Do Hummingbirds Like Gladiolus?


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Gladioli can brighten up any garden. They are always likely to stand out from the crowd thanks to their bright colors and curious, tubular shapes. It’s also easy to find highly fragrant versions of these flowers, which do a great job at attracting pollinators such as flying insects – but do hummingbirds like gladiolus? 

Hummingbirds love gladiolus gardens! The shapes of these eye-catching flowers are perfectly shaped for their beaks, and their maximum height growth tends to be perfect for a hovering hummer to approach. Their amazing arrays of colors, too, are always likely to appeal to pollen-hunting animals.

Why are gladioli great for hummingbirds?

Suppose you’ve taken the time to learn about the best ways to attract hummingbirds to your garden. In that case, you will likely already know that flowers such as gladiolus are firm favorites because of their bright, orange, red, yellow, and fuchsia colors. However, they often arrive in further shades of blue and even green.

What’s more, gladioli tend to grow a little taller than most flowers, up to four feet in height. That’s perfect for a hummingbird flying in that doesn’t have to hover too close to the ground for a quick peek.

Gladiolus as a plant grows a little bit like grass from its roots. It’s referred to as a ‘sword’ by some horticulturists. However, it is certainly the vibrant burst of flowers that both gardeners and hummingbirds are most enamored with.

Gladioli’s flowers bloom open in tube-like spires, creating nice, deep openings where hummingbirds can easily pop their beaks in and enjoy the odd spot of nectar. Thankfully, the gladiolus is famous for being full of golden pollen and nectar – meaning it’s always going to be a firm favorite among wild yard owners.

Hummingbirds usually won’t be too picky with the colors and styles of gladiolus you plant and grow. However, if you want to plant them to attract other animals to your garden, remember to avoid depending on red – as insects such as bees won’t be able to see such flowers very well.

How do I grow gladioli in my yard to attract hummingbirds?

Gladioli are highly versatile and can be grown in borders, pots, flower gardens, and vegetable plots. In many ways, they are among some of the easiest hummingbird-friendly flowers you’ll hope to grow in your garden. The added benefits to these colorful plants include the fact that they are hardy in the wintertime, providing you grow them in USDA zones 7, 8, 9, or 10

If attracting the hummingbirds is what you have in mind, then it is best to choose brightly colored gladioli in a variety of shades and hues. However, you may prefer to choose one or two colors to help keep uniformity. If this is the case, be sure to choose something bright and striking – pinks, oranges, and yellows, for example. 

Once you have chosen your corms or bulbs, you will need to choose the perfect spot to plant them in your garden. Gladioli need plenty of sunlight, so choose an area that is in full sun during the day. Of course, they can potentially still grow if they are partially covered in the shade – however, they fare better out in the warmth (and you have more chance of getting the best color).

They also need soil that will drain very well. If gladioli stay in water for too long, then their roots and the corms will rot. Sandy, loam soil is the best choice (and it’s a good idea to get to know your soil types if you can). However, they can grow well in raised beds, providing you ensure that the soil has been loosened at least to about 12 inches deep – you can then plant your corms. 

Wherever you plant the gladioli, it is best to fertilize the soil before planting them. Always opt for organic fertilizer, then add more once the plants reach about ten inches in height and again when the flowers develop color. Although this may seem excessive, it will help to keep your gladioli well fed and growing healthily throughout the seasons. 

As gladioli are stunning but can fade relatively quickly, it would be wise for you to plant them every two weeks from spring until the summer – this way, you can ensure they bloom well during the warmer months when hummingbirds are likely to be most active and looking for nectar. Of course, if you want to feed hummingbirds during winter, there are separate actions you can take.

It is always a good idea to stake gladiolus directly into the ground to help protect it during rain, wind, or storms. Moreover, gladioli flowers can get very heavy for the vertical plants to hold up – so it’s a good idea to support them to stop withering.

It’s also worth noting that gladioli can suffer from various plant diseases. While they are relatively easy to plant and let grow, they do still need a little care from you over time.

You shouldn’t need to prune your gladioli during their lifetime. However, it is best to de-head them to avoid dropping seeds all over your flower beds. Once they have flowered, they are pretty much yours to do what you will with them! If you do plan on cutting them to put the flowers in your home, then it is best to leave at least four leaves on the plant’s stem to help the plant persist for the year after – and to attract a new legion of hummingbirds.

Are gladioli the best flowers to attract hummingbirds?

Hummingbirds are famously curious in their investigation of a whole variety of plant species, and gladioli happen to be some of the richest in nectar and boldest in color. They are easy to propagate in the right conditions, and while you can rely on them to bring fluttering wings back to your yard, it’s a good idea to arrange a variety of different blooms alongside.

Hummingbirds enjoy visiting a variety of interesting natural specimens, including the Rose of Sharon, bee balm, and a host of simple, potted flowers. What’s also highly interesting is that hummingbirds enjoy flowers of the crepe myrtle and other trees – compared to some more discerning pollinators, these avians tend to enjoy a broad diet.

About The Author
Robert has been an avid birdwatcher pretty much his entire life. Living in the suburbs he does his best to bring wild birds into his backyard. He currently has 13+ bird feeders in his yard and also raises and races homing pigeons. Robert writes part-time for Wild Yards, mostly about the subject he cares most about - birds.

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