Gardening for Birds Makes Year-Round Entertainment
12 Portland Plants to feed Hummingbirds
Did you know Hummingbirds stay in Portland over the winter? You can attract these beautiful creatures to your yard, and provide much needed nectar, with a variety of plants. Here is a round up of plants we call “Hummingbird Candy” for every month of the year. If you’d like help integrating these plants into a Garden Design, contact us. Or just add one or two in a pot on the porch!
(Note: plants bloom at different times each year depending on the weather. The plant selection above is typical in Portland.)
Happy Bloomers for Early in the Year
January – Oregon Grape, Mahonia sp., blooms winter through spring, depending on the type. I enjoy Xera’s description of Mahonia x media ‘Charity’. Pair this Mahonia with other natives such as Red Twig Dogwood, Cornus sericea, and a dwarf cultivar of our Western Red Cedar, like Thuja plicata ‘Excelsa’.
February – Witch hazel, Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Diane’, is a winter must have. See the blog post Winter Garden Plants the Sizzle for some ideas where to view these beautiful shrubs in full size. This is one of those plants that improves with age.
March – Flowering Currant, Ribes sanguineum, is a beacon of joy in Portland’s dreary season. The bold pink of this bloom is just so happy! Ribes is one of the easiest Portland native plants to grow. For more easy natives, see Native Plants.
Usher in the Spring with these Reliable Plants
April – California Lilac, Ceanothus sp., is great for Hummingbirds as well as Bees. Pair the small dark-green leaves of Ceanothus impressus ‘Dark Star’ with the strappy light-green foliage of Hakone Grass, Hakonechloa macra. Of course, you’ll need to water that Hakone Grass with drip irrigation until it’s established.
May – Cape Fuchsia, Phygellus sp., is a plant we like so much it has it’s very own blog post: Colorful Cape Fuchsia.
June – Beard Tongue, Penstemon sp. is a wonderful bloomer for drought-tolerant landscaping. Many Penstemon’s are native to the west coast and all attract hummingbirds.
Enjoy the Lazy Days of Summer with Beautiful Blooms
July – Hosta cultivars are an often overlooked hummingbird magnet for shade. See A Pollinator Garden Paradise
August – Crocosmia blooms all summer long, ending around August in my Portland garden. This is often the first plant people think of when they want to attract hummingbirds. Check out some impressive captures in Portland on this instagram account.
September – Anise Sage, Salvia guaranitica, is a favorite of a recent client design and install, see Laurelhurst Neighborhood Backyard.
Keep the Hummingbird Entertainment Going through Fall
October – Hardy Fuchsia, Fuchsia magellanica and hybrids bloom from summer into fall, depending on the type. Portland Nursery always has a nice selection.
November – California Fuchsia, Epilobium sp., is less widely known as others on this list. It blooms the entire fall season, later than most perennials. Pair it with ornamental grasses, which look fabulous at the same time. I might suggest an evergreen sedum or other evergreen groundcover in front of this plant as it gets pretty ugly after the first hard freeze of winter.
December – Camellia sasanqua ‘Yuletide’ and other Camellia’s fill a very important season for hummingbird plants. Some hummingbirds leave for the winter but our native Anna’s Hummingbirds stick it out through the cold and wet. Consider planting a winter-blooming Camellia for these pretty creatures. For more fun winter interest, see Cheery Winter Landscape.
If you are a bird lover who wants more wildlife in their garden, contact us to make an appointment.