The Boozy-Sounding Plant That’ll Attract Hummingbirds To Your Yard In The Winter

The Boozy-Sounding Plant That'll Attract Hummingbirds To Your Yard In The Winter

Hummingbirds are fascinating to watch, but they are fast and usually leave our sight before we can observe them properly. You can spot them in your yard from late winter to early spring, usually from February to May, depending on your location. Hummingbirds have different habits depending on their location; they usually stay in the same place in California, but in other parts of the United States, they migrate to Central America as the temperatures drop. If you want to see more hummingbirds in your yard during winter, you can attract them with plants that they like to drink from. Salvia gesneriiflora ‘Tequila,’ commonly known as Salvia Tequila, is an excellent plant due to its nectar and color.

Hummingbirds enjoy catching and eating flies, but they also need a lot of sugar from nectar to give them the energy to catch flies, migrate, and live their daily lives. Their quick pace of life requires them to remain active, which, in turn, demands many calories. Winter is a difficult time for many species, but hummingbirds have it even harder if they can’t find enough flies and nectar during the coldest part of the year since they require so much energy.

Why Salvia Tequila is good for hummingbirds

red salvia plant

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Salvia is a gorgeous flowering plant that grows spikes full of small flowers. They’re available in several colors ranging from red to blue. The ‘Tequila’ cultivar is noted for its fiery red hues that are sure to attract pollinators and flower-loving humans. What makes them such a great choice for hummingbirds is that this plant blooms in late winter in zones 9-11, and possibly down to zone 8 if you can protect them from frost. Having blooms available in winter is crucial for hummingbird survival, even in areas where the weather is mild all year long. Salvia Tequila occasionally blooms throughout the year, so while it’ll be a staple in your winter garden, you may benefit from its gorgeous colors year-round.

Salvia plants typically thrive in full sunlight, but Salvia Tequila does better in dappled sunlight, where it can receive ample shade throughout the day. It bushes out like a shrub, and it can reach up to 9 feet tall. It makes a great backdrop in a pollinator garden and fits nicely under tall trees. It’s a common misconception that hummingbirds need red tubular flowers. Though the Saliva Tequila fits the bill, hummingbirds can benefit from any flower with nectar, even if it’s flat and blue, allowing you to create a diverse pollinator garden that is sure to attract hummingbirds.

Understanding a hummingbird’s habits

hummingbird feeding on purple flower

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Pollinator gardens are a generous form of gardening since you choose plants specifically to attract wildlife to your yard. If you want to create a space like this to attract hummingbirds, cater to their needs. Remember that many species of hummingbirds head south for the winter, usually ending up in Mexico or Central America. As they travel, they need flies and nectar to have enough energy to make the trip. Hummingbird Central has a great video about the 2023 migration that will give you an idea of when and where you can expect to see hummingbirds.

If you live in USDA zones 9 to 11, you can grow Salvia Tequila for hummingbirds in your area for the winter. Not every hummingbird species takes a winter trip to Mexico, so you might be able to attract them to your pollinator garden if you live somewhere with a mild winter.

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Dr Heidi Parkes

By Dr Heidi Parkes

Senior Information Extension Officer QLD Dept of Agriculture & Fisheries.