Did you know hummingbirds hover in mid-air by rapidly flapping their wings 12–90 times per second?   They can also fly backwards!  These are just a couple of the amazing acrobatics these tiny birds use to captivate our attention.

Hummingbirds feed on nectar, a sweet liquid inside certain flowers. Like bees, they are able to assess the amount of sugar in the nectar they eat.  Fussy little birds, they reject flower types that produce nectar that is less than 10% sugar.  Last weekend we had a hummingbird in our front yard.  With 12 tall oaks on a 50 foot wide lot, our densely shaded yard doesn’t provide the habitat for the flowers we usually associate with hummingbirds.  They love bright reds, oranges and pinks.  But Saturday afternoon I was treated to the sight of a hummingbird feeding on the white blossoms of our Solomon’s Seal.

In addition to nectar-rich plants, hummingbirds seek out habitats that will provide water, nesting sites and perches. Perches can be as simple as small branches on your trees and shrubs. Small clay saucers of water set around your flower garden can provide the necessary water.

If you’d like to attract hummingbirds you may want to consider planting some of the flowers listed below in large patches near trees, where the hummingbirds can rest and perch.

More plants that attract Hummingbirds include:

  • Columbine (Aquilegia)
  • Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa)
  • Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis)
  • Turk's Cap Lily (Lilium superbum)
  • Bee Balm (Monarda)
  • Lupine (Lupinus)
  • Beardtongue (Penstemon)
  • Phlox (Phlox divaricata, Phlox paniculata) – Perennial of the Week June 29
  • Salvia – perennial, annual and herb types
  • Petunias – especially red, orange and bright pink

Read more from The Herb Companion and The Herb Gardener