Monday, December 31, 2012

Attracting Hummingbirds

The  problem with "Bucket Lists"...
Butterfly Weed Attracting Hummingbirds
Butterfly Weed - Roger Dahlin

The funny thing about lists is they clearly point out what you have accomplished and all that is left to be done. When I finished my web page Attracting Hummingbirds, I was disappointed to learn that I am only growing ten wildflowers that these "high strung" flying machines consider dinner worthy.

Goal for 2013:  Research other plants that hummingbirds enjoy. Thanks to my market friend Paula, I have Lonicera sempervirens -Trumpet Honeysuckle seeds stratifying in my refrigerator. Royal Catchfly (Silene regia) is another plant that I am giving a try. At least I am heading in the right direction; with a little luck I will have some new and interesting plants in the spring.

Cardinal Flower Attracting Hummingbirds
Cardinal Flower - Roger Dahlin

My most popular plant market plant is the Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis), when they are in bloom they are hard to resist. The fact that hummingbirds, bees and butterflies love them is an added bonus. Blue Lobelia (Lobelia siphilitica) is also mentioned, but I must admit my hummingbirds prefer red Cardinal Flowers. I don't think I ever noticed a hummingbird on the Blue Lobelia but that doesn't mean they weren't there.

 Although it is beautiful, I had decided not to raise Obedient Plant, Physostegia virginiana next season; it tends to spread easily and can become a problem for gardeners with smaller yards.I changed my mind once I noticed hummingbirds consistently visiting them. There was plenty of "prime real estate", Lobelias, both blue and red, Butterfly Weed Ascelpias tubresoa, Purple Coneflower, Echinacea purpurea were all in bloom. It was too early for Turtlehead, Chelone glabra,Wild Bergamot, Monarda fistulosa, Foxglove Beardtongue, Penstemon diigitails  and Wild Columbine, Aquilegia canadensis had accomplished their mission earlier in the season.   Penstemon digitalis

Obedient Plant attracfting humming birds
Obedient Plant
Heading into 2013 - I think it might be "healthy" for me/us to concentrate on not what we haven't accomplished but rather the small strides and contributions that each of us has made in our yards, streets and ultimately our communities.

Best to you in 2013.

Beth Coyne


  1. Beth,

    I'm glad after hitting "read more" that you listed what you do have planted for the hummingbirds. I have to add to what I have bit in number of individuals and number of species. My goal is to have a succession of blooming natives that will carry he birds through the year...and make it more likely they'll nest here.

    One plant comes to mind that should grow for you if you have it moist enough for cardinal flower: Iris versicolor. Oh, and if you have standing water, I've seen them go to Pondeteria cordata (I had to look up the spelling of that...memory lapse wouldn't even give me the common name, pickerel rush).

    Keep up the good work. Great philosophy...I get to that point too where I just have to look at the improvements I've made and not all that I've yet to accomplish.

  2. Thank you Dave, I appreciate your native plant suggestions. I added them to today's blog (1/13/13)

    Last week I had a similar conversation with my brother Craig from Pennsylvania, he too is working on providing a constant year long food supply for wildlife, his focus was bees.

    Between, your comments and the conversation with Craig, I am now attempting to build a page similar to the one I linked to on the Houston Audubon Society website (post of 1/13/13). I am curious how well the chart would be filled in with the plants I am currently raising.

  3. Royal Catchfly is a great native plant. I've had luck with it in a variety of growing situations and love how much seed it produces for projects the following year. It's usually a good idea to dry the stems for quite a while though to avoid the stickiness.

  4. That is nice to hear. I am always nervous when I try new seeds. Will they germinate? Will I like them? With others enjoy them. Worry, worry, silly.

    It is nice to hear that if I can get a few starter plants going I should be ok as far as seeds for the next year are concerned. Thanks!