Honeysuckle for Hummingbirds: Complete Guide on Planting and Care

hummingbird honeysuckle

Honeysuckles are nature’s hummingbird feeders. It is also a beautiful climbing vine that hummingbirds and other long-beaked birds and insects enjoy. The plant has over 200 species of semi-evergreen and deciduous flowering vines and shrubs that grow in many different regions, including Europe, the United States in North America, and Asia.

These plant species can either grow as wild or home-based plants, regardless of how they grow. Honeysuckles are generally low-maintenance plants that produce a bounty of pretty flowers. 

Do Hummingbirds Like Honeysuckle?

Hummingbirds enjoy feeding on the syrupy liquid nectar from the honeysuckle flowers. The plant can produce large amounts of delicious nectar, making the birds stay around them for longer.

Another reason as to why hummingbirds like honeysuckle is that these blossoms have just the right shape that the hummingbirds need to dip their beaks into comfortably. The flower has long, curved and tubular flowers that do not limit their need to land on the flower to access the nectar.

Also, the hummers enjoy the flowers since they bloom consistently and abundantly throughout the year. The cascades of fragrant flowers have a longer bloom time from late spring until early spring, providing a lot of food for the birds. The blooms guarantee the hummer access a reliable and rich food source until late summer.

The orange, pink yellow flowers are very attractive to the pollinators due to the bright petals that attract hummingbirds from afar. Other flowers also have attractive deep red, yellow, pink, purple, orange, and white flowers, which the birds love.

For a long time, there was an assumption that hummers lack the sense of smell. Recently conducted research shows that this old tale isn’t true. Hummingbirds have a sense of smell and use it to avoid dangerous insects while feeding. There is, however, no evidence that hummingbirds use their sense of smell to find flowers. 

Nonetheless, they are also known to seek out flowers based on the flower’s color and shape rather than scent. People who enjoy having the little birds around can opt to plant the honeysuckle plant on their fences or pots. 

honeysuckle vine

Which Honeysuckle Is Best for Hummingbirds?

In the home garden, honeysuckles can be beautifully planted along the fence, on the ground to cover bare ground, around the mailbox, or on the trellis. Some of the native honeysuckles that are safe to plant in the garden are the trumpet honeysuckle, the coral honeysuckle, the orange honeysuckle (or western trumpet honeysuckle), and the common Lonicera sempervirens. 

Species like the Japanese honeysuckle and Morrow honeysuckle are invasive species, and other honey suckles plants are mildly poisonous and dangerous to animals and small children. The plant is also deer resistant. These invasive honeysuckles look similar to the native plants. In the wild, the coral honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens) wildflowers twines and climbs on other vegetation or trails along the ground.

What Is a Hummingbird’s Favorite Flower?

The hummers love the sweet-smelling, bright-colored, and nectar-rich trumpet vine -shaped flowers for various reasons. Particularly, the honeysuckles love red flowers. Honeysuckles mainly love the native plants: Campsis radicans, yellow trumpet vine, the trumpet vine, or the trumpet creeper. This flowering plant is mostly loved by the pollinators

Flower Stigma Campsis radicans in Tropical Climate area

What Is the Best Way to Grow Honeysuckle?

Planting the honeysuckle is relatively easy. Since the plants grow as vines and shrubs that hummingbirds love, the vines can be trained to grow along bare walls or trellises. The vines are also good climbers, so they can be trained to grow along the fence. They can also be planted in hanging baskets.

The first step is to plan on what location is most suitable for planting a good size vine. Honeysuckle proliferates, and once planted, they overgrow. The plant can also grow as tall as 20 feet in some regions. 

One should also plan how far apart the plant should be if they want to plant more than one vine. A reasonable distance should be about 5 feet apart. One must consider all these factors before buying and planting this plant. 

The other reason the plant should be well planned is that it has a 20-year life cycle, which means it will stay for a longer time.

The plant prefers rich, loamy and moist soils; however, the honeysuckles can grow on just about any other soil type as long as the soil is well-drained. The plant flourishes in acidic soil with a PH of about 5.7.

The plants need to be planted in shady areas as they only need partial shade on their blooms and leaves. This should also happen in a part shade spot instead of planting them in full sun. 

Planting Honeysuckle for Hummingbirds

Another important element is choosing what species to plant in a particular area since once a plant is fully established in your garden; it would be difficult to remove them. 

One should dig their soil so that it gets enough air during the planting stage. The next step is to place some well-rotted manure or organic matter into the ground before planting the honeysuckle. Ensure you dig a hole that measures almost the same size as a root ball and has the same depth as the pot the plant is in. 

Mulch the soil with organic matter to avoid the sun drying the ground. This will also help with water retention. Mulching is often a good idea, especially for the honeysuckle, since it provides the plant with sufficient nitrogen to allow the vine to grow the flowers.

The plants do not necessarily need to be planted outside; instead, they can be grown in containers and still perform well as long as one can water them regularly. The containers can be placed on the ground, or they can be freely hung. 

Caring For the Plant

Caring for the plant is simple. Mainly, all that is needed is pruning and watering since the plant is drought resistant. 

The vine of the honeysuckle can also be quite invasive, and if left to grow freely, it can cover the ground in an uncontrolled manner. That is why the plants need occasional clipping to tame their plants. Regular shearing and shaping will help the plants to remain as beautiful as they should.

Pruning of the honeysuckle vine is mainly done during the winter and fall or when the plant is dormant. The plant easily pops back up again during spring, providing the same abundance of blooms and nectar. This process can be done on an annual basis. 

Tara Summerville

Tara Summerville is a freelance writer that loves her backyard birdfeeders. She enjoys sitting on her deck with a cup of coffee, watching cardinals, blue jays, finches, and chickadees munch away at her backyard offerings. Her fascination with birds began as a child; spending afternoons at her grandma's house watching and identifying birds. She has since carried her love of songbirds into adulthood and ensures no bird in her yard goes hungry!

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