One of the best parts of gardening is sitting back to enjoy the garden and all the garden visitors.  As much as I love to plant new things and tend to my veggies and flowers, the ultimate reward is relaxing in my garden chairs to watch the hummingbirds visit the Turk’s Cap for their early evening snack and see the fat bumblebees in the comfrey.

Hummingbirds are so fun to watch, and I have worked to add plants to my landscape that will provide nectar for hummingbirds and other pollinators.  Bright, showy flowers in red, orange, and sometimes yellow are the most attractive to hummingbirds, and they love flowers with a long, tubular form.

If you are trying to attract more hummingbirds, consider

adding plants of varying heights to provide coverage.  Hummingbirds are territorial, so consider adding several groupings of feeding sites around your landscape. A water source is also good for hummingbirds, especially if you can provide some rocks for the hummingbirds to sun themselves to warm up.  Be sure to change out the water to keep it fresh and free from mosquitos.

A few favorite plants for hummingbirds include Esperanza or Yellow Bells, a Texas Super Star plant that grows up to six feet tall and loves Texas summer heat.  The bright yellow tubular flowers bloom spring through fall.  Flame Acanthus is another drought tolerant, heat loving shrub that gets up to five feet tall with red or orange flowers.  Both of these plants can freeze to the ground in the winter, but they come right back from the ground in the spring.

Another hummingbird favorite is hibiscus and Turk’s Cap, which is in the hibiscus family.  Turk’s Cap is a native plant that grows well in the shade or sun.  Turk’s Cap is a drought tolerant plant that comes in red, pink, or white flowers, and it grows well in all parts of the state.  The flower looks a little like a turban or pinwheel turned on its side.  This is one of my favorite landscape plants, and I have a hummingbird that comes to visit it just about every single evening in the summer.

We have a few great vines that also attract hummingbirds like Crossvine, Trumpet Vine, Morning Glory, and Cypress Vine.  All of these have the tubular flowers that hummingbirds love.  I particularly love the soft, feathery foliage of the Cypress Vine.  The foliage and red or magenta flowers are so delicate and pretty.  Vines do have a way of taking over wherever they are planted, but the butterflies and bees will love them!

As you spruce up your landscape this spring, consider planting some flowers that will attract wildlife like hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees.  I guarantee that you will enjoy the flowers and the graceful visitors who come to feed.

For more information about lawn and garden topics, contact Kate Whitney-Hajda, Williamson County AgriLife Extension Horticulturist at 512-943-3300.

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