Hummingbirds fly forward, backward, sideways…and up, up, up! They go where the food is, and to the colors they love most: red, orange and even rich pink. If you think about it, flowering trees, such as redbud, eucalyptus and mimosa, are nectar favorites, and they’re way above the ground. Hummingbirds have even been spotted checking out rooftop gardens of towering buildings in large cities, so the sky really is the limit.
Bring Them Up High
To make your high-level offerings truly stand out, focus on vivid flowers. For a sunny balcony, geraniums are a solid choice. Their bloom clusters are huge and draw the eye of humans and hummingbirds alike from a distance. But geraniums are generally scanty in nectar, so add a pot or rail box of nectar-rich nasturtiums (long-blooming and easy to start from seed), New Guinea impatiens or other hummingbird-friendly flowers to keep the nectar-seekers there once they arrive. If your balcony is on the shady side, annual shade impatiens (Impatiens walleriana) over a satisfying nectar source and a highly visible attraction.
Maybe your thumb isn’t the greenest. Have no fear—you can always fake it! Wrap a length of red-flowered garland around the rail, stick sprays of fake geraniums into a vase on a bistro table, or fill a railing window box with the brightest red and orange artificial flowers you can find.
Fake blooms work fine to attract their attention, but the birds won’t stick around once they discover your trick. So make sure there’s a sweet payoff . If you use artificial flowers to attract hungry birds, add mini nectar feeders on wire stems to your flowerpots, and make sure your full-size feeder is full of sugar water, close by and visible.
One last trick to get the most out of your high-rise hummingbird haven: Add perches. The tiny birds spend as much as 80 percent of their waking hours at rest. They prefer a relatively high perch with a clear view, so straighten out a wire coat hanger (the perfect diameter for those tiny feet), twist one end onto the railing and bend the top horizontally to provide a lookout. When the busy little birds have an inviting place to sit and rest between rounds of feeding, even high-rise hummingbirds linger a little longer.
Top Flower Picks for Containers on Your Balcony
- Lantana (above)
Add a Fountain
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