Plants for Hummingbirds in Houston
by Donald Ray Burger
Attorney at Law

Hummingbirds prefer red and orange flowers, shaped like trumpets. The following is a list of easy-to-grow plants suitable for the Houston area. I must personally observe a hummingbird eating from the plant before it can make this list.

Abelia (Abelia grandiflora). Evergreen shrub in Houston. Long shoots give the plant an airy, arching look. Our canes are up to five feet. White flowers in summer and fall. Drought tolerant. First noticed hummer eating from blooms on September 12, 1998.

Allamanda (Allalmanda cathartica).Perennial vine. Tropical. Prefers high humidity and temperatures above 60 degrees. Beautiful yellow flower. Even though the blooms are not red, hummers love them.

Butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa). Perennial. Full sun. Mine took the freeze of '95 without ill effect. Growth in my garden to 3 to 4 feet. Lanky. Blooms early summer. I have observed hummers feeding on the blooms of this plant.

Cape honeysuckle (Tecomaria capensis). Evergreen vine. Full sun or part shade. Blooms May to August.

Cardinal Flower (Lobelia Cardinalis) Perennial. Prefers moist soil and shade, or at least afternoon shade. It is reputed to not like heat but mine has done fine. Purchased September, 1997.

Esperanza (Tecoma stans 'lonesp') Ours is planted in the ground and grows about 6 to 7 feet tall. Lots of brilliant yellow blooms. Can be planted in a pot. The variation 'augustata' is reputed by several sources to do best in our area. This is one of the best yellow-blooming plants/small trees. Also commonlly called Yellow Bells. Observed hummers feeding on blooms 8/31/01.

Firebush (Hamelia patens). Perennial to three feet in my garden. Full sun. Freezes to the ground if we get an especially cold winter. It will come back, although it does not bloom until mid-summer if it freezes. Blooms last well into fall. Another name for this plant is "hummingbird bush."

Giant Turk's Cap (Malvaviscus arboreus). Perennial. This plant gets big. Ours is at least five feet across and 3-1/2 feet tall. Hummers like it. Lots of blooms. Will freeze back but is root hardy. Prune in spring to keep it in bounds.

Hummingbird Bush (Hamelia patens). See Firebush above.

Lantana (Lantata camara). Evergreen shrub to 2 feet tall in my garden. Full sun. Blooms from spring until frost.

Mexican Bush Sage (Salvia leucantha). This perennial herb becomes two to four feet high. It produces tons of spikes of purple bloom with white tips from spring till fall. Hummingbirds like this plant. Freeze tolerant to the mid twenties. First noticed hummer eating from blooms on September 12, 1998.

Salvia, Lady-in-Red (Salvia ____). This salvia can overwinter here in mild winters. Hummers love its red blooms. It blooms from spring until frost. Around two feet high.

Shrimp Plant (Justicia Brandegeana) Perennial. Native of Mexico. Blooms in summer and fall. Hummingbirds like this plant. It gets to four or five feet tall.

Society Garlic (Tulbaghia violacea). Perennial. Narrow leaves about 12 to 18 inches high. Flower spikes go to two feet with lavendar flowers from spring till winter. Garlic ordor is present only when leaves are crushed. Elegant plant. Easy to grow. No insect or fungus problems. Highly recommended. First noticed hummer eating from blooms on September 12, 1998.

Trumpet honeysuckle (Lonicera senpervirens). Evergreen vine. Full sun or part shade. Blooms May to August.

Trumpet vine (Campsis radicans). Deciduous vine. Full sun. Blooms July to September.

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