see a hummingbird taking a shower underneath sprinklers. You can create your own water source by putting out a plant saucer and allowing water to drip into it from a hose or drip emitter.
If you follow these easy tips, your garden will soon be overrun with brightly colored hummingbirds.