Attracting hummingbirds to your porch by using ribbons and red salvia

Q. I have a lovely garden but have a hard time attracting hummingbirds. The few I do get don't seem to appreciate my sugar-water "nectar" because they don't stay around long. What am I doing wrong?

- L.M., Malden, Mass.

A. You might not be planting the right plants. Hummingbirds, which have very poor smell but excellent eyesight, are attracted to bright colors. The Hummingbirds! Web site suggests hanging red or orange surveyor's tape on feeders to help attract hummers. By hanging the feeder near nectar-rich flowers such as impatiens, columbine, or red salvia, hummers are more likely to sip from them. Plants such as azaleas, mimosa, and weigela are also favorites. But whether hummingbirds sip from your feeder depends on the syrup - a correct ratio of sugar to water is essential. One part white sugar to 4 parts water roughly approximates the sucrose content of flowers. If the solution turns cloudy, it's spoiled and should be replaced. Also, if the outside temperature is above 80 F., clean and refill every three or four days. The feeder should be cleaned once a month with a bleach solution that consists of 1/4 cup bleach to one gallon of water. Rinse well. Do not use soap, as some experts say it can be harmful.

There is an ongoing debate about whether to add red dye to the sugar-water solution. Hummingbird experts say it's unnecessary and the color of the feeder and its proximity to the flowers are important.

According to the Hummer/Bird Study Group, if you have a problem with ants, soak a pipe cleaner in vegetable oil and wrap it around the wire from which the feeder is hanging. The ants will not cross the oily pipe cleaner.

Readers: Pose your questions and we'll seek out experts on home repairs, gardens, food, and family legal issues. Send queries to the Homefront Editor, The Christian Science Monitor, One Norway Street, Boston, MA 02115 or e-mail home@csps.com

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

About these ads
Sponsored Content by LockerDome

We want to hear, did we miss an angle we should have covered? Should we come back to this topic? Or just give us a rating for this story. We want to hear from you.

Loading...

Loading...

Loading...

Save for later

Save
Cancel

Saved ( of items)

This item has been saved to read later from any device.
Access saved items through your user name at the top of the page.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You reached the limit of 20 saved items.
Please visit following link to manage you saved items.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You have already saved this item.

View Saved Items

OK