Favorite 5 Hummingbird Plants
Hummingbirds are coming! Our native ruby-throated hummingbirds have been spotted in the southern UP. Hummingbird feeders are sweet (!) but require constant maintenance and provide questionable nutrition. Replace or supplement your feeders with the native plants hummingbirds are seeking! Here are our top 5 plants for providing them with nectar during their stay:
1. Spotted Bee Balm - Mondara punctata
Spotted Bee Balm, also known as Horsemint, has unusual delicately spotted tubular flowers with a landing strip of purple dots to attract hummingbirds and butterflies to abundant nectar in late summer to early fall. This unique plant also draws bees, moths, and beneficial wasps. Predatory wasps are good for your garden because they control grubs, pest caterpillars, and other harmful insects.
Spotted bee balm can be 2 to 3 feet high with flowers occurring in whorls, forming a dense, elongated spike at the end of the stem. It is not fussy, growing in full sun to partial shade, wet to dry soil, and loam or sandy soils.
Looking for something unusual that hummingbirds will love? Liven up your garden with Spotted Bee Balm!
2. Wild Columbine - Aquilegia canadensis
Why Wild Columbine, instead of the various cultivars sold at commercial greenhouses? Because our hummingbirds and our wild native Columbine have evolved together. The colors, shapes, patterns, and scents, some undetectable to humans, are exactly what is needed by hummingbirds and pollinators. Besides, how could anything be prettier that the light reds and yellows of this display?
This native perennial reaches 3 feet tall and flowers early, giving hummingbirds an early season food source. It tolerates full sun or full shade, moist or dry soil and will grow in muck, clay, loam, or sand.