By: Mary H. Dyer, Credentialed Garden Writer
It’s no mystery why trumpet vine (Campsis radicans) is sometimes known as hummingbird vine, as hummingbirds and trumpet vine are an irresistible combination of nonstop color and movement. Trumpet vines are so incredibly easy to grow that attracting hummingbirds with trumpet vines is about as easy as it gets.
You might think that hummingbirds are attracted to trumpet vines because of the high nectar content and the color – generally shades of red, orange, or yellow, but you would be only partially right.
The other huge reason why hummingbirds like trumpet vines is the shape of the blooms, which accommodate the birds’ long tongues. Scientists have long been mystified about how the process works but, in recent years, they have determined that the tongues operate much like tiny, very effective pumping mechanisms.
Place your trumpet vine where you can observe the hummingbirds, but beware of planting the vines too near your house, as the plant can become unruly. A site next to a fence, trellis, or arbor is ideal, and a spring or fall pruning will help keep growth in check.
Plant trumpet vines in the vicinity of trees or shrubs, which will provide shelter and a safe place for breeding and nesting.
Never use pesticides, which can kill the tiny birds and will also kill gnats, mosquitoes, and other flying bugs that provide necessary protein for the hummingbirds. Similarly, avoid herbicides and fungicides, which can sicken or kill the birds.
Provide a water source for the hummingbirds. A birdbath is too deep, but a concave rock or shallow plate works well. Better yet, use a birdbath with a dripper or mister, which hummers absolutely love.
Be sure to deadhead wilted blooms regularly to promote continued blooming throughout the season.
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Read more about Trumpet Vine
Supertunia® Vista Bubblegum. Photo by Proven Winners.
Perhaps the most popular annual with gardeners, these are also a favorite of hummingbirds and bees with their large, trumpet-shaped blooms. The flowers are available in every color from white to black, including speckled, spotted, and striped varieties, as well as both single and double-flowered forms.
6 to 10 inches tall and 10 to 30 inches wide
Supertunia® Vista Bubblegum (pictured), Crazytunia Mandeville, Surfinia Red
Superbells® Lemon Slice®. Photo by Proven Winners.
If you want the vibrant color punch of a petunia with even less maintenance, Calibrachoa, also called Superbells® and Million Bells®, may be the answer. Like their larger cousins, these are available in every color of the rainbow with both single and double flower forms. Choose from compact or trailing varieties.
3 to 8 inches tall and 10 to 30 inches wide.
Superbells® Lemon Slice (pictured), Cruze Yellow Red Eye, Million Bells Trailing Blue
Read more about how to grow Calibrachoa.
Tiny Mice® cuphea. Photo by Proven Winners.
Include cuphea in all your summer designs if only to amuse children of all ages! Visiting hummingbirds will certainly add to the fun factor! Flower shapes include varieties that resemble the faces of tiny mice, as well as more traditional forms and elongated tubes. Tuck into hanging baskets, window boxes, and containers.
8 to 28 inches tall and 12 to 24 inches wide
Tiny Mice® (pictured), ‘Flamenco Samba’, Vermillionaire®, Bat Face
Do you love to watch hummingbirds fly around your garden? Learn which types of plants attract hummingbirds and how to create a hummingbird-friendly environment in your garden!
For centuries, gardeners have been fascinated with the beauty and aerobatics of hummingbirds. The key to attracting hummingbirds to your yard is to plant lots of flowers and provide the habitat that will give them shade, shelter, food, water, and security.
An often-asked question is, “Why do hummingbirds hum?” We can’t say for certain, but suspect that it might be because they don’t know the words!
All jokes aside, the real answer is that hummingbirds are capable of beating their wings up to 80 beats per second, producing a buzz audible to human ears.
Here’s a list of flowering plants that attract hummingbirds. Choose varieties in red and orange shades.
Many of the plants that attract hummingbirds also attract butterflies. Learn more about attracting butterflies to your garden.
|Common Name||Latin Name|
|Flowering tobacco||Nicotiana alata|
|Scarlet sage||Salvia splendens|
|Scarlet trumpet honeysuckle||Lonicera sempervirens|
|Summer phlox||Phlox paniculata|
Hummingbirds are one of the most interesting birds! Here are some fun facts about these little birds:
If you’re a fan of hummingbirds, you probably like to see other birds flying around your garden, too. Explore these tips for a bird-friendly garden.
Do you have hummingbirds or other birds in your garden? Let us know in the comments below!
Want to appeal to hummingbirds? Hummingbirds are attracted to a wide variety of flowers — usually those that are red and tubular — but to others as well. Consider these flowers they love to visit.
Hummingbirds love delphinium, which blooms in early summer. Height for these perennials can average anywhere from 2 to 8 feet tall, depending on variety. Delphinium requires rich soil, and areas with relatively cool summers.
Want to add a vertical element to your midsummer garden? Consider gayfeather, whose purple, lavender or white spires are like 3-foot-tall exclamation points. Butterflies and hummingbirds are big fans of this sun-loving perennial.
Irresistible to hummingbirds, Chilean glory flower is a fast-growing evergreen that offers a profusion of red-orange tubular flowers tipped with yellow from late spring to fall. The light green leaves are small and boldly veined on this climber.
If you’re thinking about adding a cottage-garden look, you may want to consider foxglove (Digitalis purpurea), which may extend up to 6 feet when in bloom, depending on the variety and growing conditions. It prefers moist, well-drained soil and full sun to medium shade. Its blossoms — in purple, pink, yellow and white — attract hummingbirds. Please note that all parts of the plant are poisonous to people, pets and livestock. Foxglove is considered invasive along the West Coast and in some parts of New England.
Buddleia davidii attracts butterflies with its blooms of lavender, pink, white, purple, red or yellow. These blooms can appear beginning in early spring and continue until first frost. In full sun, butterfly bush can grow up to 10 feet tall. Butterfly bush is an aggressive grower, and removing spent blooms will encourage more attractive, fragrant flowers for a long period. Grow in massed plantings in cottage gardens and butterfly gardens, and use in border plantings. This small shrub also is a natural draw for hummingbirds.
The showy blooms of weigela (Weigela florida) come in pink, red, yellow, lavender or white, depending on cultivar, and appear in mid to late spring. Some cultivars feature variegated foliage other types have purplish or maroon leaves. This deciduous shrub, native to northern China and Korea, can grow as tall as 9 feet and can spread even wider, but compact varieties are available. It works best in borders. Weigela thrives in full sun and also attracts hummingbirds.
All salvia species are characterized by vertical spikes of vibrant flowers that can be found in hues of blue, red, pink or violet. Bloom time varies according to variety, and their flowers are a welcome sight for hummingbirds. Salvia nemorosa 'Ostfriesland' is an erect, clump forming perennial salvia that is noted for its compact form, long bloom period, purple stems and violet purple flowers.
Varieties of the tough summer-blooming yarrow come in yellow, white, orange, red, pink and coral. Butterflies and hummingbirds enjoy its blooms, which start early in the season and can last into mid fall, depending on the species and variety. Yarrow grows best in well-drained, average to poor soil, and can reach up to 48 inches.
Bee balm's blooms appear in mid to late summer, and can even remain into the fall. The striking flowers come in white, pink, red or purple, and complement the dark, aromatic foliage. This perennial is susceptible to powdery mildew, so plant in full sun to part shade and select resistant varieties. Bee balm likes medium to wet soil and works well in a wildlife garden. 'Cambridge Scarlet’ is attractive to bees, but this bergamot is equally attractive to hummingbirds.
The fiery flowers of Maltese cross (Lychnis chalcedonica) appear on 2- to 4-foot stems in early summer. Sow in sun or part shade in moist, well-drained soil, and cut back after flowering to encourage re-bloom. The flowers may also attract hummingbirds.
Want to add some height to your cottage garden? Consider including hollyhock (Alcea rosea), which blooms over a long period in summer. Depending on cultivar, its blooms come in singles and doubles in shades of lavender, pink, purple, red, salmon, apricot, white and yellow. The fast-growing hollyhock can reach up to 8 feet in height, and its blooms also attract butterflies and hummingbirds. Hollyhock is a biennial or short-lived perennial but reseeds itself readily in the garden.
Also known as beardtongue, penstemon has everything that makes for an ideal hummingbird flower: long, tubular blooms (the shape is hard for insects to sip nectar from but easy for hummingbirds), sweet nectar and a flower spike filled with lots of little blossoms. Penstemon grows best in sandy or gravelly soil with little fertilizer. Mulch with gravel, not bark, and let plants self-seed to ensure a healthy stand. Perennials, with varieties hardy from Zones 3-9.
While some gardeners think that the red tubular blooms of 'Gartenmeister Bonstedt' fuchsia beckon hummingbirds best, these zippy birds find all fuchsias irresistible, including this variety, 'Swingtime.' To keep your fuchsia flowering like mad, give it full to part shade, consistent soil moisture and regular feeding throughout the growing season. Annual and perennial types, hardy in Zones 7-10.
This showstopper vine opens blooms that lure in hummingbirds. Coral or trumpet honeysuckle ( Lonicera sempervirens ) offers many great varieties, including 'Dropmore Scarlet' (shown), 'Major Wheeler' and 'Alabama Crimson.' Do your homework before planting honeysuckle. Make sure the variety you choose isn’t invasive in your area (these varieties shouldn’t be). Perennial vine, hardy in Zones 4-9.
It’s not hard to see where red hot poker ( Kniphofia ) gets its name. Those flaming torches boast blossoms packed with nectar that draws hummingbirds like crazy. Dagger-like leaves make a strong architectural statement in the garden. Look for varieties with flowers in shades of red, gold, lime and white. Good winter drainage is key for success with this perennial, hardy in Zones 5-9.
A summer bloomer, garden phlox ( Phlox paniculata ) offers hummingbirds a rich nectar source on plants that open large flower heads made up of lots of individual blossoms. Different varieties grow from short (under 12 inches) to stately (up to 36 inches) and open sweetly fragrant flowers in many shades, including pink, burgundy, lavender and white. This variety is 'Bright Eyes.' Full sun to part shade produces best flowering. Perennial, hardy in Zones 3-8.
The name on this one says it all--it’s definitely a plant-it-and-they-will-come scenario. Hummingbird mint ( Agastache ) includes an array of plants that grow well in desert or moist conditions. The trick is to find the right one for your region. Varieties open flowers in many different hues, including purple, gold, blue and orange. With all hummingbird mints, it’s best to leave stems in place through winter to help protect the plant crown or growing point. Clip stems in early spring 4 to 6 weeks before last frost. Perennial, hardy in Zones 5-9.
This flaming beauty is a cousin of gladiolus and grows from a bulb, sending lance-like leaves up to form a striking clump. Flowers dance along wiry stems, with one bloom opening each day. The variety ‘Lucifer’ is a hummingbird magnet with its fiery red flowers. Plant crocosmia bulbs in spring, giving them a spot in full sun for best flowering. Perennial, hardy in Zones 6-9 ‘Lucifer’ is hardy in Zones 5-9.
Zone 3 stretches along the Canada-United States border in North America.
It includes such cities as International Falls, Minnesota and Sydney, Montana.
This gardening zone has cold winters and warm to hot summers.
There is a 2 to 4 month gardening season.
|COMMON NAME||BOTANICAL NAME||ZONE|
|Bleeding heart||Dicentra spectabilis||3-8|
These plants can be used in Zone 3 in addition to all of the plants listed in zone 1 and zone 2.
This plant does not suffer from any serious pest problems or diseases, according to Mr. Gilman, but there are some insects and fungi that can disfigure the vine. The trumpet honeysuckle can become infested with aphids, which suck the juices out of the leaves, or leaf-rollers, which roll-up infested leaves. Pluck or prune off infested leaves or branches by hand. If the vine is completely covered with these or other insects, such as scale, treat it with an insecticidal soap. Some fungi can cause leaf spot, which is unattractive but not life-threatening to the vine. A systematic application of fungicide in the spring can prevent leaf spot.