While planting a garden for hummingbirds can be beautiful and rewarding at any time of year, it is especially important during the winter months in Houston, Texas. We may not have a lot of really cold weather, but winter is a time when food, water and shelter can become scarce for our birds. A Houston, Texas garden that is planted especially for our winter hummingbirds can be the best solution for everyone. The hummingbirds enjoy the food and shelter, and in return you get to enjoy them! Below are some flowers to plant in your Houston, Texas garden to help our hummingbirds survive until spring.
Fuchsia. Fuchsias are the perfect flowers to plant in your Houston, Texas garden in winter. If you plant them in January they will bloom all winter through May, and tolerate the cold down to 35 degrees (cover them up if the temperature dips below that at night.) Bella Rosella is a good variety for attracting hummingbirds to your Houston, Texas garden, where it looks beautiful in hanging baskets or container gardens. It will also bring butterflies to your garden. Plant them in your winter hummingbird garden in partial sun to light shade.
Texas Scarlet Flowering Quince. This shrub will brighten your Houston, Texas winter garden with its gorgeous scarlet flowers. It will bloom from January through March in your garden, bringing hungry hummingbirds to your flowers. This variety of Quince can reach heights of six feet, and does best in full to partial sun. It can tolerate the cold down to zero degrees, too. The Black-chinned Hummingbird especially enjoys this flower.
Tangerine Belle Flowering Maple. This shrub can reach heights of up to ten feet in your Houston, Texas winter garden. Plant it in partial sun and it will begin to bloom in February, with bell-shaped flowers that will attract hummingbirds to your Houston, Texas garden. This shrub easily survives the Houston winter, and does best in well-drained soil.
Carolina Yellow Jessamine. Plant this perennial vine in full to partial sun in your Houston, Texas winter garden. It will bloom from January through April with yellow flowers that will attract hummingbirds to your garden. This Texas native should not be planted where small children and pets can get into it, as it is poisonous.
Edging Lobelia. The purple, blue and white flowers of this plant will bloom from November through May, attracting hummingbirds to your winter garden. Plant it in filtered or morning sun, where its cascading blooms are perfect for mixed borders and rock gardens.
Other winter blooming flowers for Houston, Texas hummingbirds include Abutilon, Salvias, Fountain Plants, Shrimp Plants, and Pentas (the last three will need protection from the cold to keep them blooming.)
Hummingbird visitors to look for.
Rufous Hummingbird. These brilliant orange birds are winter residents of Houston, Texas, and will enjoy visiting your Fuchsias. These hummingbirds are funny to watch, as they will drive away much larger hummingbirds in order to enjoy their feast. Identify them in your Houston, Texas garden from their slender, straight bill (it has only the slightest curve) as well as their bright orange back and belly. The females have bright green backs.
Black-chinned Hummingbird. Recognize this little bird from its green back and the thin iridescent purple stripe that borders its black chin. They winter along the Gulf Coast, and will hover over your flowers to enjoy any insects that swarm their way. This hummingbird will also drive off competitors.
The Rufous and Black-chinned Hummingbirds are the most common Houston, Texas winter residents but Allen’s, Anna’s, Broad-tailed and Buff-bellied Hummingbirds are also winter residents, and will be attracted to your garden as well.
Happy gardening and birding!