Hummingbirds are Arriving

THEY'RE BACK! Ruby-throated hummingbirds have made their way back to our area for the season. They have been sighted recently in Naperville and Downers Grove. If you would like to encourage these fascinating creatures to take up residence in your yard (or at least stop by to say hello), here are some things you can do to turn your yard into a hummingbird oasis.

Food

So...what should be on the menu for these beautiful and welcomed winged visitors?

Flowers
Good hosts provide food for their guests, and these tiny birds have hefty appetites. According to the National Audubon Society, “hummingbirds eat every 10-15 minutes and visit 1,000-2,000 flowers per day.” Since much of the hummingbird’s day involves finding nutrition, you can make your yard more attractive by planting flowers that are good food sources for hummingbirds. Flowers with tubular flowers are perfectly shaped for hummingbirds.

The plants listed below are among hummingbirds’ favorites. While red blooms dominate the list, there are plenty of other colors suggested to allow varied planting. The most important aspect of designing a hummingbird garden is continuous bloom from spring to fall, ensuring a constant supply of nectar. Select plants whose bloom dates overlap and plant en masse. Many of the same plants that attract hummingbirds also attract butterflies and other pollinators for double the excitement!

Annuals

Agastache, Calibrachoa, Cleome, Cosmos, Dahlia, Morning Glory, Nasturtium, Nicotiana, Oregano, Petunia, Ruellia, Salvia, Snapdragon, and Zinnia

Perennials

One of the best NATIVE flowers for the early is Aquilegia canadensis (Columbine). It's bloom time coincides perfectly with their arrival. Hummingbirds are attracted to red flowers and this popular native is one of their favorites. It can be planted in sun or shade, in any well-drained soil. There are many other Columbine cultivars that they find attractive also.

They have also been seen feasting on Polygonatum (Solomon's Seal). It has charming, bell-shaped flowers that hang under the graceful arching stems. Solomon's Seal makes an excellent choice as a groundcover in the shade garden.

Nepetas (Catmints) are another perennial favorite that coincides with their arrival. The blue, tubular shaped flowers are not only attractive to hummingbirds but to bees and butterflies as well. Long-blooming catmints are hardy perennials well suited to a sunny border as a specimen or even on a large scale. The many cultivars form hardy mounds anywhere from a petite 6" mound to an imposing 4' ft. specimen.

These are just a few of the early bloomers that service the needs of the ruby-throated hummingbird on its long journey back to our area. There are many more plants that will help you create a beneficial habitat that will keep them fed from the time they arrive until the time they leave again in the fall. Including: Bellflower, Butterfly Weed, Daylily, Delphinium, Dianthus, Dicentra, Echinops, Heuchera, Heucherella, Hibiscus, Iris ‘Blue Flag’, Liatris, Lillium, Lobelia, and Lupines

Feeders
If you like to observe hummingbirds up close and personal, you can find hummingbird feeders in a variety of styles, including window feeders, hanging feeders, and feeders that stake into your flowerbeds.

Keep your feeders far enough apart that one hummingbird doesn’t claim ALL the feeders as his/her territory. The more, the merrier!

Clean hummingbird feeders regularly with a homemade solution of one part vinegar to four parts water. Rinse three times before refilling. Feeders should be cleaned before the sugar solution becomes cloudy or about twice per week in warm weather.

You can make your own hummingbird food with a solution of one part sugar to four parts water. Boil for 2 minutes. Cool solution before filling your feeder. It is NOT a good idea to dye the mixture red with food coloring. Your feeder can have

Insects
Hummingbirds also eat insects, so skip the pesticides. You can increase the hummingbird’s insect food supply by including native plants and insect-pollinated plants in your home landscape. You may also choose to set out ripened fruit to encourage insect visitors.

Shelter

Once hummingbirds find a food supply in your yard, they’ll want to nest there too! Provide shrubs and small trees where hummingbirds can find a protective cover for nesting. Provide areas for hummingbirds like to perch and rest. The Growing Place even sells little hummingbird swings to hang in your yard.

Water

Hummingbirds like to bathe frequently in dripping water, so consider adding a drip fountain or a solar hose mist attachment.

Enjoy

Sit back and relax while you wait for hummingbirds to visit. As always, we are here to help! Stop in anytime and we'll be happy to answer your hummingbird garden questions. We also have a free class on June 17 at 1pm in Aurora on birds, butterflies, and other pollinators. No registration necessary.

Aurora Location

2000 Montgomery Road,

Aurora, IL 60504

Phone. 630-820-8088

Naperville Location

25w471 Plank Road,

Naperville, IL 60563

Phone. 630-355-4000

Spring Hours

 Monday-Friday: 9:00am-7:00pm
Saturday: 9:00am-5:00pm
Sunday: 11:00am-5:00pm 


Growing for the future with
right plants in right places.