A Few Hummingbird Favorites

The hummingbirds are really active in the yard right now. With so many natives flowering, there are specific plants that the hummingbirds prefer to nectar upon.

I captured this hummingbird on our Purple Coneflowers (Echinacea purpurea) just this week. Hummingbirds have long tongues enabling them to reach nectar sources in deep tubular flowers.

They also seem to prefer red but there aren't very many red flowering natives here. I have planted a type of Catchfly - Royal Catchfly (Silene regia) although its native range is just east of our area in Wisconsin and Illinois. Its tubular red flowers provide mid-season nectar.

A similar looking Red or Cardinal Lobelia (Lobelia cardinalis) flowers just after the Royal Catchfly finishes in our yard. This is a wetland marginal native, preferring rich, moist soils. It is short lived, and seems to perform better in its northern range near some protection such as a house foundation.

We have some planted in a slightly sunken area, near our garage foundation.

Beebalms are another favorite of hummingbirds. Our native Wild Bergamot (Monarda fistulosa) is light pink here in the midwest. The eastern Beebalm (Monarda didyma) has been cultivated by the horticultural trade for improved powdery mildew resistance and bloom color. You can get shades from light pink to red in this Beebalm.

Jewelweed or Touch-Me-Nots (Impatiens species) are another favorite. If you walk near a wetland when these natives are flowering, you'll often see several hummingbirds.

There's two native Jewelweeds in our area, the orange flowering Impatiens capensis, and the yellow flowering Impatiens pallida. I keep a small patch of Jewelweed in the yard for hummingbirds. This native can spread from seed easily and form large patches.