Hummingbird feeders can be effective attractants, but they require maintenance to keep them safe for the birds. Sugar water should be changed every three to five days, and more frequently during summer. This prevents the growth of mold. Clean the feeders at least once a week with hot water and a bottlebrush, but leave the soap detergent under the sink because it may leave harmful residue. If you don’t think hot water is sufficient, use a solution of diluted bleach. It’s imperative to rinse thoroughly and let the feeders completely air dry before refilling them.
If black mold is detected in the sugar water, discard the water immediately and soak the feeder in a mild vinegar solution for one hour. This should be done about once a month anyway. After the hour is up, scrub the feeder with a clean bottlebrush and rinse well before refilling it.
Attract hummingbirds to your garden with these flowers and vines: Canna, Bee Balms, Four O’ Clocks, Foxglove, Firespike, Impatiens, Jewelweed, Petunias, Coral Honeysuckle, Morning Glories, Cypress Vine and Trumpet Creeper.
Birds hardly have a sense of smell, so it’s more about the vibrant colors than fragrance. A tubular flower shape is also preferred. If you can, go for wild strains rather than cultivated strains as these usually produce more nectar.
Image: "Eugenes fulgens juv male Arizona.ext" by Seabamirum on Flickr - Flickr. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons