|Painted Lady butterfly on Agastache |
(photo by Curtis Utley, Jefferson County Extension)
There are several types of hummingbirds that live in Colorado. The most common is the broad-tailed hummingbird. Others that we may see from time to time include rufous, calliope, and black-chinned hummingbirds. During the summer we see hummingbirds most frequently in the foothills and the mountains, because they nest in these areas.
It is a little harder to attract hummingbirds to our gardens than it is to attract butterflies. First of all, the garden must be visible to them from 30 to 50 feet overhead. The colors must be vivid in order to catch their eyes on their migratory trips from mid-April to mid-May and again from mid-July through September.
There is a long list of flowers that are attractive to hummingbirds. Some annuals that you might have success with include geraniums, verbena, dianthus, vinca, morning glories, salvia, and smaller-flowered petunias.
Here are some other tips that may help you in luring butterflies and hummingbirds to your garden. Plant several separate gardens to minimize competition between butterflies and hummingbirds. Plant masses of color closely together to create islands of bright color. Annuals work particularly well for this. Plant some of the annuals that attract both butterflies and hummingbirds, such as geranium and verbena. Plan your garden so that some flowers are blooming all summer. Timing is everything. And, lastly, minimize the use of harsh pesticides if at all possible. Not only will they harm many butterflies and hummingbirds,
but they may also kill spiders and insects that are also eaten by hummingbirds.
Finally, Utah State University just released a terrific publication titled "Gardening for Native Bees and Beyond."