Letter: Get real when attracting hummingbirds
I read the letter from one of your readers about his effort to eliminate the ants from his hummingbird feeder, the only drawback being it didn’t smell very good. I have another suggestion for him and others who want to invite these wonderful creatures into our garden: Get real!
That is, put real plants in your garden that will attract hummingbirds and other beneficial wildlife. Three hummingbird specific plants that grow well in our area are penstemon, salvia, and agastache. Each has many species; Google each for more varieties.
Blooming in early spring, firecracker penstemon and southwestern penstemon are both native to Arizona or the Southwest. Salvia greggii (also called autumn sage) is a beautiful mounding plant with red flowers, salvia chamaedryoides has blue flowers, and both are adaptable to the Verde area, and both are in bloom while the penstemon are losing their blooms. Agastache blooms late spring or early summer right up to the first frost and come in a staggering number of colors and varieties; one is called “bubblegum mint.”
There are many more perennials that attract humming birds, but these three bloom from early spring to late fall, are low water plants once established, and like full sun. They also have the advantage of perfuming your garden with wonderful fragrances, and you don’t have to refill them like you do feeders.
So kick the hummingbird feeder habit, and spend your time watching the hummingbird action, not cleaning your feeder.