Summer Blooms & Attracting Hummingbirds with Mike Darcy

July 28, 2017

In my garden, we have many potted plants on our deck and the plants that I select must withstand the hot summer sun. Most of the areas on our deck receive sun from morning and continuing throughout the day. There are some areas that get some partial shade in the morning, but for the most part, the hot summer sun beats down on our deck. So, I have to choose plants that can withstand the summer sun and I like to select plants that are also hummingbird attractants. I often refer to these as “bonus plants” because they not only provide summer color but also attract hummingbirds. There are many plants that fit this category but here are several of my favorites.

I had always thought that begonias were plants that needed shade and so I was pleasantly surprised to discover Begonia ‘Bonfire© Orange’. I must admit that I was skeptical about it flourishing in the sun, but over the past few years I have had it in a sunny location and it has thrived. The plants are usually in bud or bloom when I buy them in the spring and they continue flowering profusely all summer. By mid-summer, the begonia has trailed down over the pot and has completely covered it. Hummingbirds love the brightly colored flowers and so do I. Flowering continues throughout the summer and, depending on the weather, usually into October.

Salvia is a must have plant on my deck and I always have several pots of different varieties. My two favorites are Salvia guaranitica ‘Black & Blue’ and ‘Amistad’. The ‘Black & Blue’, is as the name indicates, a blue flower that has black stems. The ‘Amistad’ has purple flowers and by removing the old flower stems, both plants will continue to bloom all summer. Last year I tried a new Salvia called ‘Saucy Red’. At first, I was disappointed as it did not bloom much in the summer but in about September, it burst into flower and continued very heavy bloom through October. It has a sort of dirty red color which I find very attractive. All of these Salvia’s are hummingbird magnets and it is fun to sit on the deck and watch these very territorial birds guard their plants.


There are many other plants that fit into the ‘hummingbird magnet’ category and I am sure we all have our favorites. Since the plants I have mentioned are all in pots, they require some extra care but I think they are well worth it. Plants in pots tend to dry out quicker than plants in the ground and so it is important to make sure your plants have adequate water. On hot days, I water my plants once a day and I will sometimes spray the foliage with water on very hot afternoons. Also, being in a pot, they will probably need some additional fertilizer during the season to keep them healthy and blooming.

If you have never tried growing these plants in pots, give it a try. It is not too late and you can enjoy flowers and hummingbirds the rest of the summer.