Several years back when I ordered some lily bulbs, I also ordered a Rubrum and Scarlet Turks Cap Lily. I knew nothing about them, but liked the looks of them, like tiger lilies but without the ugly spots. Little did I know that I had purchased a butterfly and hummingbird magnet. They just love these lilies. They are long blooming and loaded with multi-branching stems each heavily flowered. Ruby-throated hummingbirds will just sit and guard them like they do the feeders. This year is no exception. The lily clump has gotten so large in diameter that one is on one side and another guarding on the opposite side.
Turks cap lilies will grow up to nine feet tall. They need a rich, well drained slightly acidic soil. Dig down around twelve inches adding organic material and compost. Plant bulbs six inches deep and nine to twelve inches apart as soon as possible after you receive them. They will dry out easily.
Each fall mulch and add compost to help insulate the bulbs. When blooming, they will last several days as cut flowers, but avoid cutting over a third of the stem as it will weaken the bulb’s vigor. Growing zones are three through nine.
Don’t have room for a nine footer? Another plant that is being guarded by a hummingbird is Black and Blue Salvia. It is a perennial and has long navy blue flowers that hummers just love.
This year I really have a lot of hummingbirds. It looks like a air raid zone around my six feeders. I wonder if they didn’t migrate as far north this year with the crazy weather we’ve had. The Hooligans will chase all other birds and even bark at them on the power lines and chase them across the yard as far as the underground fence will allow. For some reason they don’t even pay attention to hummingbirds buzzing around the place.
Don’t feed the red kool aid stuff. It causes tumors on their tongues. Make up your own with one part of sugar and four parts hot to boiling water. Cool and put in your feeders. Change out ever three to five days depending on the temperature. Keep any un-used in the refrigerator.
If you have trouble with ants, make your own ant guard with a spray can lid, line and caulking. Punch a smaller hole than your wire in the middle of the lid. Run the wire through the hole, make a loop on each end. Caulk around the hole, putting a big glob in the inside to keep it from swaying. Dry for 24 hrs and hang upside down between the feeder and hook. Fill with water.
Check out my GRIT magazine blog post on my W C Handy Music Festival vacation.