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When it comes to tropical flowers, hibiscus is arguably one of the most attractive and most popular. It’s also extremely easy to pot and grow, making it a popular choice for home flower bed cultivators. But what about attracting animals? Do hibiscus attract hummingbirds?
Yes – hibiscus are fantastic at attracting hummingbirds. Thanks to their array of vibrant colors, unique scents and handy nectar-sharing shape, the hibiscus remains a firm favorite bloom among hummingbirds in the US.
If you’re considering attracting hummingbirds to your backyard, planting a few hibiscus may be the best way to start. Let’s take a look at hummingbirds, hibiscus, and everything in between.
Do hummingbirds like hibiscus?
Yes – to say hummingbirds like hibiscus is a bit of an understatement! However, it is well worth experimenting with different species and colors. Hibiscus is well-liked amongst gardeners as it tends to be very versatile – and their flowers can grow to be truly huge, around six inches across at largest.
Hummingbirds love a variety of different tropical plants and flowers, however, hibiscus usually fits the bill thanks to its sheer extravagance. It’s easy to attract hummingbirds to your garden when you know how, but don’t be afraid to get choosy with the blooms.
What’s more, hummingbirds may show interest in one or more types of hibiscus – hardy or tropical – depending on where you live in the US. A little more on zones and types of hibiscus below.
Why do hummingbirds love hibiscus so much?
Hibiscus offers an incredible treat for the senses, particularly for hummingbirds in search of big, colorful flowers that give off a strong bouquet – and the promise of nectar.
Hibiscus flowers – across their various types and varieties – are incredibly colorful and are very hard to ignore. What’s more, they carry a distinct, pleasing scent that makes a hummingbird’s trip into the nectar all the more desirable.
It is the nectar factor, of course, that drives the hummingbird towards hibiscus. These flowers, which can grow on both trees and shrubs, are rich in nectar, which hummingbirds scour for day in, day out. Hummingbirds are famously voracious thanks to the number of calories they burn off each day, and therefore, they will always hunt down a big, bright flower or two with the promise of a sweet nectar treat.
Hibiscus flowers are also shaped to the hummingbird’s benefit. Hummingbirds hunt for flowers and blooms that have long, tube-shaped or tubular shapes. This allows them to drink the nectar from deep into the plant. The nectar nestled deep within the stamen or flower core is in an ideal spot for the long beaks and tongues of hummingbirds to probe into, and therefore get their nectar with ease.
Ultimately, hibiscus presents the perfect package for the average hummingbird. They’re big, bright, smell great, are full of nectar, and have ideally shaped stamens to help them eat.
How do I grow hibiscus?
Growing hibiscus is relatively simple, though you will need to ensure you plant either hardy hibiscus or tropical hibiscus depending on where you live in the US. If you’re not sure where you are in the country in terms of hardiness, be sure to take a look at the USDA’s plant hardiness zone map.
The lower your zone number, the more likely it is you will need to grow hardy hibiscus. This variant is great for growing in zones 5 through 8. The tropical hibiscus, meanwhile, is ideal for growing across zones 9, 10 and 11, which tend to be much warmer.
Beyond this distinction, hibiscus plants, shrubs and flowers are famously easy to propagate. They flourish in the warmer months and need a lot of attention, however, this is never trickier beyond making sure they get a lot of water and fertilizer during their growing and blooming periods. This plant loves plenty of light – particularly the tropical variety – meaning you’re going to want to keep them out of the shade most of the time. Five to six hours of direct sunlight will likely be enough.
What’s also worth remembering, however, is that hibiscus can sometimes have a habit of growing a little out of control. Be sure to carefully prune these plants if they start to intrude on other residents of your pots or flower beds.
You may wish to grow a hibiscus in a pot – and it’s perfectly possible! Always make sure to bed your hibiscus down snugly, and to ensure that your pot has plenty of drainage.
No matter your hardiness zone, make sure to get any hibiscus plants in your garden inside before the night freezes over regularly. You won’t need to provide your hibiscus with much water in the colder seasons, but it’s still worth taking good care of them.
Can I attract other wild animals with hibiscus?
Hibiscus is a great flower for creating a miniature tropical safari in your own backyard. As these plants tend to smell very sweet and really splash color across any garden area, it’s likely you will also get plenty of attention from butterflies, who will also be on the lookout for colorful places to flit across and occasionally rest.
Is it worth planting hibiscus to attract hummingbirds?
Yes! Hummingbirds are truly gorgeous creatures that will help to transform any backyard into a wild yard. Hibiscus plants are easy to grow and help flourish – simply make sure you water and feed them regularly, and that you keep them out in the warm.
Both hummingbirds and hibiscus flowers are highly rewarding to host in your backyard – so why not combine the two? They have a mutually beneficial relationship, and in return, you can add some wonderful color and focal points to your garden.
If you’re already sure you have a hummingbird nest or two in your backyard, then why not give them a little bit extra to eat – and encourage them to stay around for a little longer – with some gorgeous hibiscus?