To attract hummingbirds, such as the ruby-throated hummingbird, provide them with the following four things in your balcony garden.
1. Tubular-shaped flowers. Hummingbirds will visit bright red or orange tubular-shaped flowers. See the list of container plants below that will attract hummingbirds. When planting flowers for hummingbirds, do not use hybrid flowers, as they often have much less nectar than wild types.
2. Sugar water. Fill a hummingbird feeder with purchased or homemade nectar. To make your own nectar, boil and then cool 4 parts water to 1 part sugar (4 cups of water with 1 cup of sugar, for example). Do not use red food coloring to tint the water red – instead use red or orange tape or ribbon to tie around a hummingbird feeder, or purchase a red-tinted feeder to begin with. Clean hummingbird feeders every few days and refill with fresh sugar water.
3. Moving water. If you have a birdbath, insert a mister or sprinkler into it, as hummingbirds like to fly in and out of spraying water.
4. Perches. It is unlikely that hummingbirds will perch in your balcony garden, especially if you are out and about often. If you have some good perching sites, such as twigs or a clothesline, hummingbirds may rest there.
A note about pesticides: Do not allow pesticides to get onto the hummingbirds’ flowers, as birds should not ingest them. Pesticides may also kill small insects that provide essential protein for hummingbirds.
20 Plants for Hummingbirds
1. Azalea (Rhododendron spp.)
2. Hyssop species
3. Phlox species
4. Butterflyweed (Asclepias spp.)
5. Lantana species
6. Morning glory (Ipomoea purpurea)
7. Bee balm (Monarda spp.)
8. Canna species
9. Cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis)
10. Columbine (Aquilegia spp.)
11. Four o'clocks (Mirabilis jalapa)
12. Foxglove (Digitalis spp.)
13. Hosta species
14. Hummingbird mint (Agastache spp.)
15. Lupine (Lupinus spp.)
16. Penstemon species
17. Fuchsia species
18. Impatiens species
19. Petunia species
20. Salvia species