Give and You’ll Get… Hummingbirds!

By Abby Lapides Elliott
Sugar Creek Gardens

We all want them. And if we already have them, we want even more. Hummingbirds. Planting their top food sources will bring you the hummers along with beautiful blossoms. The birds are hard wired into searching for tubular flowers. Enter Hummingbird Mint, Agastache, beautiful perennial herbs that are adored by many flying creatures. Plant these delights and you can expect swarms of hummingbirds, butterflies, bees and other pollinators as they can’t resist its nectar rich blossoms. Hummingbird Mint’s aromatic leaves have a spicy, licorice-like scent. Very easy to grow in full sun, in any, well-drained soil, and theyhave excellent resistance to browsing deer and rabbits. A few of my favorite varieties include:

  • Create a brilliant show of color with Rosie Posie Hummingbird Mint, an extremely long blooming two-toned Agastache selection. Plump plumes of rosy pink flowers with rich purple calayxes (outer flower section) top neat mounds of mint scented foliage. A vast improvement over older varieties, it may be the longest blooming Hummingbird Mint ever. The calyxes are very long lasting giving the plant the look that it is blooming long after it has finished.
  • The luxurious deep violet-blue flower plumes of Blue Boa Hummingbird Mint, Agastache are held over emerald green foliage. The flower spikes are long, wide and extremely showy. Its huge, 6 1/2” flowers could be the largest of all Agastaches. Very long blooming, you can expect flowers for 4 months. It’s drought tolerant once established.
  • A long time favorite, Bolero Hummingbird Mint, Agastache starts its brilliant color show in spring with its dark bronzy foliage. Majestic plumes of brilliant rose-purple tubular flowers with purple calyxes (outermost whorl of parts that form a flower) bloom all summer into fall. Very free flowering, it makes an excellent choice for gardens and containers.

To attract more winged beauties to your garden plant a few of the Missouri native perennial Milkweeds. Butterfly Milkweed, Asclepias tuberosa, serves as an adult nectar source and a larval food source of the Monarch butterfly, and also attracts other butterflies, hummingbirds and pollinators. Eye-poppingtangerine orange or vibrant yellow flowers appear for most of the summer. Cutting back spent flowers will stimulate another bloom cycle. Its showy seedpods are a lovely addition to dried flower arrangements. Other pollinator favorites include Salvias, Butterfly Bushes, Bellflowers, Clematis, Coneflowers, and Beebalms.

To see images, descriptions and growing instructions for these and other hummingbird and butterfly favorites visit Sugarcreekgardens.com.