07 Apr 2013

Want to make your yard a hummingbird haven?  Here are some tips on how to use hummingbird feeders and nectar rich plants to attract hummingbirds.

Columbine

  • Keep feeders clean and filled with fresh nectar. Change the nectar at least every 3-4 days, more during extended heat.  Clean the feeder once a week with a mixture of one part white vinegar and 4 parts water.  Rinse it well with warm water before adding fresh nectar.  Any black mold which forms inside the feeder must be removed using a bottle brush.  If you are unable to reach the mold with a brush, add sand or raw rice to the cleaning water and shake the container to loosen the mold.  If possible, hang the feeder in a shady spot, where the nectar will remain cooler and stay fresher.
  • To make feeding nectar, mix 1 part granulated sugar with 4 parts water.  Heat the mixture to dissolve the sugar and cool completely.  No artificial coloring is needed.  The use of honey as a sweetener is not recommended.  Nectar can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator.
  • If ants have discovered your feeder, hang an ant moat or guard atop the feeder and keep it filled with water. Since the ants won’t cross the water, it’s a sure fire method to keep them out of the feeder!
  • Hang feeders in the same place every year.  Hummingbirds have great memories and will return each season expecting to find THEIR feeder in the same spot as before!
  • Fill and hang feeders out at least 2 weeks before the expected arrival of the hummingbirds in the spring (usually mid- April) and keep them filled until 2 weeks after you’ve observed the last feeding hummingbird in the fall. (Don’t worry, they know when it’s time to move on and you’ll be helping them by providing the energy they need to migrate.)
  • Hang feeders near a perching spot such as tree branches or an arbor.  Hummingbirds spend up to 80% of their time resting. They are very territorial and like to keep an eye on the food source while they are resting!
  • If hummingbirds are competing for the same feeder, add another and locate it at least 15 ft. away from, or, out of sight of, the first feeder.
  • Provide cover for the hummingbirds.  They love to hide and nest in evergreen trees or shrubs.
  • Provide moving water such as a mister, fountain, or sprinkler, especially during hot, dry weather.
  • Avoid excessive use of pesticides which might harm the hummingbirds.
  • Surround your patio with hanging baskets, window boxes, and large containers planted with a mixture of nectar rich flowers.
  • Add flowering trees, shrubs and perennials to your landscaping to provide as many sources of natural nectar as possible.
  • A common myth is that hummingbirds only feed on the nectar of red flowers.  Although they are attracted and drawn to red, their appetite is not limited to the color red. Refer to the list below for suggested plants to attract hummingbirds.
ANNUALS
Cleome
Cuphea (Batface, Mouse Ears, Cigar Plant, Firecracker plant)
Dianthus
Fuchsia
Geranium
Hibiscus
Impatiens
Lantana
Nicotiana (Flowering Tobacco)
Penta
Petunia
Salvia
Scaevola
Torenia
Verbena
Zinnia

PERENNIALS
Black Eyed Susan Daisy (Rudbeckia)
Catmint (Nepeta)
Columbine (Aquilegia)
Coneflower (Echinacea)
Coral Bells (Heuchera)
Bee Balm (Monarda)
Bleeding Heart (Dicentra)
Butterfly Bush (Buddleia)
Butterfly Weed (Asclepias)
Dianthus
Daylily (Hemerocallis)
Gaillardia daisy
Garden Phlox (Phlox paniculata)
Hibiscus
Hollyhocks (Alcea)
Honeysuckle (Lonicera)
Hosta
Iris
Lily, Asiatic & Oriental (Lilium)
Oriental Poppy (Papaver)
Penstemon
Plumbago (Ceratostigma)
Salvia
Trumpet Vine (Campsis)
Veronica

TREES AND SHRUBS
Azalea(Rhododendron)
Crabapple (Malus)
Hibiscus (Althea, Rose of Sharon)
Redbud (Cercus)
Weigela
Clethra
Lilac (Syringa)

 

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