My Green Thumb


As we move toward the winter months, it’s not too early to start planning for spring planting season. It’s always important when planting new things in your gardens to think of using a variety of flowering plants to provide food and habitat for our area’s abundant pollinators such as bees, butterflies and hummingbirds.
Would you like to get rid of those messy time-consuming hummingbird feeders? There is no need for them if you plant plenty of flowering plants around your patios and yards where you can go outside in the fresh air and enjoy watching the hummers feed from a natural source, rather than from a feeder using processed sugar.
An interesting fact about hummingbirds is that they are colorblind to most colors other than reds, oranges and pinks. Even though they are most attracted to the colors they can see, they will still feed on flowers with colors they can’t see, if their favorites aren’t available. They prefer sucrose sugar (processed sugar is from that category) that is more prevalent in the red spectrum of flowers. The other colors produce fructose and glucose sugars, which are preferred by bees and many other pollinators. Butterflies will feed on just about any color of flower.
When it comes to planting your gardens, think twice about what you put near seating areas. Keep the bee-attractors farther away, while placing plenty of butterfly and hummingbird attracting plants nearby. Some common favorites for hummers are Columbine, Hollyhock, Azalea, Bottlebrush, Butterfly Bush, Marigolds, Monkey Flowers and all types of wildflowers. In place of your hummingbird feeders, you can put in hanging Fuchsia baskets to view them through the windows, naturally.
For butterfly attracting, all of the hummingbird plants will do the job, with the addition of Lantana, Yarrow, Lavender, Daisy, all types of Milkweed and any flowering trees, such as Mimosa, Jacaranda and Cassia. Some of these plants produce flowers only during certain months, so check the tags at the nursery to find a combination that will flower and attract our colorful friends all-year-round. Flowering plants not only help our pollinators, they can provide a mood-altering environment for you, only steps from your door. Enjoy your holidays and happy planting.