By Cris Carl, Networx
Attracting hummingbirds and butterflies to your garden not only can bring a sense of delight, but tie you into something greater as well. “You can enjoy the full circle in your garden. Our plants are part of a global eco-system,” said Sarah Mary Gerchman, assistant manager of Annie’s Garden and Gift Center in Amherst, MA.
Gerchman gave the example of how hummingbirds eat aphids. “Aphids are often seen as immediate pests in gardens. So you can enjoy beautiful flowers, and attract hummingbirds which help protect the plants,” she said. An additional note on garden pest control: At a Vegetable Entomologist Workshop in Dallas, pest control experts said to “avoid broad-spectrum insecticides to conserve natural enemies” like hummingbirds.
Flowers and tips to attract hummingbirds to your garden
Gerchman said that hummingbirds are attracted to tubular-shaped flowers. For colder climates such as New England, she said one of the best choices is Trumpet Vine, as they are attracted to both the shape and bright red color. “What a lot of people don’t know is that hummingbirds don’t have a sense of smell. People think they are attracted to flowers with a strong fragrance. They are actually attracted to the colors – bright reds, pinks, and oranges,” she said.
Gerchman recommended Mandevilla plant for warmer, more tropical climates, though they can be grown anywhere if they are brought inside for the winter. “They are a big draw for hummingbirds because the flowers are the perfect shape for their beaks,” said Gerchman. “Also, if you have a big ugly fence you want to hide, Trumpet Vines are aggressive climbers. They have beautiful flowers and foliage” she added.
Gerchman added that you can plan your hummingbird garden as perennial or annual, and you can also incorporate shrubs. An added bonus of strategically planting shrubs is that they can help cut your summer electrical costs by shading your house.