Gardeners in Americas warmer states have been urged to start planning ahead and laying the groundwork should they wish to attract hummingbirds later in the year.
While the cold weather may mean that even the keenest gardening enthusiast is tempted to stay indoors until the start of spring, one expert has warned that only by being proactive now can gardeners ensure that their flowers and plants are complemented by colourful hummingbirds this year.
Writing for the Detroit Free Press, gardening and wildlife expert Norman Winter singled out the Cuphea hyssopifolia, better known as Mexican heather, and the Cuphea micropetala, or the cigar or candy corn plant, as being among the best for attracting the birds.
These plants should be situated where they can enjoy full sun and well-drained soil and, though they may take a few months to flower, the rewards are well worth the wait, the expert says.
"Once you start growing flowers for hummingbirds and butterflies your gardening enthusiasm will reach new heights," he stated.
"A few cuphea plants are a great place to start. Place them where the family can see them and watch the hummingbirds feed."
At the same time, the Tampa Tribune has advised that, not only does a waterfall make a garden look better, but it can also serve to keep birds away from any fish being kept in a garden pond.