En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Saturday - October 08, 2011

From: Toledo , OH
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Wildlife Gardens
Title: Hummingbird plants for OH
Answered by: Anne Bossart

QUESTION:

We live in Toledo, Ohio and would like to have a Hamelia patens or firebush to attract hummingbirds; we are in their migration path. Would it survive outdoors or do we need to pot and move it indoors for winter?

ANSWER:

According to our Native Plant Database Hamelia patens (Scarletbush), also known as Firebush, is native only to Florida, so there is no way it will survive outdoors in Ohio.  You can try to overwinter it indoors but its chances of survival are slim.  Tropical shrubs generally find the indoor air in the wintertime too dry.  Every time I have tried something similar I end up with spider mites by the end of January!

Seeing as you are on the hummingbird migration path, there are plants native to your area that they have been using as a food source long before humans starting hanging out red syrup filled plastic feeders for them.  If you plant these plants in your garden, they will visit you.  In general, hummingbirds prefer red colored flowers with long, tubular throats.You can begin your search for these plants by visiting our Native Plant Database and doing a Combination Search for Ohio.   Unfortunately, we cannot sort the data specifically for hummingbird plants, but if you search for red flowering shrubs and perennials (herbs) and visit the information page for each one by clicking on the link, you will find whether it is a "hummingbird plant".

Here are some recommmendations:

Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)

Lobelia cardinalis (Cardinal flower)

Lonicera sempervirens (Coral honeysuckle)

Monarda didyma (Scarlet beebalm)

Penstemon digitalis (Mississippi penstemon)

If you have these plants in your garden, there will be a constant supply of nectar for the hummingbirds during their stay.  You will find a wealth of information on attracting hummingbirds and other widlife to your garden at The National Wildlife Federation's Garden for Wildlife Website and you will find a very interesting and informative article on designing a hummingbirds garden on the Brooklyn Botanic Garden website here.  I also highly recommend their publication "The Wildlife Gardener's Guide" which is available through Amazon.com

 

From the Image Gallery


Scarletbush
Hamelia patens

Eastern red columbine
Aquilegia canadensis

Cardinal flower
Lobelia cardinalis

Coral honeysuckle
Lonicera sempervirens

Scarlet beebalm
Monarda didyma

Mississippi penstemon
Penstemon digitalis

More Wildlife Gardens Questions

Plants for a mixed hedgerow for privacy and for the birds
May 07, 2010 - What are the best native plants for a mixed hedgerow in a small backyard? I want privacy (heights 5'-10') and bird friendly. Thank you for your information.
view the full question and answer

Little birds for Little Rock
March 21, 2005 - I would like to plant flowers that hummingbirds and butterflies like. I live in Little Rock, Arkansas. What do you suggest?
view the full question and answer

Wildlife Habitat Restoration in Quebec, Canada
December 30, 2009 - Hi there. What are the best trees and shrubs for wildlife restoration in Quebec? thanks!
view the full question and answer

Hummingbird Attracting Plants for Shade in Smithville, TX
March 28, 2012 - I want hummingbird plants for shade.
view the full question and answer

hummingbird attractants
May 03, 2012 - I live in Baytown, Texas and am looking for a variety of plants that attract Hummingbirds, but are also pet friendly. I have two dogs, so this is a major concern. I am putting the plants in my backyar...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center