Hummingbirds are among our most beautiful garden inhabitants. “Hummers’ are easy to attract.

There are many varieties of hummingbird feeders at your favorite garden store. The preferred nectar is a mixture of 4 cups of water and 1 cup of sugar, heated for three minutes in your microwave and stirred until the sugar is dissolved and cooled.

Store the excess in the refrigerator and change every four days to prevent souring, cleaning the feeder each time nectar is added. Prepared nectar is available at stores.

Place the feeders where you can easily see them, about 5 feet off the ground. Flowers – Hummers love nectar from these East Texas flowers: foxglove, cardinal flowers, salvias, snapdragons, Turk’s cap, trumpet vines, wild columbine, red iris, lilies and many others. Red is their favorite blossom color.

Hummers vary on when they arrive usually March or April, and leave in October or November.

Mac McKennon, former Smith County Master Gardener
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service


(Source: Native Plants Spring 2003 Issue)

Every spring homeowners across America ponder new ways to attract hummingbirds to their gardens. Here in East Texas we provide lots of nourishment for the hummers as they migrate north. But for many of the little “winged jewels,” East Texas is their home during the spring and summer months. So how can we attract them to our gardens? And how can we keep them around for a longer period if they are traveling northward?

Of course the old standby attraction is the hummingbird feeder with sugar water. The next best way is plants advertised as “hummingbird and butterfly” plants. But there is a better way to attract and keep these “jewels” in our gardens!

As we know hummers are typically migratory and they follow long established routes based on the flowering schedules of native plants! Yes, nectar producing native plants is the key to attracting and keeping hummers around longer. Plant a variety of natives that bloom successively through the season so you always have blooms to offer them. Beyond the appeal to the hummingbird, native plants benefit the local ecosystems and reduce maintenance costs because they are already adapted to the soil, moisture, pests and the weather conditions. Check with your local nursery to see what plants are native to your area. Keep in mind what hummers like: plants that bloom during the day; plants with large quantities of nectar, with long, narrow tubes; and plants with no scents.

Some native suggestions for East Texas homeowners are Trumpet Honeysuckle (also known as Coral Honeysuckle), the Trumpet Vine and Red Columbine.

Your efforts to attract the hummingbirds will be rewarded and bring you much enjoyment.

Susan Wiggins, Smith County Master Gardener
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service

Posted in Birds, Butterflies & Wildlife