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Hummingbird at Porterweed

September 11 2017 at 8:39 AM
Carol Trego  (Login Imcarol)
Hummingbird Lover 2017

The hummingbirds are using the Porterweeds planted in my garden a lot right now.

Here is a short video of a hummingbird at the Porterweed from September 10, 2017 and images of the same bird. Thank you Bud for the information about Porterweed. I would not have known about it had you not posted a picture a while back of it.

https://youtu.be/alPwtsFTVWA


Hummingbird at Porterweed 1
Hummer at Porterweed 1

Hummingbird at Porterweed 2
Hummer at Porterweed 2

Hummer at Porterweed 3
Hummer at Porterweed 6

Hummer at Porterweed 4
Hummer at Porterweed 8

Carol Trego
New Cumberland, Pennsylvania USA
Zone 6b


 
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Carol Trego
(Login Imcarol)
Hummingbird Lover 2017

Hummingbird at Porterweed

September 15 2017, 9:35 PM 

Not sure how many of you have grown Porterweed. 2017 is the first year of growing Porterweed here. The flowers are open and ready for the hummingbirds to drink nectar in the early morning. Usually by noon most of the tiny flowers are spent and look dried up. In the evening the flowers fall off or are so small they shrivel and fall to the ground. As soon as the flowers open in the morning the hummers go to the Porterweed plants/flowers and start drinking. They like the coral (some growers call it pink) Porterweed too. I'll grow Porterweed again next year. I like it.

Carol Trego
New Cumberland, Pennsylvania USA
Zone 6b

 
 
Tom
(Login tbyrnes)
Hummingbird Member 2006

Re: Hummingbird at Porterweed

September 16 2017, 8:57 AM 

The large purple porterweed (S.Frantzi) is now my favorite plant. It is excellent for both hummers and butterflies. It helps that it is a perennial here in Central Florida. The hurricane flattened out most of my plants and broke off branches of others, but they are now starting to recover and the hummers visit them regularly.

I don't know the growing patterns in other areas but the S. Frantzi does better for me later in the summer and into early fall than it does in the spring. In northern climes I would get them started very early, so they can grow and be very productive later on.
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Patricia
(Login costaricanhummingbirds)
Hummingbirder 2008

Re: Hummingbird at Porterweed

September 16 2017, 8:57 AM 

'My hummers' use the Stachytarpheta franzii AKA purple portersweed from dawn to dusk.

Have a couple of very large ones ready for the return to our home in Costa Rica, of the Rubythoats next month.

BTW, we have a bunny living under one of the shrubs.

 
 
Marilyn Gruber
(Login MarilynGruber)
Hummingbird Lover 2015

Hummingbird at Porterweed

September 16 2017, 9:26 PM 

I am glad this plant has been mentioned, I planted three plants for the first time this year. I received nice healthy plants from a nursery in May and planted right away (about 7 inches high upon arrival). But, they have taken so long to grow and are not much more than maybe 14 inches high. I have seen a few blooms but not many. Have planted in a sunny spot. Can I over winter in my home? I live in Wisconsin and wonder if I that is the problem? Received lots of rain this year, is that an issue? Would appreciate some suggestions.

Marilyn
Marilyn Gruber
Wisconsin
Zone 5

 
 
Carol Trego
(Login Imcarol)
Hummingbird Lover 2017

Hummingbird at Porterweed

September 17 2017, 7:52 AM 

Marilyn, I bought 7 Porterweed plants this spring. 2 coral, 3 purple, 1 lavender and 1 blue. The purple Porterweed is planted in my front yard where it gets the most sunlight and is the largest. I can see it from my living room window and front porch. The blue one is the shortest and is planted in back of a Wendy's Wish salvia and never grew much more than a foot or so because it is shadowed by WW. I didn't realize WW would grow as tall as it has. That Porterweed struggled the first month after I bought it and was planted in a pot. It was early and the ground was still cool. That's why I planted it in a pot. I almost lost it because we had a lot of rainfall; the leaves started turning dark/falling off. The plant didn't like wet roots in the pot; I then planted it in the ground to save it. After that episode, I didn't plant any of the other Porterweed plants in pots, they all were planted directly in the ground. It took weeks before they really started to grow. If you try to overwinter your Porterweed in a pot, I would watch how much water it gets.

Both of the coral plants have really increased in size the past month, slow to bloom and are still growing, but not nearly as well as the purple one in the front yard, which is huge. I have four other Salvias growing beside the purple Porterweed and it is shading the one salvia. The coral Porterweed plants just started to bloom within the past two weeks. They are not in full sun and on the side yard. Having Porterweed in full sun really makes them grow well, at least in my garden. Here are a few more images of them.

Maybe you have a Porterweed that is like the blue one I purchased that is shorter than the others I bought and like a miniature plant. The Porterweed plants that came from Almost Eden nursery had the best roots and were very healthy. I couldn't find them locally and had to buy them by mail order.

Porterweed 5
Hummer on Porterweed

Porterweed 6
Hummer at Porterweed 1

Porterweed 7
Hummer at Porterweed 2

Carol Trego
New Cumberland, Pennsylvania USA
Zone 6b


    
This message has been edited by Imcarol on Sep 17, 2017 7:54 AM


 
 
Tom B
(Login tbyrnes)
Hummingbird Member 2006

Re: Hummingbird at Porterweed

September 17 2017, 1:26 PM 

Mariyln, it is important to know what kind of porterweed that you have.

There are many kinds. I am only familiar with four, the red, the coral, the purple and the blue. I no longer grow the coral, because it gets huge here and only blooms once or twice a year. The hummers love it, though. The branches tend to break off in storms.

The red one that I know is low growing and very sensitive to cold. My experience is that anything below 30 degrees for a few hours will likely kill it or certainly kill it to the roots. It is very floriferous however, and the hummers really like it. I don't grow this anymore. The ones that I had died out from the cold. (I'm in zone 9B and it seldom freezes here.)

The blue one is what we call the "native" here in Florida. I'm not sure how native it is, but it grows well and is very easy to take cuttings from. I have maybe three or four in different parts of my property. The flowers are quite small and they get little use by hummers. The small butterflies love them, as do other small pollinators.

The real winner is the large purple porterweed (S. Frantzi). It the one that Carol has photos of above. Once it is warm it is ever-blooming, doesn't need deadheading and grows big and fast. The hummers just love it. I have some that reach ten feet. They like sun, water and well-drained soil.

If you have the S. Frantzi I would recommend that you try to overwinter it. In early spring, put it in a large pot in a sunny area and feed it well. In a month or so you can put it in the ground. These plants grow well from cuttings. If yours grow big next year you might want to take cuttings and pot them up and have them for the following year.

I just took eight cuttings this morning. I expect most of them, if not all of them, will take. They will be ready for next year. I also took six cuttings from my Yellow Bells tree, (Tecoma Stans). I have never tried to take cuttings from them before, but we'll see. They are not easy to find for sale.

Good luck!
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Marilyn Gruber
(Login MarilynGruber)
Hummingbird Lover 2015

Hummingbird at Porterweed

September 17 2017, 3:32 PM 

Thank you for your ideas Carol and Tom. Sorry I did not mention I have the purple S.Frantzi type (I am not sure what the coral colored one is). I did purchase my plants from Almost Eden as you did Carol and yes, they had a wonderful root system when they arrived and so healthy looking! I think (after reading the info you and Tom shared) it is my soil.....way too much rain this year and most of my soil is clay. But, I do have an area that I dug out and filled with 4 yards of good soil so will try plant my porterweed there next year.

So, do you think I can hold them over in pots under grow lights? Tom, will you tell me how you take your cuttings, root in mater first?

Marilyn
Marilyn Gruber
Wisconsin
Zone 5


    
This message has been edited by MarilynGruber on Sep 17, 2017 3:33 PM


 
 
Tom B
(Login tbyrnes)
Hummingbird Member 2006

Re: Hummingbird at Porterweed

September 18 2017, 9:30 AM 

Marilyn, here's a brief description of how I take cuttings.

I try to cut the branch at a 90 degree angle, so that more of the stem is exposed to water and soil. As soon as I cut it I put it in water. Then I use a single-edged razor to cut through the bottom node of the cutting--sometimes I get two nodes. After that I dip the end in rooting powder and put it into potting soil.

That's pretty much it. I need to protect the cuttings from squirrels, so I have a hamster cage that I put some in and some I put in a plastic storage bin that I have poked holes in top and bottom. After that I make sure I mist or sprinkle the cuttings every day for a week or so and then I watch them to see how they are doing.

Normally, I have about a 90% success rate with cuttings. It helps that I live in humid Florida.
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Marilyn Gruber
(Login MarilynGruber)
Hummingbird Lover 2015

Hummingbird at Porterweed

September 18 2017, 10:13 PM 

Tom, Thank you! I will follow your detailed suggestions and sure hope to have lots of porterweed plants next year.

Marilyn
Marilyn Gruber
Wisconsin
Zone 5

 
 
 
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