Why Attract Hummingbirds?
Hummingbirds are really fun to watch and they are important to the environment. Attracting hummingbirds and birds in general can help maintain the amount of bugs in your area and can help to spread seeds around the neighborhood as they travel from plants to trees. It is very rewarding to find ways to attract birds to your deck or balcony planters. One of my favorites is the Ruby-throated hummingbird. (see diagram from Cornell University Dept. of Ornithology for their range)
Growing colorful annuals in your planters is one surefire way to bring small nectar loving birds…mainly hummingbirds to watch close up. The color red is often an attractant. Color is the keyword to remember along with deep throat floral displays.
Hummingbirds seeking nectar from your flowers will also capture many insects including spiders, tiny flying insects, and those insects that feed on your flowers, all which provide a great source of dietary protein for the bird. And, occasionally hummingbirds will consume mosquitos.
Attracting Hummingbirds in Sun or Shade
A sunny spot on your deck or balcony can attract lots of hummingbirds and butterflies with the help of colorful annuals such as flowing Petunias, Salvias, Geraniums, Verbena, Snapdragons, Lantana and Calibrachoa can be combined to create a miniature garden in just one planter box.
Shaded areas can also provide the bright colors that attract hummingbirds. While comparatively fewer shade-loving plants produce bright enough flowers to act as a beacon for hummingbirds, impatiens and begonias are an exception, with flowers that bloom in vibrant oranges, reds and bright pinks.
There are dozens of Begonias, Fuchsias, several varieties of Impatiens, Lobelia, Wishbone Flower, Browallia and Nasturtium are also among classic planters and container summer plants. If it is colorful and or has a fragrance, hummingbirds (and butterflies) will find it. Even a small number of plants can make a big impact in a colorless, shady area.
Having a colorful planter on your balcony or porch is a wonderful way to invite hummingbirds to visit. Put one up this season and enjoy the view!