Hummingbird magnet was the phrase that kept running through my head as I gathered plants for this container. Watching the antics of these delightful winged acrobats buzzing in and out of my garden was so entertaining, I wanted to see if I could draw them in closer by creating a veritable candy store of flowers in a container.
Hummingbirds are especially drawn to red and orange tubular and funnel-shaped flowers. This arrangement experiments a bit by mixing the tried and true varieties with others to create a pot full of goodies. The resulting riot of colors and forms delights both hummingbirds and garden guests alike.
The tall wands of Verbena-on-a stick, Tropical Butterfly weed and the Yellow Shrimp Plant give height to the container. Upright and mounding plants fill in while cascading varieties soften the edges. Hot blooms of red, orange and yellow are tempered by flowers in blue, lavender, and light green.
Hummingbirds feeding on these flowers providing hours of entertainment. It's best to plant this container in the spot where you know you will enjoy watching these tiny wonders because once filled, the pot becomes quite heavy, particularly after watering. This is a great project to share with children.
(1) Terra Cotta Container – 20" diameter X 16" deep (I used a New England Pottery Terra Sienna™ Standard pot. This pot is available at garden centers across the country.)
(1) 1 gallon Tropical Butterfly Weed (Asclepias curassavica)
(2) 1 quart Verbena-on-a-Stick (Verbena bonariensis)
(2) 1 quart rose Salvia (Salvia splendens)
(3) 3" pot 'Red Butterfly' Pentas (Pentas lanceolate 'Red Butterfly')
(2) 1 gallon Shrimp Plant (Pachystacea lutea)
(1) 1 gallon Yellow Bells ( Tecoma stans)
(3) 1 quart Lime Nicotiana
(1) 12" hanging basket cut in half Batface Cuphea (Cuplea llavea)
(2) 1 quart Petunia
Things to Keep in Mind:
- Because there are numerous plants in one container, increased attention should be paid to watering and fertilization.
- Avoid using sprays that would be harmful to the hummingbirds. Remember, they feed not only on the flower nectar, but also on insects.
- Find a sheltered location for the container, so the blooms stay put while the birds dine.
Terra Cotta Tip: Inexpensive terra cotta is generally soft and porous, making it fragile and more susceptible to breaking in cold weather. What happens is water collects in the pores of the clay and when it freezes, it expands and shatters the container.
I think it makes a lot of sense to spend a little extra money and get a higher grade terra cotta, like an Italian made container. It's denser and less vulnerable to damage.
Now if you have trouble with heavy lifting try a container made from fiber glass or plastic. These days you can find containers made in these light weight materials that actually look nice.