April 11, 2013

Consumer Q’s

Submitted by the Georgia Department of Agriculture

Q: What are some Georgia native plants that will attract hummingbirds?

A: Here are some plants native to Georgia whose flowers attract hummingbirds: cowich/cow-itch vine or trumpet creeper (Campsis radicans), bee balm (Monarda didyma), coral honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens), cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis), spotted jewelweed (Impatiens capensis) Eastern columbine (Aquilegia canadensis), Texas sage (Salvia coccinea), Canada lily (Lilium canadense), Indian pink (Spigelia marilandica), red buckeye (Aesculus pavia), Georgia feverbark tree (Pinckneya pubens), tuliptree or tulip poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera), redbud (Cercis canadensis), red savory (Clinopodium coccineum), rose-mallow (Hibiscus coccineus), fire pink (Silene virginica), plumleaf azalea (Rhododendron prunifolium), pinxterbloom azalea (Rhododendron periclymenoides), flame azalea (Rhododendron calendulaceum), Florida flame azalea (Rhododendron austrinum), Piedmont azalea (Rhododendron canescens), Catawba rhododendron (Rhododendron catawbiense), coralbean (Erythrina herbacea), fall or garden phlox (Phlox paniculata), crossvine (Bignonia capreolata) and false indigo (Amorpha fruticosa).

Some of these are easier to find and fit into garden settings than others. For example, our native coral bean has a short period of bloom and doesn’t perform well in north Georgia. However, Erythrina xbidwillii, the hybrid between our native species and Erthyrina crista-galli from South America, is loaded with flowers all summer. Georgia feverbark tree is beautiful but doesn’t like clay soil and can be difficult to find for sale. Trumpet creeper can send up dozens of suckers that cause havoc in a perennial garden. It is best in a place where these can be kept under control. It is good on a fence bordering a lawn or pasture or at the edge of the woods where it can climb up a pine tree and its large tubular flowers can act like lighthouse beacons to lure hummers as they pass through our state.

Phlox paniculata is a native wildflower but has been cultivated so long that one of its common names is “garden phlox.” It also has many cultivars that are quite different from its wild form. Salvia coccinea is listed as native from coastal South Carolina to Florida and west to Texas and farther south but is more common here in gardens than in the wild. There are several varieties available, including a white one. Stick with the original red, as red is a hummingbird’s favorite color.

To increase your chances of attracting hummingbirds, have a wide assortment of their favorites blooming for a long period of time. Visit a Georgia nursery or garden center to discover many options to help attract these fascinating birds.

Q: Which cuts of meat are best for chicken shish kabobs?

A: Although breast meat is more popular in shish kabobs, thigh meat may be used as well. If you are looking for convenience, both skinless and boneless breasts and thighs are available in most grocery stores.

Q: Is all pollen yellow?

A: When clouds of pine pollen and other airborne pollens coat Georgia in the spring, it is easy to think all pollen is yellow. Shades of yellow and yellow green are common, but you will also find flowers with orange, brown, red, gray and even blue pollen. The deep brown pollen of the familiar tiger lily may come to mind, but have you noticed that the pollen in a corn poppy is gray or the attractive bright blue pollen of Langsdorff’s green flowering tobacco (Nicotiana langsdorffii)? Look closely at the flowers in your garden; you may find some colorful surprises.

If you have questions about services or products regulated by the Georgia Department of Agriculture, visit our website at www.agr.georgia.gov, write us at 19 MLK Jr. Drive, Room 128, Atlanta, GA 30334 or e-mail us at arty.schronce@agr.georgia.gov.