One of the great joys of summer is watching hummingbirds hunt for nectar as they migrate through town. I love watching their tiny, shimmering bodies as they dart among a landscape. Their abilities to hover in mid-air and soar with incredible speed are endlessly entertaining.
Rather than using a hummingbird feeder, why not plant some water-wise flowering perennials in your yard to feed them? Not only will you attract hummingbirds with locally-grown nectar, but you’ll get to enjoy the flowers’ beauty, too. You might also attract some striking bees and butterflies to your yard as an added benefit.
Here are four water-wise perennial flowers that attract hummingbirds. All these selections are hardy in Colorado Springs. They die back to the ground in winter, but will regrow every spring. You can see the plants’ size and color in person during a visit to our Xeriscape Demonstration Garden.
One of the hardiest hummingbird attractors, this perennial flower has thin, grey-green leaves that smell like root beer. In late summer, it produces numerous spikes of orange and purple flowers. Plant it in a hot location since it’s native to the high deserts of New Mexico and Arizona.
Orange Carpet Hummingbird Trumpet
This low-growing ground cover attracts hummingbirds with its bright orange flowers. It has a long season of bloom, from July through September. It spreads through underground stems and will slowly fill in an open spot.
Vermillion Bluffs Mexican Sage
This perennial starts blooming in August and continues through late September. It’s bright red flowers spikes make it one of the most highly sought flowers by hummingbirds. It requires a warm location to successfully overwinter. Plant it on a south-facing slope close to a brick wall, boulder or sidewalk. The reflected heat will benefit this Mexican native plant. We’ve been successfully growing this plant at the Xeriscape Demonstration Garden for at least eight years.
Windwalker Royal Red Salvia
This perennial is a vigorous grower with bright red flowers at the tip of each stem. Blooming from July through October, it offers a long season of bloom. Make sure to give this plant enough space, since it can reach four feet tall and four feet wide.
Looking for more water-wise plant ideas for your Colorado Springs landscape? Visit waterwiseplants.org to learn more.
Hummingbird photos by Bill Maynard.