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May 29, 2012

Hummingbird favorites – Plants hummingbirds love

-by Debra Anchors

Hummingbirds see colors the same as we do, but they have no sense of smell.  They’re drawn to bright colors like red, hot pink, fire orange, and gold, but they explore other colors of flowers, too. Hummingbirds visit both large and small flowers; wherever there’s nectar.

Gloriosa lily (Gloriosa superba)
Along with hibiscus, one of the hummingbird’s favorite large flowers is Gloriosa lily (Gloriosa superba).  This is a vine with tendrils at the tips of its leaves; it can climb to a height of six to eight feet.  Flowering lasts for a month or more in midsummer.  Gloriosa lily isn’t hardy, but it’s easy to keep it from year to year, because it forms tubers.  Dig them up in the fall, keep them cool and dry all winter, and replant them in the spring.





Crocosmia 'Lucifer' (Crocosmia cvs.)
‘Lucifer’, with bright red flowers, is one of the most popular cultivars of Crocosmia or montbretia (Crocosmia cvs.).  Other cultivars have orange, gold, or bicolored flowers.  All are showy and easy to grow from corms that you can buy and plant in the spring.  Once established, crocosmias spread quickly and form impressive clumps or patches with armloads of flower spikes and distinctive sword-shaped leaves.  They’re hardy across the southern United States and thrive in average soil.




Cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis)
Cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis) is a hardy wildflower native to wet, even swampy sites.  It needs partial shade, rich soil, and extra watering in the garden, but under those conditions it’s quite tolerant of heat and blooms for a month or so in late summer.  Along with the wild type, there are some incredible hybrid cardinal flowers, with very dramatic spikes of red, blue, or purple flowers.  Hummingbirds love them all.


You can always make your own hummingbird nectar; find a recipe here.

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-Debra

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2 comments:

  1. Your photos of your flowers are awesome!

    ReplyDelete
  2. This Plant not hummingbirds love but also love everyone. Your garden is so nice.
    Thank you.

    ReplyDelete