Hummingbirds and Butterflies

Now that the temperatures are starting to warm up and flowers are blooming, the hummingbirds and butterflies are buzzing around my backyard. I love to watch them, they just amaze me.

Have you ever thought about what you can add to your backyard to attract more hummingbirds and butterflies to your outdoor space? Here are a few ideas to get you started~


Zdenek Machacek Photo, courtesy of Unsplash

For centuries, gardeners have been fascinated with the beauty and aerobatics of hummingbirds. The key to attracting hummingbirds to your yard is to plant lots of flowers and provide the habitat that will give them shade, shelter, food, water, and security.

  • Herbs, flowering shrubs, dwarf trees, and vines can all be used to create an ideal tiered habitat from ground level to 10 feet or more.
  • Provide lots of space between plants to give hummingbirds enough room to hover and navigate from flower to flower.
  • Hummingbirds love water, especially if it’s moving. A gentle, continuous spray from a nozzle or a sprinkler hose is perfect for a bath on the fly.
  • Hummingbirds do not have a keen sense of smell and rely on bright colors to find their food.
  • They are particularly fond of red and are often observed investigating feeders with red parts, red plant labels, red thermometers, and even red clothes on a gardener. Note: Do not use red dye in a hummingbird feeder; there is concern that it may harm the birds. Instead, use plain, clear sugar water (1 part white sugar mixed with 4 parts water). The birds love it! If your feeder does not have red on it, attach a red label or other item to attract them.
  • Brightly-colored flowers that are tubular hold the most nectar, and are particularly attractive to hummingbirds. These include perennials such as bee balmscolumbines, daylilies, and lupines; biennials such as foxgloves and hollyhocks; and many annuals, including cleomes, impatiens, and petunias.

*This information is copied from the Old Farmer’s Almanac.


Christopher Paul High Photo, courtesy of Unsplash

To attract butterfly’s to your backyard you need to know what they need. The list includes sunny open spaces, shelter from the wind, and fresh water. They also need plants where they can lay their eggs.

You will need to include food sources in the form of host plants for caterpillars and nectar plants for butterflies. Stick to native plants, as those will encourage the native species of caterpillars and butterflies. Consult your local garden center or Cooperative Extension service for more information on native plants.

Flowers that offer fragrance and nectar are great options for attracting butterflies. These fabulous pollinators are just as interested in a colorful array of flowers as mother’s on Mother’s Day. So go bold, enjoy some color in your backyard and watch the flying friends flock to your outdoor space.

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