Hibiscus belongs to the plants’ kingdom and is under the genus of flowering plants, i.e., the angiosperms. It belongs to the mallow/malva family. There is a great relationship when it comes to hummingbirds and flowers. In this article, we would discuss in detail about relationship between Hibiscus and Hummingbird.
These flowering plants are basically vascular and have no woody stems above the ground. With the astounding quality of being available around the year, the flower is found in temperate, tropical and subtropical regions.
It is a nyctinasty plant and is majorly found in the Rose Mallow form (red-colored hibiscus). However, it also has two cultivars named Hardy Hibiscus and Rose of Sharon.
These plants prefer a moist climate and well drained soil rich in organic matter. In addition, it survives best in temperatures ranging from 65 degrees Fahrenheit to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Therefore, these plants should not be kept in an excessive winter climate which will in turn, make the petals dry and reduce the plant’s longevity.
Hibiscus is found in zone 4-9 (USDA) according to the hardiness zones. From Native to North America, these flowers feature orange, white, red, pink, blue and magenta hued soft pigmented petals. For the unknown, this is also the national flower of Malaysia.
Undoubtedly, when the hibiscus bloom, its vibrant colors attract the pollinators such as hummingbirds, dragonflies, bees and butterflies. These pollinators satiate their hunger by hibiscus’ nectar, and it again helps in keeping the flowering plant produce more and more offspring.
When it comes to tropical flowers, for pollinators like hummingbirds, hibiscus is the most attractive choice. The hummingbirds are pollinators and feed on the nectar. However, why hibiscus? In reply to this question, we can say that hibiscus has a vibrant color- starting from a range of red, pink, yellow, orange, purple and many more.
These colors are termed to be those from a color palette which, in general has an intense pigment and shells out its attractiveness much slower than the other lighter colors. It has the power of absorbing sunlight and moisture, which in turn helps them get a warm temperature after storing them inside. This allows the hibiscus to produce beautiful nectar, which is a driving factor for hummingbirds.
Coming to the huge size and broad shape of hibiscus petals, it is easily understandable that it provides a seating area or gives a griping portion within the flower for the small hummingbirds. Not only this, the hibiscus has the ability to produce a distinct scent, and of course, from time immemorial, we know what the effect of a good fragrance is.
Lastly, the hibiscus is one such flower which is available almost every time of the year, around all the seasons, making it the best option for the hummingbirds to feed upon.
Let’s delve deeper into the sweet bond between hummingbirds and the hibiscus, explaining how they are interdependent on each other. Check out:
- Nectar-rich: Since hummingbirds come to hibiscus only when they require nectar, and in turn, it benefits both, this is called co-adaptation. In this process, they evolve together. But what if, the nectar isn’t tasty or attractive to the hummingbirds, will it come again? No, thus the nectar needs to be prepared well by the provider plant, here the hibiscus.
- Color: If the color is pale, then a hummingbird will not be attracted to it, and it may also not sit to drink nectar. This will be a stoppage in the plants’ reproduction. Thus, the vibrant color of hibiscus plays a vital role in its relationship with hummingbirds.
- Size: The big size of the hibiscus flower helps in providing a platform for its mutualistic relationship partner, the varied types of hummingbirds.
- Shape: Different types of hibiscus provides a variety of platforms to suck the nectar, for the hummingbirds preferable for their different types of beaks.
- Sticky nature of pollen grains: Since, the hibiscus benefits from the relationship by getting help in its reproduction process, it needs to make its pollen grains sticky. So the hummingbirds can easily carry the pollens from the stigma of one male plant to the pistil of the same or different female plant.
- Water: The hummingbirds also derive water from the plants to hydrate their body in the required amount. Thus a moist temperature and soil are a must for a hibiscus plant.
- Hummingbirds prevent fragmentation of hibiscus plants genes just like the insect pollinators, which perform gene flow at a greater distance.
Gardens filled up with newer technologies, majorly in the urban areas, can add certain natural elements, which are otherwise not available, like feeders, water, nestling area, etc. Elaborating on this topic, we need to understand that a rural garden generally gets less cleaned- thus, it contains fallen branches, fruits and other essential materials for a bird to live upon. However, hummingbirds can rarely find materials from an urban garden to build their nest on their own. Like these, we need to keep certain things while planning gardens which will attract hummingbirds.
We can create moist soil by adding as much water as required to make the soil muddy, and grow hibiscus plants in as much as possible amounts. After checking the normal temperature necessary for the plant, we can also at times make the plants a little bit dewy, which will keep the freshness of the flowers intact with the sprinkling of water. This will easily attract hummingbirds to the gardens. Along with this, we need to make nature friendly shelters and nestling areas for them additionally. In this case, plastic items should be avoided, and raw materials from mother earth like small branches or fallen ones should be collected and handmade.
Moreover, pets should be kept in check, as they must not be entirely diminished from the garden. But, on the other hand, it should also not eat the flower’s petals and, in turn, discourage the hummingbirds from sitting on them.
A very big garden is not a requirement, and it should be laid out properly. With this, I mean that the objects in the garden should be kept in a good position with the sun rays and there should be a required distance between the one another, so as it doesn’t give a crowded or overpopulated feeling. In addition, chemicals like pesticides and fertilizers should be changed with organic ones, which, when mixed with the soil and absorbed by the plants, give in the nectar content that the hummingbirds feed. Thus the chemicals can be harmful to them.
Here is a list of a few images representing a beautiful relationship between the varied and distinctive hummingbirds and the hibiscus. Check out the following:
1. Painted by Robert Camp, below picture features a Hummingbird plucking the pollen grains from the stamen, which are part of the male reproductive system. After the pollen grains are plucked, they are usually planted in the pistil or the female reproductive system, and this initiates germination.
2. The picture below represents a Ruby colored throated Hummingbird found majorly in eastern and central Canada and the US. In the picture, the hummingbird has made a projectile motion towards the hardy hibiscus to put the pollen grains in the pollen tube.
3. This below picture features a broad billed hummingbird, mainly a summer breeder found in south-western Mexico and central and southeastern Arizona. The hummingbird is seen approaching its food and in the meantime, wagging and fanning their tails.
4. In the picture, an emerald green hummingbird is seen holding the pistil firmly while feeding on the nectar from the rose mallow hibiscus. It represents a beautiful relationship between the hummingbird and the hibiscus as we can see how both the bird and the flower is benefitted from the process and, during the course of feeding, the hummingbird has made a seating position within the flower area.
5. This picture represents an emerald chinned hummingbird couple approaching a pink hued dewy hibiscus. It is a symbolic representation of mother nature, showing that these small birds love to be with their companion while finding food and performing other activities.
Indeed, the hummingbirds like the hibiscus and glimpses of the same are evident in nature itself. Undoubtedly, those glimpses are simply peace to the eyes as it provides a beautiful serenity in their simplicity. Thanks to the highly developed lenses and camera persons, for whom we can see these minute scenarios of nature. Here are some astounding glimpses of the unbreakable relationship between hummingbirds and hibiscus. Check out:
1. A glance of a quick moment when an emerald chinned small hummingbird waggles and flipped its tail before, during and after it feasting on nectar. In the slow motion video, we can see how beautifully it makes a firm grip on the flower’s petals and plucks the nectar from it. The natural video is simply a pleasure to view.
2. In the age of technology, when we are able to see such hybrid beauties of two different flower pigments combined to form one. Such a color of hibiscus is found in this video, wherein we can see a peach pink colored hibiscus with a touch up of mustard yellow pigmented drops all over the petals. Along with this, a brown colored baby hummingbird sitting on its petals and sucking the nectar is simply an unmissable moment.
3. This video features a surreal moment when a sun-kissed yellow and orangish hardy hibiscus gets a tiny visitor. The flowering plant reportedly found in a garden is visited by a ruby throated female hummingbird, represented by its white neck and a woodish back and feathers.
4. A silicon valley summer hibiscus garden is seen in this video. The entire garden is filled up with pink hued hibiscus along with other plants. However, the view of the ruby throated male hummingbird caught our attention, wherein the camera is zoomed, and we get to see the little species is flapping its wings and enjoying the feast.
5. A beautiful hummingbird with blue ear and orange beak flapping its small wings, is definitely a rare look to be caught in camera. However, the video shows the attractive bird almost ready to dive inside a huge sized pink hibiscus. The view is simply eye-soothing and unmissable.
Well, this is clear that the rarest species – namely the hummingbirds of varied types, distinctive features, unique colors and many more are simply peaceful for the eyes, not only for bird lovers or bird viewers but for everyone. And after going through the above discussion, we get to know that there is a good relationship between hibiscus and hummingbirds. Thus, to attract them near your eyes, to get a quick view of them, you need to keep these points in your mind while gardening:
- You must plant more and more types of hibiscus plants in the garden.
- The temperature conditions should be highly maintained so that the hibiscus doesn’t get dried up and loses the property of producing nectar.
- A moist soil must be given to the plant so that it can easily absorb the nutrient and produce enchanting nectar to attract more and more hummingbirds.
- No need to kill the small insects or pests in the garden entirely, as along with the nectar, the hummingbirds also feed on them.
- A hummingbird needs to visit more than 1500 flowers a day for searching nectar, thus, if it gets an ample amount of nectar in one place, it will be a lucrative decision for the bird watcher.
- A suitable hummingbird feeder can be made and placed in the garden. However, since the hibiscus plants require a moist climate, thus, the feeder must be checked often and ensured that it doesn’t get fungus.
Hope, you enjoyed the article!!!