I'm definitely growing this one again!
I decided to try a hummingbird feeder again this year. My past attempts at attracting hummingbirds have been spectacular failures. Loads of ants. No hummingbirds. After reading a book on attracting hummingbirds (see sidebar), I thought I would give it another try. This time, instead of just a feeder, I planted lots of red flowers. Some were more successful than others. The Fire King yarrow were more pink than red. The Jacob Cline monarda was red, but the flowers were spindly. Perhaps it just needs more time and more light. The Empress of India nasturtiums bloomed very, very briefly. The Texas Hummingbird Sage (Salvia coccinea) was very satisfying. Beautiful red flowers. I'll be growing that again next year.
By far the very, very best of the lot were the zinnias. Most seed companies carry red zinnias but the book recommended Scarlet King zinnias. I found them in the Pinetree Garden Seeds catalog. Take a look:
The tallest ones are over 4' (1.2 meters) tall. The flowers are 4" (10 centimeters) across. And boy are they SCARLET! As you can see from the picture (taken today) they are the exact same color as the feeder. They survived extreme neglect. Because of my busy schedule this summer (gardening in three different towns), I did very little watering and virtually no weeding. They grew and bloomed in spite of me.
If you are looking for a great flower for a hummingbird garden and/or you are a zinnia lover like myself, I highly recommend these. I'll be planting LOTS more next year.