In the Pacific Northwest, Hummingbirds are present year round. It is a joy and a blessing to see our beautiful friends flit about the garden, drinking the nectar of our favorite plants. To see such a fascinating bird during this time does bring the question, how can your garden be more accommodating towards Hummingbirds?
Here are some flowering plants that would be perfect for hummingbirds and for yourself this season.
These Evergreen bloomers like shade to partial shade. Very easy to care for, and hummingbirds love their fragrant flowers. They prefer moisture, but not too wet. This is a unique specimen that is a great addition to the garden. There are two types of Sarcococca; one is a ground cover variety, and the other is a bush that can grow 5 feet tall.
Key Takeaways: Evergreen fragrant bloomers that do well in the shade.
A large, deciduous shrub, Witch hazel preforms best in full sun, with nectar filled flowers that are delectable to hummingbirds. They like moist soil, but are adaptable, prunable, and self-sufficient after regular watering in their first season. As Bellingham has a prominent deer population, place nets around the bases of your younger shrubs to keep deer from snacking. An explosion of star-like flowers dance across the garden, making the darker winter days a bit brighter.
Key Takeaways: Deciduous shrub that is self-sufficient with beautiful star-shaped flowers.
The pollen on the Camellia flower stamens are a protein rich food bank for our over wintering Anna Hummingbirds. With pops of pinks, reds, whites, and a center of bright yellow, Camellia flowers are a bold contrast from their lush dark green leaves. They thrive in partial shade, with well draining soil and plenty of compost. Make sure to plant your Camellia in a location that is protected from high winds. Evergreen and medium growing, they can grow up to 12 feet.
Key Takeaways: Pollen-rich Evergreen shrub with bright flowers.
The Mahonia is a notorious attraction blooming all winter long, the epitome of Hummingbird desire. This specific Mahonia species, M. Aquifolium has serrated leaves reminiscent of holly and are deer deterrents. They like partial shade and moist soil, and can be drought tolerant once established. Mahonia is one of the few shade plants that can provide full interest for all four seasons. With winter and spring flowers, summer berry clusters, fall color, and green winter foliage, their yellow explosion of flowers make for a beautiful focal point for your garden.
Key Takeaways: Deer Deterrent and Beautiful Hummingbird Attractant Year-round.
Viburnum Pink Dawn
Pink Dawn Viburnums produce clusters of small red buds that develop into intensely fragrant bright pink flowers from mid-winter to early spring. After the flowers come scarlet fruits that turn to black in the fall. They should be grown in full sun, and grow best when planted in rich, moist well drained soil. Water regularly during the first growing season to establish a deep healthy root system. These shrubs grow to a height of eight to ten feet tall and six feet wide. You can cut a few branches and bring them indoors to fill the house with a sweet scent!
Key Takeaways: A new surprise every season, with bright fragrant flowers.
Final Tips on Hummingbirds and Care
The hummingbird is a self-sufficient creature that partners with humans and rely on our kindnesses during the cold season. By planting nectar sources, we are able to provide our tiny friends with the nutrients they need. If you have a hummingbird feeder, please be careful and diligent with your practices. For the nectar, use one part sugar and 4 parts water, and if you are going to be out of town, do not fill your feeder (the birds' body temp can drop from frozen nectar). If you do not have a warmer for your feeder, you can wrap a string of holiday lights (NOT LED) around it, and they will provide enough warmth to keep the nectar from freezing.
Have any other tips on Hummingbirds? What are your favorite plants? Let us know in the comments!