If you are planning a new garden with lots of flowering plant material, why not include plants that will attract one of nature’s smallest miracles; the Ruby-Throated Hummingbird or a beautiful butterfly?
A hummingbird’s main source of food is nectar. They will be attracted to any coloured flower that holds nectar.
Their first choice is to fly to red, pink, orange, and purple flowers that have tubular, funnel, or bell-shaped blossoms.
Hummingbirds also consume aphids, spiders, and other small insects.
Encourage Hummingbird to visit your property by:
1. Planting flowering material that will provide nectar from spring through fall.
2. Provide fresh water in a birdbath if you don’t already have a water feature.
Spring-blooming plants that Hummingbirds are fond of are: Fruit Trees, Horse-chestnut, Crab Apple, Lilac, Flowering Quince, Azaleas, Weigela, Columbine, and Foxglove.
In summer, plant Annual Fuchsia, Salvia, Nasturtium, Morning Glory, Petunia, Snapdragon, Cleome, and Zinnia.
Perennials that attract hummingbirds include Penstemon, Bee Balm, Phlox, Bell Flower, Red-Hot Poker Plant, Cardinal Flower, Hollyhock, Lavender, and Liatris.
Vines include Honeysuckle and Trumpet Vine.
In late summer, Hummingbirds enjoy Butterflybush, Rose-of-Sharon, and Gladioli.
Place Hummingbird feeders near the flowers you wish to attract them to and near windows where you can watch these little birds close up.
Buy Hummingbird food for your feeder that you mix with water or you can prepare your own. Mix 4 parts water and 1 part white sugar, boil for 2 minutes, and cool. Refrigerate whatever you don’t immediately use.
Clean your feeder thoroughly every 2 to 3 days in hot weather and refill with fresh sugar water. The build-up of bacteria can be detrimental to Hummingbirds.
Avoid honey or artificial sweeteners. These will cause a fungus to form on the Hummingbird’s tongue.
Butterflies use the plants in your garden as a food source, to lay their eggs, food for the larvae and pupating.
Plant a variety of flowering plant material that Butterflies are attracted to for three of the four seasons.
Butterflies are attracted to the scents of certain garden plants rather than the flower colour and shape.
Some crossover plants that will bring both Butterflies and Hummingbirds are Lilac, Rose-of-Sharon, Butterflybush, Bee Balm, Lavender, Liatris, Cardinal Flower, and Annual Nicotiana.
In spring, Butterflies will visit gardens with Perennial Candytuft, Primula, Wall Cress, Soapwort, and Shrubs such as Bridalwreath Spirea and fragrant varieties of Viburnum.
Summer offers Annual Heliotrope, Alyssum, Cosmos, Lantana, as well as Perennial Shasta Daisy, Helen’s Flower, Coneflower, Pincushion Flower, Daylily, Tickseed, Black-eyed Susan, and Butterfly Weed.
Shrubs like Summersweet, Caryopteris, and Potentilla are also favourite summer destinations.
For fall, Butterflies will be encouraged to linger before their long migration with Chrysanthemums, Sedums, and Asters.