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Hummingbird Plants & Information

There really is a lot of information about Hummingbirds in print and on the Web. Some of it reliable, some not so much. I've included links to some of my favorite sites here, but there are many more that may have great information that I haven't listed. I've also included a list of Hummingbird plants that I know from personal experience really do attract Hummingbirds, at least in our gardens. My main experience is gardening in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. The Ruby-Throated Hummingbird is the only species I've ever seen in our gardens, so I can't comment on the preferences of other species. We'll be trying many more varieties of plants this season, so I hope to add to this list. There are more images and information on our Hummingbird Catalog Pages.

Recommended Hummingbird Plants    Information & Links
Monarda 'Jacob Cline' Monardas - Beebalms
Hummingbirds seem to be attracted to all the different Monardas I've tried, including the straight species. I can't say that any one variety is better than another. I usually recommend Monarda 'Jacob Cline' because it is such a superior, garden-worthy plant.
 
Canna indica Canna indica
I see Cannas on Hummingbird lists all the time. We've grown many of the large flowered hybrids over the years. The birds pretty much ignore them. Now the smaller flowered species, like Canna indica, is a different matter. They seem to love them.
 
Salvia 'Black & Blue'
Salvia 'Maraschino'
Salvias - Garden Sages
I have yet to find a New World Salvia species or variety that Hummingbirds don't like. I've chosen to highlight Salvia guarantica types like Salvia 'Black & Blue' for their prolific flowering and long bloom season. Many of the Salvia greggii types like Salvia 'Maraschino' would be a close second. Mid sized types like Salvia miniata and Salvia 'Diablo' provide brilliant red color that can't be missed by people or Hummingbirds, and they work well in containers. Late bloomers like Salvia madrensis or Salvia mexicana may be too late for the main Hummingbird season but can provide valuable fuel for migrating birds. For more about Salvias see our Salvia Information Page
 
Heuchera 'Snow Angel' Heucheras - Coralbells
The Heuchera sanguinea types (old fashioned Coralbells w/ red flowers), like Heuchera 'Snow Angel' have worked best for me. Many of the new hybrids with the fancy leaf colors & shapes have been bred from Heuchera villosa & other species with small white flowers, that don't seem to be as attractive.
 
Websites - Hummingbird Gardening in the Upper Midwest - This is a site maintained by Hummingbird enthusiasts Kathi & Michael Rock in WI. There is an extensive list of resources and a gallery of Hummingbird flowers. You can also sign up for their newsletter.

http://www.hummingbirdgardening.net/
 
Websites - Hummingbirds.net - Images, videos, and FAQs. I especially like the migration map, that gives first sighting dates on a map each spring. They've been keeping records since 1996, so you can make a comparison between years.

www.hummingbirds.net
 
Websites - Operation Rubythroat - Site navigation can be a little tricky, but there is a wealth of information here. Use the table of contents to find lists of recommend plants. For teachers there are opportunities for classroom participation, and for individuals a chance to contribute as a "citizen scientist" through EarthTrek. Pretty neat!

www.rubythroat.org
 
Books - I like most of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden 21st Century Gardening Series. Their Hummingbird Gardens, edited by Stephen W. Kress, is no exception. Updated in 2007, it has all the basics, with good photos and a nice encyclopedic section on Hummingbird plants, divided up by regions. Available through the BBG Bookstore and Amazon.