Thursday, May 3, 2012

Hummingbird Garden

A friend asked about creating a garden to attract hummingbirds (yes, I take requests!).  In South Florida, hummingbirds are usually here around fall through late winter, early spring, while they are migrating.  Below are websites with information on Florida Hummingbirds and plants that attract them.  The principles for hummingbird gardens are the same wherever you are but the plants would need to be adjusted for your area.  Watching hummingbirds feed can be fun and relaxing. 

Here’s some things you should know:
·         Aside from the nectar filled flowers which you should grow, a good hummingbird garden must also consist of an entire habitat for the birds.
·         Make certain that there will always be a source of fresh clean water available for drinking as well as for bathing.
·         Create both sun and shade areas within your hummingbird habitat. Your hummingbirds need places in the shade to perch on as well as to build their nests on!
·         Hummingbirds must feed 3-5 times per hour to provide enough energy to keep your hummingbirds going. Once they have chosen your garden to nest in, they may become completely reliant on your garden for their source of food.
·         There may be periods of time when there are no blossoms available for them to collect natural nectar. For that reason it is a good idea to provide supplemental hummingbird feeders, hung about thirty feet apart throughout your garden.
·         Place the feeder where rain will not dilute nectar in the end of the tube. Also avoid direct sunlight as heat stimulates bacterial growth.
·         Sugar solutions must be kept fresh. Florida's hot weather can cause rapid bacterial growth in these feeders and birds that drink contaminated water could die. To avoid this, change the solution every 3-5 days. Clean the feeders with hot water and white vinegar. Do not use soap or chlorine bleach (Clorox™).
·         To be successful in keeping hummingbirds around your house, you must garden for them. The ideal flower color is red, orange, or pink. Hummingbirds are not born with an attraction to certain colors but learn by trial and error which flowers give the best results.
In South Florida, some great plants that will attract hummingbirds are firebush, jatropha, most of the salvias, and firespike. 

Gene Dempsey, City Forester
Environmental Services
Office - (954) 828-7704 Fax - (954) 828-7897

Think before you print!