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Flowers for our Feathered Friends

While hummingbird feeders are a great supplemental source of nectar, a native bounty of blooms means more food options.

Given the choice of flower nectar or sugar water, the best choice for our hummingbird friends is always a natural food source. Of course, hummingbird feeders are a great supplemental source of nectar for your local hummingbirds, and can help them through times when there aren’t as many blooming flowers available nearby.

With that in mind, here are some seasonal charts of blooming flowers to provide nature’s bounty for them year-round.

Now, you’ll probably notice there is one season missing. That’s because most hummingbirds in our area, including black-chinned, broad-tailed, ruby-throated and rufous, spend winter in Central or South America.

*Plant species denoted with an asterisk are WaterSaver Coupon eligible.

  • SPRING

  • SUMMER

  • FALL

Design

Since hummingbirds tend to be quite territorial, it may be necessary to replicate small multi-season beds within a longer, larger bed or throughout your landscape. For example, you may wish to plant 5-7 multi-seasonal plants in small beds, adjacent to one another, within a long rectangular beds or use a large oval bed that is divided with paths into quarters or fifths.

Maintenance

After the initial planting, you must water to establish your hummingbird food source. Frequent, but light watering is always paramount. Water 3-6 days a week for 3-6 weeks. Learn more about watering techniques in this video.

After the establishment phase, bimonthly watering is sufficient. Certainly, no more than once a week is necessary. Always add mulch or a mulch/compost mix to your beds in May and September.

Yes, weeding will be necessary, but only every couple of weeks. You can spare a half-hour every two weeks to be outside in the fresh air and sunshine, right?

Mark Peterson
Mark Peterson
Mark A. Peterson is a conservation project coordinator for San Antonio Water System. With over 30 years of experience as an urban forester and arborist, Mark is probably the only person you know who actually prunes trees for fun. When not expounding on the benefits of trees and limited lawns, you’re likely to find him hiking San Antonio’s wilderness parks or expounding on the virtues of geography and history to his friends.
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