Iowa State University
INDEX A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Horticulture and Home Pest News
Horticulture & Home Pest News is filled with articles on current horticulture, plant care, pest management, and common household pests written by Iowa State University Extension specialists in the Departments of Entomology, Horticulture and Plant Pathology.

Attracting Hummingbirds to Your Garden

This article was published originally on 6/9/2000

Hummingbirds can be a charming addition to any garden. Seeing one of these beautiful birds effortlessly float above a flower in search of nectar explains why many gardeners go out of their way to attract them to their yard.

While there are hundreds of different species, the ruby-throated hummingbird is the only species commonly found in Iowa. The male is easily recognizable by its emerald green back, white breast, and brilliant red throat. The female is similar in coloring, but lacking the red throat.

The first step in attracting hummingbirds is planting flowers that appeal to them. Hummingbirds are most attracted to flowers that have tubular flowers that are red, pink, or fuchsia in color. When choosing plants, a combination of annuals, perennials, trees, and shrubs that bloom at different intervals will attract them for the longest period of time. (A list of plants that attract hummingbirds is provided at the end of this article.)

After establishing a hummingbird garden, a feeder can be hung to further encourage their visits. Feeders, however, require regular maintenance. Carefully consider the time and dedication you are willing to put into feeding them before starting. Hummingbirds will not drink from a feeder that is not kept sanitary. The feeders need to be cleaned with warm water each time they are refilled and washed with bleach once a month throughout the summer feeding period.

Most commonly available feeders have red plastic parts resembling the flowers that attract hummingbirds. They can be filled with a mixture of one part sugar to four parts water. The water should be boiled and then measured. Finally, the sugar can be dissolved in the warm water. Preparing the mixture in this order will maintain the proper proportions of sugar and water.

Annuals
Four-O-Clocks (Mirabilis jalapa)
Fuchsia (Fuchsia x hybrida)
Impatiens (Impatiens wallerana)
Morning Glory (Ipomoea purpurea)
Nicotiana (Nicotiana alata)
Petunia (Petunia x hybrida)
Pineapple Sage (Salvia elegans)
Red Salvia (Salvia splendens)
Scarlet Runner Bean (Phaseolus coccineus)
Shrimp Plant (Beloperone guttata)
Zinnia (Zinnia elegans)

Perennials
Bee Balm (Monarda didyma)
Canna (Canna x generalis)
Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis)
Coral Bells (Heuchera sanguinea)
Delphinium (Delphinium x elatum)
Daylily (Hemerocallis species)
Gladiola (Gladiolus x hortulanus)
Hibiscus (Hibiscus species)
Hollyhock (Alcea rosea)
Hosta (Hosta species)
Liatris (Liatris spicata)
Lily (Lilium species)
Lobelia (Lobelia cardinalis)
Penstemon (Penstemon barbatus)
Phlox (Phlox paniculata)
Russell Hybrid Lupine (Lupinus 'Russell
Hybrid')
Trumpet Vine (Campsis radicans)
Yucca (Yucca filamentosa)

Shrubs
Bottlebrush (Aesculus parviflora)
Coralberry (Symphoricarpos orbiculatus)
Lilac (Syringa species)
Red Prince Weigela (Weigela florida 'Red Prince')

Trees
Red Buckeye (Aesculus pavia)
Northern Catalpa (Catalpa speciosa)



This article originally appeared in the June 9, 2000 issue, pp. 67-68.

Year of Publication: 
2000
Issue: 
IC-483(13) -- June 9, 2000