Attract More Hummingbirds to a Small Garden

Some hummingbird gardens are little but powerful. Small yards can be gifts. A little yard or patio can be turned into a hummingbird habitat without much effort, time, or money.  

Extra bonus: You'll be closer to the action when the fliers visit. How to attract hummingbirds to a tiny garden with containers, native plants, or both.  

Pots and containers are great for adding greenery to concrete, asphalt, or wooden surfaces. Deck boxes and tiered plant stands enhance decks and patios, while flower boxes enhance balconies.  

Hummingbird-attracting potted flowers and plants are included below. When converted into a "living wall," a house side can become a hummingbird garden. Also consider hanging baskets—large ones accommodate larger prolific bloomers.  

What you grow in containers matters. “A container garden is a wonderful way to provide more habitat for hummingbirds, particularly if you use native plants,” says former National Audubon Society senior director for bird-friendly communities John Rowden.  

First, try penstemon. Cardinal flower and several U.S. native columbines should be considered. “The amazing thing about these plants is they've developed tubular blooms over time,” adds John. Hummingbirds use their beak to get nectar from those blooms, which helps pollinate.  

John also adds that natural flora host native insects well. Hummingbirds love nectar, but they also feed their young insects. "When planting native plants, you support other species' life cycle," explains John. “This gives hummingbirds more resources.”  

In a small yard, you may not see much real estate. But thinking higher opens up practically limitless possibilities. Consider vining. A purple passionflower near a pergola over a cafe table and chairs may be the greatest area in the house to watch hummingbirds.  

Or attach lattice panels to deck railing for seclusion. Then encourage trumpet honeysuckle, another hummingbird favorite, to climb. A pyramid trellis with clematis attracts birds and brightens a dreary yard or patio.  

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