SEATTLE, Wash.— "It's more fun than anything in the world having hummingbirds in your garden," gardening guru Ciscoe Morris said.
According to Ciscoe, hummingbirds love running water, such as a small fountain, lots of shelter, a feeder, and a variety of hummingbird-attracting plans.
"It doesn't work to put up a feeder if you don't have the cool plants," Ciscoe said.
Plants that Ciscoe recommends to attract hummingbirds include:
Monarda (bee balm)
Agastache (humming bird hyssop)
Lobelia tupa (devil's tobacco)
Phygelius (cape fuchsia)
Ligularia stenocephala 'Rocket'
NIcotiana (flowering tobacco)
Mahonia media (Oregon grape relatives from China)
Ecremocarpus (Chilean glory flower)
Buddleia (butterfly bush)
When it comes to hummingbird feeders, Ciscoe says to keep them one part sugar to four parts water, and make sure not to buy the stuff with the dye in it from stores, because the food coloring and artificial sugar isn't good for the birds.
When buildup and mildew build up, make sure not to clean the feeder with soap, because the hummingbirds won't like it, Ciscoe said. He said to clean it with white vinegar for best results.
He also said not to put two hummingbird feeders in sight of one another—unless you want a battle of the birds to begin.
"They'll beat the living tweedle out of each other!" Ciscoe said.
If you have a feeder and hummingbird-attracting plants, and still aren't having any luck, Ciscoe recommends putting a big red ribbon around the hummingbird feeder.
Ciscoe also answered the following questions about summer gardening on the KING 5 Facebook page:
Carol Greenwood Brister: I have named all my regular visitors to my feeders, and I hope that's not too strange, LOL. But, in the summer heat, is it okay to wait about 3 or 4 days before putting out new nectar? I make my own from 4 parts water to 1 part sugar, low boil for 5 minutes, then cooled.
Ciscoe: It's ok to leave the feeder unless you see clouding or mold in the water. Then clean it right away.
Janice Watson: Fig tree? Had 3 fruit when purchased never produced again. Dug it up and moved to a planter, 3 years ago. It is looking healthy, beautiful leaves, no fruit. Leaves go away in winter. What do I need to do now? Does it need another to pollinate with? Thanks.
Ciscoe: Fig trees do not need cross pollination. The key is to not prune them too hard during winter because the figs you are going to eat next summer are already on the tree in fall. Make sure your fig is in the sunniest spot possible and give it a little water now and then and it should do its thing. Is there anything better than a fresh fig right off the tree?
Libby Steward Finerty: I put a hummingbird feeder in my yard over a week ago and planted hot lips a month ago and still can't get hummingbirds, how can attract them to my feeder???
Ciscoe: You need more plants that attract hummingbirds and it would be helpful to put a fountain in your garden. Try putting a big red ribbon on your feeder. Good luck!
Susan Wyatt: I heard you should pinch tomato plants but I'm not sure how. Can you explain?
Ciscoe: You should pinch out the little sprouts that grow out of the branch unions. And only allow about five main branches to grow. But it doesn't really make that much difference on the cherry tomatoes and ones with smaller growing fruit.
Liza Javier: What can I do in my garden to attract and help bees?
Ciscoe: Plant lots of annuals and perennials, especially ones with blue flowers. And make sure that there are some shallow bird baths nearby. Try never to use nonselective pesticides, which could be harmful to the bees.
Rvsue Rvsue: Is to much coffee ground to much on any plants?
Ciscoe: Use coffee grounds about every six weeks around each plant, but I don't think you can really overdo it.
Sandy Brachtenbach Jones: My tomato plants are getting huge! Can I cut them back early in the morning when it is cooler? I live in EASTERN Washington where it is MUCH hotter. Thank you!
Ciscoe: You can cut them back but you may lose tomatoes for having done it. But if you've got gazilions of them already getting ripe don't worry about it. Cutting it back won't hurt the tomato.