The Secret to a Garden Full of Hummingbirds Is Hiding in Your Pantry
And it’s pretty sweet.
If you want to attract hummingbirds to your garden—and who doesn't?—you may already have all the tools you need. Preparing hummingbird nectar, a homemade version of the liquid that hummingbirds need for nourishment, is a prime strategy for making your yard hummingbird central, and it requires just two ingredients: sugar and water.
The National Audubon Society has published a recipe that shows how easy it is to re-create hummingbird food in your own kitchen. Their recipe for hummingbird nectar calls for refined white sugar (a pantry staple) and boiling water (which is easily accessed from the tap and heated on the stove). If you’re thinking about adding dye, reconsider. While dyeing homemade nectar red is an oft-used method, the National Audubon Society says, "There's no need for red dye here. Red coloring is not necessary and the chemicals could prove to be harmful to the birds."
Also, when preparing homemade nectar, be sure to use only refined white sugar. The National Audubon Society explains, "Honey can promote dangerous fungal growth. Organic, natural, and raw sugars contain levels of iron that could be harmful. Plain white table sugar is sucrose, which, when mixed with water, very closely mimics the chemical composition of natural nectar." So, when making hummingbird nectar: stick to the recipe, fill your feeders, and wait for the hummingbirds to arrive.
Another strategy for attracting hummingbirds to your garden is to plant flowers hummingbirds love. Shrubs and vines with brightly colored, tubular flowers are good picks for hummingbirds. Try salvia (Salvia sp.) and wild petunias (Ruellia sp.), as well as plants in the Bignoniaceae family, such as trumpet vine (Campsis radicans) and tecoma (Tecoma sp.). These plants will act as all-natural hummingbird feeders and will also provide beautiful blooms in your garden. Also, for a few hummingbird facts that may surprise you, peruse 3 Things You Didn’t Know About Hummingbirds.
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What strategies do you use to attract hummingbirds to your yard? What’s your go-to hummingbird nectar recipe?