Hummingbirds are the motorcycles of the bird world. They are small, nimble, and fast. They are brightly colored and their high-speed antics are a delight to watch.
Fortunately it’s easy to attract these speed racers to your yard! Hummingbirds enjoy flowers that are red, orange, or pink. They also prefer tubular-shaped flowers which hold a large amount of nectar, because unlike motorcycles, hummingbirds need a lot of fuel for their high-energy lifestyle.
Three popular hummingbird plants for Volusia County are: Firebush (Hamelia patens), Shrimp Plant (Justicia brandegeana), and Coral Honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens) among many others. All produce red-orange tubular flowers throughout the year, providing nourishment for both native and visiting hummingbirds.
The Firebush is a must-have for any nature lover. Grown in a sunny or partially sunny spot, it is a fast grower and prolific bloomer. Once it is established, it can survive on seasonal rains alone. Firebush will die back to the ground after a hard freeze but will re-sprout vigorously in the spring. This excellent Florida native also benefits other pollinators such as butterflies and bees: spring, summer, and fall it is alive with winged activity! Make sure you purchase the native Firebush.
The Shrimp Plant is a medium-sized bush with profuse red shrimp-shaped flowers. It will flourish in full or partial-sun and is very attractive when several are massed together. Shrimp plants appreciate supplemental water during a drought and they may drop a few leaves after a frost, but are otherwise easy to grow.
Coral Honeysuckle is a fabulous evergreen vine. Plant this Florida native next to a trellis or fence in a sunny location and it will reward you with abundant red flowers. Coral Honeysuckle is amazingly carefree, requiring only occasional pruning to keep it in bounds.
For best results, place several hummingbird plants near your windows or porch so you can enjoy these delightful, high-energy racers all year long.
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This article was contributed by Leslie Nixon, a Master Gardener Trainee in Volusia County