Perhaps more than any other Proven Winners plant, Vermillionaire Cuphea, commonly known as firecracker plant, is intensely attractive to hummingbirds. The image you see here isn’t edited – hummingbirds just couldn’t leave Vermillionaire alone when we were photographing it!
This plant’s tubular, red-orange flowers are the ideal shape and color for attracting hummingbirds, plus their great abundance allows the birds to make a whole meal out of one plant. The blooms keep right on coming from spring to fall without deadheading, lining the 18-28” tall stems. This is a sun loving, heat and drought tolerant plant that will survive winters in zones 8 and warmer. It is grown as an annual in colder climates.
You might be surprised to see canna lilies on the list of plants that hummingbirds prefer, but if you look closer at their attributes, you’ll know why. First, their large, showy blooms are produced all summer in bright shades of red, pink, salmon, orange and yellow—colors that hummingbirds can easily spot from a distance. Their blossoms have deep throats filled with nectar. Next, canna’s strong stems and thick, sturdy foliage provides a proper perch when the birds need a rest. Lastly, they are perennial in zones 8 and warmer. Hummingbirds tend to return each year to visit their favorite food sources, including cannas.
Canna lilies can be grown in the landscape or large containers in full sun to part sun. The Toucan series stays a bit shorter, topping out at four feet, making them easier to grow in containers without getting too top heavy. They thrive in heat and humidity with ample moisture.
Here’s a plant you’ll want to plant close to your patio or window so you can enjoy the hummingbird parade that will inevitably ensue. The large, deep throated flowers of Rockin’ salvias are irresistible to hummingbirds, but butterflies and bees are also frequent visitors. These salvias function as natural hummingbird feeders, so skip mixing up your own sugar water and let the plants do the work. They’ll bloom all the way into fall without deadheading.
Rockin’ salvia grows best in full sun to light shade and only needs average soil to thrive. Look for the large-flowered Rockin’® Deep Purple, Blue Suede Shoes™ and Fuchsia at your local garden centers each spring to use as annuals in most zones, though gardeners in zones 8 and warmer may find they survive the winter.
Did you know that hummingbirds gather twice their weight in nectar every single day? It takes a whole lot of flowers to produce that much food, which makes prolific bloomers like Superbells calibrachoa incredibly useful for hummingbirds. A full pot of Superbells Pomegranate Punch, like you see here, is like an all-you-can-eat buffet. Try growing any of the red, orange, deep pink or yellow varieties of Superbells in hanging baskets so hummingbirds can’t miss them as they are whizzing through your garden at top speed.
Calibrachoa blooms best in full sun but can also handle light shade. Let the soil dry down a bit between each watering and feed them once per week to keep them blooming strong from spring into fall.
You might like to grow lantana for its fruity fragrance, but hummingbirds won’t necessarily notice that trait. They use their sense of smell not to find food but to avoid danger by detecting the scent of predators near or on the flowers from which they are feeding.
Like all the flowers on this list, Luscious lantana blooms in hummingbirds’ favorite shades of red, pink, orange and yellow. Each packed cluster contains numerous tiny flowers with tubular throats, and a hummingbird’s quick tongue action can easily tap each one for nectar. Plant lantana in full sun and watch them bloom like crazy through the heat of summer in containers and landscapes.
By Joe Raboine, Director of Residential Hardscapes,
Photographs courtesy of Belgard
When designing outdoor spaces, most homeowners historically leaned towards traditional designs. But as outdoor living becomes a more integral part of daily life design concepts have changed. Belgrade has an interesting article that details some of the modern design ideas. Click here for an interesting article.
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