Exotic Gardening with Rare and Strange Plants

Hummingbirds, what wonderful little creatures. A crow or a sparrow, sea gull or finch, no other bird seems to fascinate the masses like a hummingbird does. In fact I consider it a real gift when Mr Humming bird buzzes into my garden, recently a pair of them moved in. Last year I could probably count the amount of times I saw a hummingbird on one hand, this year they seem to visit almost daily.

Some may ask what can I do to attract more hummingbirds to my garden? The answer? Offer more plants that flower abundantly and are rich in the sweet sweet juicy liquid nectar they love. While yes you could go out and buy a funky feeder, I prefer the oh naturale method. If you maintain a garden full of brightly colored flowers you’ll almost always attract hummingbirds. Hummingbirds will try to taste just about any flower in your garden, but some work better then others. Here are some plants that they seem to enjoy in my garden.

Digitalis ssp.
You can’t go wrong with foxglove, hummingbirds can’t seem to resist these tall pillars of nectar rich blooms. Care free and easy to grow shade plants.

Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’
An absolute gem, the Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ are flowering as we speak. Hot fiery red blooms atop 4 foot flower stalks. Just as most of the spring color is calming down, lucifer kicks into gear and brings a taste of the tropics. The hummingbirds can’t seem to get enough of these.

Monarda ssp.
Another hummingbird favorite, Monarda (bee balm) is an excellent addition to the garden. Unsuspecting red blooms appear mid summer, dripping with sweet nectar. If you’d like to investigate as to why the hummers are so crazy about this plant, pull of a bloom and give the nectar a taste. A very unusual sweet flavor indeed, you might get hooked.

Phygelius rectus ‘Cherry Ripe’
A new plant to my garden, Phygelius ‘Cherry Ripe’ adds a great exotic look to your green space, while pleasing hummingbirds. Interesting candelabra  flowers. OoooOoO!

Fuchsia ‘Gartenmeister’
Sold as a tropical annual in Victoria, you can’t loose with Fuchsia ‘Gardenmeister. Dark foliage, an upright habit and non stop blooms. If you fall in love by the first frost, you can overwinter it inside as a houseplant. A real showstopper.

Salvia microphylla ‘Hot Lips’
Hands down the #1 hummingbird flower, Salvia ‘Hot Lips’ is an absolute hummingbird magnet. In the peak of bloom, I’ve seen the birds show up mulitiple times per day just for a sip. This plant flowers nearly all summer, grows huge, and has a pleasant aroma to it’s leaves and blooms. Hardy if planted in the right spot, I couldn’t be more pleased with what this plant brings to the garden.

Salvia guaranitica ‘Black & Blue’
Another mindblowing salvia, Salvia ‘Black & Blue’ will do the trick. I love the black & blue contrast, the leaves are also quite pleasing. So many flowers, so much nectar, just one more reason for the hummers to visit frequently.

Lotus berthelotii (Lotus Vine)

Sold as a tropical annual in early spring, this flower is endemic to the Canary Islands and is designed to be pollinated by birds. Although under valued as a 2″ basket stuffer in spring, this plant holds it’s own as quite an interesting specimen plant. It’s just an extra bonus that the hummers love them.

Strange and Unsual Plants That Hummingbirds Enjoy:

Abutilon megapotamicum (trailing abutilon)
The other day I saw my resident hummingbirds going to town on these flowers. I even caught a lazy one perched on a branch below, drinking while sitting. I bought this specimen in May and it hasn’t stopped blooming since.

Mitraria coccinea
I know I shouldn’t be collecting more borderline tropicals, but this plant had to come home with me when I saw it.  Just looking at the shape of the flowers will tell you that hummerbirds are just around the corner.  Lunchtime !

Eccremocarpus scaber (Chilean Glory Vine)
An unsusual cusp hardy vine, often grown as an annual from seed. This plant has really performed for me this year. As temperatures started to get hot, we put it out against a trellis and it’s really taken off. Over 6 feet and counting and more flowers then you could shake a fist at. Beautiful hummingbird bait!

Easy! Plant up your garden and soon enough the birds will follow. Sometimes it takes a little while for them to get the hint, but once they’ve found you, you’ll be seeing a lot more of them. Remember there are no rules to planting a hummingbird garden,  just remember they love the color red, and the more flowers the better.

One Response to Hummingbird Flowers – How to Attract Hummingbirds

  • Dean says:

    Acanthaceae Dicliptera Suberecta (Uraguayan firecracker plant)-perennial. I tried this plant last year and had good success. Many bright orange tubular flowers on interesting greyish green foliage. Hummingbirds loved this plant! It flowered late summer right up until frost. I am overwintering in a pot in my coldframe greenhouse just to be safe, but it seems very hardy. May try rooting some from cuttings this spring and then will try to overwinter those outdoors next year here in Victoria B.C.

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Mr Nat. Gardener, Plant Nerd
Tips and tales about gardening in one of the most mild climates in Canada. Specializing in rare and strange plants from far out destinations, this is the story of an obsessed young gardener in Victoria B.C. Let's create more tropical gardens in the garden city on the southern tip of Vancouver Island.