Photos by Leslie Halleck

In The Garden: Feed the Hummingbirds

The birds are back in town.

It feels like spring came a bit late this year, what with all the rain and cool temps. The hummingbirds also seemed a bit tardy. But along with the sunshine that’s finally come out in the last few days, the hummingbirds have also arrived.

Crossvine is typically one of the blooming plants to attract nesting hummingbirds.
Crossvine is typically one of the blooming plants to attract nesting hummingbirds.

The species of hummingbirds that we see here in Dallas spend their winters in Mexico and Central America. Hummingbirds typically begin arriving in the Dallas area in late-March; usually just in time to take advantage of blooming plants like crossvine (which was stunning this year), coral honeysuckle and buckeyes. It seems though that my late arrivals just missed the crossvine bloom explosion. What did catch their eye was my white autumn sage, which has been blooming it’s head off the past week.

I noticed either a female ruby-throated hummingbird, or a black-chinned hummingbird (It’s hard to distinguish the two at a distance) working the plants this weekend. I suddenly realized I’d been remiss in filling up my hummingbird feeders for their spring arrival!

White autumn sage, and salvias of all kinds, attract hummingbirds.
White autumn sage, and salvias of all kinds, attract hummingbirds.

If you want to attract hummingbirds to your garden and you haven’t yet put out feeders, now’s the time. Plants hummingbirds love typically produce tubular flowers that accommodate their long tongues. While hot colored flowers (red, orange, yellow), tend to be preferred, the hummingbirds in my yard are just as happy to feed on white, blue and purple salvias.

In order to see an abundance of hummingbirds in your garden, you need to attract a female to nest in spring. By putting out hummingbird feeders late-March and planting specific spring-blooming plants, you can entice a female to take up residence nearby if other conditions are right. Plants they love in Dallas gardens include esparanza, crossvine, salvia, honeysuckle, columbine and red yucca.

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