What Does a Cerulean Warbler Look Like?

Cerulean Warbler male
Male cerulean warbler in southern Minnesota

Some birds like robins, goldfinches and cardinals are frequently sighted in backyards across America. Other bird species are much more uncommon, and a brief glimpse of them can thrill birders for life — and of these birds is the cerulean warbler.

While cerulean warblers are especially exciting because of the stunning blue feathers on the adult male’s head, back, and wings, seeing those blue feathers can prove a challenge. After they’ve migrated to their breeding grounds these warblers tend to stick to treetops, which means birders tend to only catch a glimpse of their white bellies. Females are duller than males, with upper plumage appearing greenish rather than blue and light yellow bellies.

Pamela Hunt, senior conservation biologist for New Hampshire Audubon, mentions the difficulty of seeing the feathers for which this warbler is named. “You hear them, and they’re way up in a tree somewhere,” she says. “You’re trying to find it, and you wait, and you wait, and eventually you see it fly and you see the white belly. At the right angle you can see the bluish-gray necklace across their throat, which is one of their cool diagnostic things.”

Cerulean Warbler Range and Habitat

cerulean warbler
Look for these birds in mature hardwood forests.

This species winters in South America and passes through the eastern states during migration. They breed as far north as Wisconsin, Michigan and New York. Atypical visitors to the West, the places where it’s easiest to find them tend to be tall forests or river valleys. “They’re a deeper forest species, and they’ll not likely be found in a residential area,” Pamela says. “They like their hardwoods.”

In general, finding a cerulean warbler can be a challenge even for a dedicated birder. Pamela maintains that the places it’s easier to locate them tend to require some hiking and neck-craning. “It’s a ‘hop at the top of the trees’ species, but it’s hard to find, in general,” she says. “In certain places they’re easy to find, but they’re up in the mountains.”

Diet: What Do Cerulean Warblers Eat?

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Cerulean warbler at Shenandoah National Park

As is the case with most warblers, ceruleans dine mostly on insects, including caterpillars and moths, and won’t appear at backyard feeders.

Nesting Habits

Nests consist of three to five eggs and are constructed in tall deciduous hardwood trees in mature forests. Cerulean warblers raise one brood during each nesting season.

Numbers of this species are declining, so take extra care not to disturb them during nesting season.

Songs and Calls

Bird sounds courtesy of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Cerulean warblers give a buzzing, warbling song that rises in pitch as it ends. If you think you’ve heard a cerulean warbler, you might want track down the bird to make sure — where their breeding ranges overlap, it could been a black-throated blue warbler.

“The ones we have in New England make a song that is similar to the one the black-throated blue warbler makes,” Pamela says. “We’ve come to the conclusion in east-northern New England that you cannot conclusively say it’s a cerulean warbler unless you’ve seen it.”

About The Expert

Pamela Hunt has worked with New Hampshire Audubon for more than 20 years. She holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in biology and zoology, and she earned her PhD from Dartmouth College in 1995. In her role as senior biologist for avian conservation, Pamela works with governmental organizations in the state to coordinate bird research and monitoring efforts.

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I’ve never met a gardener who didn’t want to share or expand his or her garden. And there are so many ways to do just that. One easily overlooked way is by taking plant cuttings. You can take a snip of a plant to start a whole new one—for yourself or a friend! Bear in mind that you can’t take a cutting from a plant that is patented. That’s usually any new variety, but you can tell by checking the plant tag. Most old fashioned favorites and garden classics are fine to use for cuttings.

Most important, though: Don’t get discouraged if growing from plant cuttings doesn’t work the first couple of times around. It can be a tricky process and takes some trial and error. This list includes some of the easiest plants to propagate.

Learn more tips for plant propagation.

Impatiens

High Angle View Of Pink Impatiens Blooming Outdoors

Impatiens, Annual

It’s true: This garden standby is in danger, but research is underway to save this beauty from downy mildew. But for the meantime, don’t count impatiens out in gardens that haven’t been afflicted with the disease! Resilient and reliable, it’s a cheerful, shade-loving flower that will do well in almost any part of the landscape.

Taking cuttings: Take cuttings only from healthy plants and keep them short, with no more than two or three mature leaves on each.

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Inch Plant

Tradescantia, Zones 8 to 12, Annual elsewhere

A longtime favorite houseplant inch plant can be grown outdoors in containers or as a ground cover where winter-hardy. For prime leaf color, grow inch plant in filtered sun.

Taking cuttings: It’s easy to start this colorful plant from cuttings because you can take them from outdoor plants anytime during the season and year-round from houseplants.

potted flowers that attract hummingbirds

Fuchsia

Fuchsia, annual

Fuchsia’s dainty flowers might be some of the most recognizable blooms of all. Some even say that the delicate blossoms resemble a ballerina. Outdoors, this graceful plant will benefit and thrive in shade. Fuchsia is most commonly grown in a container. Try it mixed with other annuals, too! Fuchsia also attracts hummingbirds.

Taking cuttings: The good news is that fuchsia cuttings will root quite quickly, sometimes even in 10 days or fewer. Take cuttings in late summer, and don’t allow them to wilt. Place the cuttings in the growing pot right away.

coleus, plants that grow from cuttings

Coleus

Solenostemon, Annual

Coleus is both a garden classic and an ever-evolving star, with fresh varieties popping up every year. And it’s not just a shade favorite anymore, either. New hybrid plants can tolerate full sun, but this means they also need more water than traditional cultivars. Coleus will do best in rich, moist, well-draining soil.

Check out our top 10 favorite colorful coleus.

Taking cuttings: Take a 2- to 3-inch stem cutting and remove the lowest leaf. Stick the cutting in vermiculite, perlite or a well-drained potting mix, covering the leaf scar, and put it in a warm, bright location out of direct sunlight. Cuttings root in about two weeks, and several weeks later they can be planted in a well-drained potting mix.

copperleaf

Copperleaf

Acalypha wilkesiana, Annual

This copper-colored charmer can be grown as both an annual outdoor plant and a houseplant. Use it to add fiery color to partially shaded beds, borders or even a large container. You may see yellow-white summer blooms.

Taking cuttings: Easy to maintain, copperleaf is equally easy to grow from stem cuttings. Take the cuttings in late summer and let them root and grow indoors over the winter.

Pwsweet Caroline Kiwi

Sweet Potato Vine

Ipomoea batatas, Annual

Classic sweet potato vine is generally grown for its fabulous chartreuse foliage, but new varieties like Blackie are options, too. The foliage has a more intense color when planted in the sun, but it will perform in partial shade.

Taking cuttings: Make a cut straight across the stem about 6 inches from the tip. These cuttings are actually the easiest way to start new plants; some gardeners swear by placing the cutting directly in the ground in spring, keeping the area moist until the roots develop.

annual vinca, plants that grow from cuttings

Annual Vinca

Catharanthus roseus, Annual

Also known as Madagascar periwinkle, this annual is great for full sun or part shade and tolerates heat stress. Annual vinca is similar to impatiens in look and growth habit, so it is an excellent substitute for impatiens in hot, sunny areas. The glossy green leaves are a nice complement to the colorful blooms.

Taking cuttings: Vinca plant cuttings can be taken throughout the growing season before the first frost. They’ll root quickly and may bloom when grown in a sunny window.

Alternantheraprovenwinners plants that grow from cuttings

Alternanthera

Alternanthera, Annual

A visual delight because of its riotously colorful foliage, alternanthera is a bushy shrub you can pinch and shear to maintain shape and size. Because you can keep it under control, it’s an ideal container plant. Grow it in full sun to bring out its knockout leaf color.

Taking cuttings: You’ll want to make any divisions of alternanthera in spring, but take cuttings in late summer. Then overwinter the young plants indoors.

Find out tips for growing succulents from cuttings.

Helichrysum White Licorice

Licorice Vine

Helichrysum petiolare, Zones 9 to 11

Here’s a drought-tolerant vine you’ll want to use as a trailer or filler, especially in large containers or hanging baskets. It can be grown as an annual in places outside Zones 9 to 11. The fuzzy, silvery foliage offers wonderful texture in a grouping of plants. It loves to soak up the sun but will do well in partial shade, too.

Taking cuttings: Licorice vine cuttings will do best when taken in late summer. The rooted cutting will be ready for planting in spring when the danger of frost has passed.

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Geranium

Pelargonium x hortorum, Annual

Geraniums have so many virtues, and they don’t always get enough credit. Sure, they’re somewhat old-fashioned, but they’re pretty, sun-loving, long-lasting, tough, and perfect in containers and window boxes.

Taking cuttings: Make sure your tools, rooting mix and pots are sterilized; geraniums are very susceptible to disease. At the end of summer, make a cut about 4 inches down from one of the growing tips of the plant, remove flowers and buds, and place plant cuttings in a pot. They should root within 20 days. You can also try a rooting hormone for increased success.

Next, learn how to grow roses from cuttings.

Why Trust Us

For nearly 30 years, Birds & Blooms, a Trusted Media Brandhas been inspiring readers to have a lifelong love of birding, gardening and nature. We are the #1 bird and garden magazine in North America and a trusted online resource for over 15 million outdoor enthusiasts annually. Our library of thousands of informative articles and how-tos has been written by trusted journalists and fact-checked by bird and garden experts for accuracy. In addition to our staff of experienced gardeners and bird-watchers, we hire individuals who have years of education and hands-on experience with birding, bird feeding, gardening, butterflies, bugs and more. Learn more about Birds & Blooms, our field editor program, and our submission guidelines.

Pine Warbler Identification

pine warbler
Male pine warbler in summer breeding plumage

Identifying a pine warbler is a matter of getting a good look and finding it in its favorite habitat. With greenish olive backs and bright yellow underneath, and dark gray colored wings with two white wingbars and green-gray streaking on the sides, these birds can resemble other warblers at a quick glance. Females are duller than males.

Complicating identification, it’s often harder to identify first-year birds in fall. Dr. Pamela Hunt, Senior Conservation Biologist for Audubon New Hampshire, explains. “In the fall, they can be dull greenish olive,” she says. “You wouldn’t think they’re the same species.” Immature birds’ plumage can vary, with some showing yellow and others appearing gray or brown. Regardless of overall coloration, immature pine warblers show a white eyering.

Here’s how to identify yellow warblers and palm warblers.

Pine Warbler Range and Habitat

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This bird’s small size and thin bill identify it as a member of the warbler family.

You can also identify this bird by its preferred habitat. As indicated by its name, look for pine warblers in groves of pines. Like other warblers, they are often spotted high in the treetops.

“You’ll be looking up at them, because they’re usually high up in the trees during summer,” Pamela explains. And while some warblers don’t typically visit backyards, pine warblers can appear in residential areas if the habitat is right for them. “They’re more likely to be in a yard, because they’ll be in residential pine trees and city parks, stuff like that,” Pamela says.

pine warbler
Look for these birds high in the treetops.

Pine warblers spend summer in portions of the eastern United States after migration, but they stick around year-round in Florida and elsewhere in the southeastern states. In summer, their range extends as far north as the southern edge of eastern Canada.

Pamela highlights that pine warbler populations are increasing. In some cases, they’ve even started to forgo migration in northern climates. “In New Hampshire, there were dozens of them that stayed around in winter because it was mild,” she says.

Pine Warbler Nesting Habits

Pine warblers usually nest in pine trees. A typical brood consists of three to five eggs, and both parents help with incubation. Young remain in the nest for about 10 days, and pairs raise two to three broods per season.

Pine Warbler Songs and Calls

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These birds sound similar to other small songbirds.

To identify a pine warbler by ear, listen for a melodic trill that lasts for a few seconds. Ears-only identification can be difficult, because the pine warbler’s song is similar to that of the dark-eyed junco and the chipping sparrow. To differentiate them, Pamela says the pine warbler’s song is more musical.

Bird sounds courtesy of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology 

Diet: What Do Pine Warblers Eat?

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Pine warbler eating peanut butter

Unlike other warblers, pine warblers can be feeder birds. While they prefer to dine on insects such as spiders, caterpillars, and ants during the summer, when food is scarce, they’ll visit feeders.

“These are one of the few warblers that will eat seed,” Pamela says. “Pine warblers can’t open a sunflower seed, but they’ll eat a whole one. That predisposes them to wintering farther north than other warblers do.” In winter, they’ll also eat suet or mealworms.

pine warbler
Male pine warbler on suet feeder

“What is this yellow bird (above) that visits my feeder?” asks Birds & Blooms reader Christine Ramey of Springfield, Georgia.

Birding experts Kenn and Kimberly Kaufman say, “That’s a special visitor because it’s a member of the warbler family. And since warblers are insect eaters, most aren’t attracted to feeders. One main exception is the pine warbler. They regularly visit suet feeders, especially in the Southern states during winter. They also sometimes eat sunflower seed. This particular warbler is male. Key field marks include the bright yellow underparts with streaks at the sides of the chest, and the detailed pattern around and below the eyes.”

About The Expert

Pamela Hunt has worked with New Hampshire Audubon for more than 20 years. She holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in biology and zoology, and she earned her PhD from Dartmouth College in 1995. In her role as senior biologist for avian conservation, Pamela works with governmental organizations in the state to coordinate bird research and monitoring efforts.

Kenn and Kimberly Kaufman are the official bird experts for Birds & Blooms. They are the creators of the Kaufman Field Guide series and they lead birding trips all over the world.

Sources

How to Grow a Yarrow Plant

275161937 1 Gary Parker Bnb Bypc 2021
Yarrow flowers and foliage

A yarrow plant is tough as nails and sneers at neglect—not what you’d expect from such a pretty flower. A thin layer of compost is enough to make yarrow happy.

  • Botanical name: Achillea spp.
  • Common name: Yarrow
  • Zones: 3 to 9
  • Light Needs: Full sun
  • Soil: Well-draining soil
  • Size: Most grow 2 to 4 feet tall

Sun-loving yarrow is very drought tolerant. It just needs water if you receive less than 1 inch of rain a week. Divide the plants every few years to give these perennials some space and reduce the chance of disease. It’s best to do this in early spring before flowering, or in the fall when the plant has finished flowering.

You can grow yarrow from seed. Or get flowers faster by buying plants from the garden center.

When and Where to Plant Yarrow

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Praying mantis on a yarrow plant in a sunny garden

“Planting in spring or fall is best for to give the plant enough time to set roots and flower or establish rooting before frost. Plant them in a well-draining sunny location,” says Darren Barshaw, product representative for Darwin Perennials.

Yarrow produces easygoing, long-lasting flowers that come into their own once the weather is consistently warm. Suited to most growing conditions, yarrow provides a long season of blooms all the way into fall. To encourage more flowering you can deadhead yarrow once the first flowers fade.

“Yarrow flowers in late-spring to early-summer,” Darren says. “Flowers are flat, pancake-shaped, with many small flower clusters in one mass.”

He says the long-lasting flowers are a good choice for cutting gardens and bouquets, too. You can also grow these perennials in containers.

If you look past the delicate flowers (choose from butter yellow, red, pink, salmon or white), you’ll spot ferny foliage on this resilient plant that’s attractive in its own right.

“Foliage is dark green and feathery looking, soft to the touch. The fern-like foliage is ornamental and attractive even without its colorful flowers. I like how it adds texture to the garden,” Darren says.

Are Yarrow Plants Invasive?

Some species are considered weedy, so do a little research before you buy a yarrow plant—it’s best to stay away from aggressive varieties in small gardens.

Does Yarrow Attract Pollinators?

yarrow plant, A swallowtail butterfly sips nectar from a cluster of purple yarrow
A swallowtail butterfly sips nectar from a cluster of purple yarrow plants.

The pad-like bloom clusters are perfect places for butterflies to land and sip nectar.

“I’ve seen painted lady butterflies on our trial garden plants—beautiful!” Darren says.

Check out the top 10 classic yellow flowers to grow.

Yarrow Plant Problems

According to Darren, “Yarrow is a pretty trouble-free perennial! They’re also deer- and rabbit-resistant, too.”

Pruning and Cutting Back Yarrow Plants

Yarrow in Flower Garden
Prune yarrow plants to promote compact growth.

“Most of my yarrow plant stems flopped over. What happened?” asks Birds & Blooms reader Douglas Tracy of Pomfret Center, Connecticut.

Horticultural expert Melinda Myers says, “Yarrow prefers well-draining soil and is drought tolerant once established. It tends to grow tall and flop in moist and rich soil, hot weather or when too much nitrogen fertilizer is applied.

You can adjust your care of yarrow plants to promote more compact growth and prevent the stems from falling over. Just prune the plants back by one third after the first set of flowers fade. Then cut back new growth near the base of the plant after the second flush of flowers finish their show.

Or you can cut the stems halfway to the ground when they are about 18 inches tall and before the first flowers appear. Consider providing some structural support for the yarrow plant by surrounding it with sturdier plants.”

Yarrow Cultivars to Grow

new vintage rose yarrow
New Vintage Rose

The Milly Rock series (10 to 12 inches tall and wide) is a good choice for the front of the border. Its shorter, compact plant habit won’t swallow-up the other plants nearby.

There are taller options, too, like the New Vintage series (26 to 28 inches tall and 10 to 12 inches wide) for the middle to back of the garden bed. This series doesn’t have gapping between flowers and foliage. And its flowers mature to a softer hue (not brown), keeping it attractive longer.

“The New Vintage series has a very pretty terracotta color that just launched,” Darren says. “And I find the Rose variety to be a stunning wow color.”

Strawberry Seduction is another beauty, with clusters of dusty red flowers with yellow centers that appear throughout the summer. The flowers are small but numerous, rising 18 to 24 inches and fading to hues of light pink and brown. It tends to spread, so divide plants every few years.

Sassy Summer Sunset features fiery-colored flower clusters that are sure to stand out. Moonshine is a classic with lemon yellow blooms and silvery-gray foliage.

About the Experts

Darren Barshaw is a product representative for Darwin Perennials. He earned a degree in ornamental horticulture from Michigan State University.

Melinda Myers is the official gardening expert for Birds & Blooms. She is a TV/radio host, author and columnist who has written more than 20 gardening books. Melinda earned a master’s degree in horticulture from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Sources

358980070 1 Lisa Anderson Bnb Pc 2023
Shasta daisy plants are known for their cheerful white flowers.

There’s something special about the colorful flower gardens that blossom across the Midwest when the weather warms. Perennials like coneflowers, Black-eyed Susans, hostas, and lilies are at their best in mid-summer. Shasta daisy adds a lovely cool splash of white to these colorful beds. If you’re not already growing these beautiful daisies, here’s what you need to know.

Check out the top 10 dazzling types of daisies you should grow.

The History of Shasta Daisies

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The Shasta daisy is named in honor of Mt. Shasta.

Shasta daisy doesn’t exist in the wild; it’s a hybrid of four other daisies from around the world (oxeye, English field, Portuguese field and Japanese field daisies) created in the 1890s by Luther Burbank. Luther was an American horticulturalist and agricultural pioneer who worked mainly in California. He introduced it to the world in 1901 after 17 years of development, naming it in honor of Mt. Shasta in the Cascade Mountains.

His goal in hybridizing this variety was to create a daisy that resembled the wild oxeye daisy he’d grown up loving in Massachusetts, with the added benefits of large flowers, sturdy stems, a prolonged blooming season and staying power when cut. Shasta daisy offers all those benefits and more!

Discover more interesting daisy facts you probably don’t know.

Shasta Daisy Care

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Shasta daisies are perennials that are easy to grow.
  • Botanical name: Leucanthum x Superbum
  • Zones: 5 to 9
  • Light needs: Full sun or part shade (in warmer climates)
  • Soil: Well-draining

A perennial, this flower blooms the first year from seed. Its stems are sturdy enough to grow 3 to 4 feet tall without needing staking, and its clumping behavior means it’ll spread to fill your flower garden beds over time. It makes beautiful bouquets (as do these top 10 flowers for a cutting garden), and its bloom season lasts from mid-June to early fall in many areas.

Well-drained, fertile soil is best, so add organic material like compost around the Shasta daisy plants each spring to enrich the soil. Regular deadheading and division every two or three years stimulates growth.

It tolerates dry spells well, but a little extra water in hot, dry weather may be needed. In the fall when blooms are done, cut foliage back to just above the soil. It will return in the spring to bloom anew!

Drought-tolerant blackfoot daisy can take the heat.

Shasta Daisy Varieties

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Shasta daisies attract butterflies like this red-banded hairstreak.

Popular varieties include the long blooming Becky Shasta daisy, known for attracting butterflies throughout the summer season and even into fall. Also beloved is Banana Cream, which features creamy yellow blooms that mature to creamy white. These flowers grow well in containers and, when cut, are long lasting in floral arrangements.

Next, learn how to grow Gerbera daisies in pots.

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When I saw my first Million Bells plant (Calibrachoa) in a local plant nursery a few years ago, I immediately fell in love. The tiny petunia-like blossoms were brilliantly-colored and unbelievably numerous. The plant tag promised easy care and no deadheading. I scooped up several colors and happily took them home, eager to see them in my own garden—and I wasn’t disappointed. I loved their color and spreading habit, and was very pleasantly surprised when they turned out to be a butterfly magnet!

Check out the top 10 fast-growing annual flowers for instant flower power.

Calibrachoa Care and Growing Tips

calibrachoa
Great Southern White butterfly on calibrachoa
  • Common name: Million Bells or Superbells
  • Botanical name: Calibrachoa
  • Zones: 9 to 11 or Annual
  • Light needs: Full Sun to part sun
  • Water needs: Moist Soil
  • Attracts: butterflies, bees

Million Bells is the commercial name for Calibrachoa, a genus of plants closely related to petunias. They are also sold as Superbells and Mini-Petunias. They are all hybrids of a species of Calibrachoa native to South America. Most are patented and trademarked by the companies that produce and grow them.

Expect top performance with non-stop blooms all summer and into fall. Choose sunny areas, or those with afternoon shade in warmer climates. As a self-cleaning plant, calibrachoa’s flowers will naturally fall off, so no deadheading is necessary.

Though not terribly picky, these plants do like regular watering. However, they can’t tolerate soggy soil. Because of the abundance of blooms, regular fertilizing is the key to success. They grow only about 6 to 12 inches tall, but spread up t0 24 inches.

Are Calibrachoa Flowers Annuals or Perennials?

ladybug meaning symbolism calibrachoa
Most gardeners treat calibrachoa plants as annuals.

Though they tolerate some frost and are considered hardy (or tender perennials) in zones 9 to 11, most people grow Calibrachoa as an annual. In warmer zones, grow it in the cooler seasons, fall through spring. They tolerate more heat than petunias, but usually can’t outlast a Deep South summer.

In northern zones, plant them outside after the last frost.

Where to Plant Calibrachoa

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Plant calibrachoa in containers for bountiful blooms from spring through fall.

One particularly nice way to enjoy these blooms is in hanging baskets on shepherd’s hooks in your butterfly garden. This brings the flowers to eye-level where you can get the best view of the butterflies enjoying them!

Add annual vinca flowers to your gardens and containers.

Calibrachoa Colors and Cultivars

calibrachoa purple flowers
Calibrachoa flowers need regular watering but dislike soggy soil.

These container favorites are available in dozens of colors. If you’re looking for new and interesting color combinations you may not find at your local nursery, try ordering plants from catalogs and online growers. There are also double-bloom versions.

I’m particularly drawn to a cultivar called ‘Lemon Slice.’ The yellow and white stripes make for some of the most cheerful blooms I’ve ever seen! Also look for Superbells Tropical Sunrise, which has streaks of yellow, pink and red on each flower.

Ball Bumblebeehotpinkcalibrachoa
Bumble Bee Hot Pink Calibrachoa

‘Bumble Bee Hot Pink’ calibrachoa (Calibrachoa ‘Balumotink’) is irresistible to bees and other pollinators and continuously bursts with 1-inch blossoms throughout the summer months. The vibrant bicolor hot pink blooms have yellow centers. The trailing growth habit makes it perfect in hanging baskets.

For more gardening tips, sign up for our free newsletter.

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Blackberry Lily Care and Growing Tips

blackberry lily tiger swallowtail butterfly
Tiger swallowtail butterfly on blackberry lillies
  • Common name: Blackberry lily
  • Botanical name: Iris domestica ‘Freckle Face’
  • Zones: 4 to 10
  • Attracts: Butterflies
  • Light needs: Full sun to part shade
  • Size: 18 to 24 inches high and 12 to 18 inches wide
  • Grown for: Gorgeous cut flowers, border gardening, and the option of being kept in containers
  • Foliage: Long green petals, similar to ones on an iris
  • Seasonal interest: The stunning orange petals give way to shiny seeds in autumn.

I recently noticed the charming blackberry lily on a tour through the Harry P. Leu Gardens in Orlando, Florida. The cheery, spotted bloom caught my eye. The flowers are irresistible to butterflies and will definitely catch the eyes of your neighbors, as well. The blooms also look gorgeous arranged in a vase.

Blackberry Lily Iris domestica
This plant has spread by rhizome and could easily be divided into several plants now, if desired.

Grow blackberry lily in zones 4 to 10. Give the plant lots of sun and fairly consistent moisture. Be sure the soil is well-drained or the plant may rot. Otherwise, this plant is fairly easy to care for. It spreads by underground rhizomes and can be divided like other irises. It may also self-seed in the right conditions.

Try Freckle Face for rich orange blossoms flecked with reddish spots that appear in late summer. In drier soils, this iris will grow 24 inches, and taller in more moist soils.

Check out the top 10 beautiful lily flowers to love.

What Is a Blackberry Lily Plant?

Blackberry Lily Iris domestica

Blackberry lily was originally considered a member of its own genus and given the botanical name Belamcanda chinensis. Over a decade ago, though, researchers used DNA testing to determine that this plant is really a member of the Iris genus. It was renamed Iris domestica.

This plant is also sometimes called a “leopard lily” because of the spots, though that common name is also used for several other plants.

Blackberry Lily Iris domestica
Fan-shaped leaf growth

The fan-shaped growth pattern of the leaves resembles those of other iris species.

Are Blackberry Lilies Invasive?

Keep in mind that this plant does spread easily and is considered invasive in some areas. Consult your local extension agent to see if this plant is right for your yard. It is native to Asia.

Learn how to grow and care for a gloriosa lily.

Blackberry Lily Seeds

Blackberry Lily Iris domestica

The flowers of this short-lived perennial become seedpods, which eventually split open (another iris trait) to reveal dark berries that resemble blackberries. This fruit gives the plant its common name.

Blackberry lily is fairly easy to grow from seed. If you sow seeds outdoors in fall, this perennial will bloom in the following summer. You can also start the seeds indoors, but be sure to remove any fleshy coating (aril) from the seed to ensure germination. This step isn’t necessary if direct sowing seeds outdoors, as the elements will take care of that for you. You can also find blackberry lily plants online from some vendors.

Iris not blooming? Here’s what to do.

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Did you know that blue is the most popular color? It’s certainly my favorite, and my flower garden often reflects that. Blue flowers can be surprisingly hard to find, though. To me, that just makes them all the more special. I love to pair blue flowers with pink or orange blooms for a wonderful contrast. A garden full of cool white and blue flowers is also a balm for the eyes on a hot summer day.

If you’d like to add more blue flowers to your garden this year, here are some to seek out.

Balloon Flower

balloon flower

Platycodon grandiflorus, Zones 3 to 8

Be patient with this blue flower. Balloon flower blooms in the second year when grown from seed. The blue flower buds look like balloons before opening.

Check out the top 10 classic yellow flowers to grow.

cornflower bumblebee blue flowers

Cornflower

Centaurea cyanus, Annual

Perhaps the bluest of all blue flowers, cornflower is usually grown from seed. This plant is also commonly known as bachelor’s button.

Tiger Swallowtail lands on blue Delphinium

Delphinium

Delphinium, Zones 4 to 8

The blooms also come in pink and white, but delphiniums are some of the best blue flowers available.

Check out gorgeous green flowers for your garden.

statice flower

Statice

Limonium, Annual

This blue flower is commonly grown for dried arrangements and bouquets. Statice also attracts butterflies.

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Morning Glory

Ipomoea, Annual

Look for ‘Heavenly Blue’ for the best blue blooms. Be advised that this flowering vine can be somewhat aggressive.

Check out the top 10 vines for hummingbirds.

black and blue salvia

Salvia

Salvia sp., Annual

There are many blue salvia species, including black and blue salvia, mealycup sage, pitcher sage, Playin’ the Blues salvia, and meadow sage. This variety makes it easy to find the right ones for your garden.

plumbago blue flowers

Plumbago

Plumbago auriculata, Zones 9 to 11

This sprawling shrub with blue flowers thrives in heat and full sun. Southern gardeners will have the most success with plumbago. As a bonus, it is drought-tolerant once established.

great blue lobelia

Blue Cardinal Flower

Lobelia siphilitica, Zones 4 to 9

Cardinal flower comes in bright red and cool blue. This plant, which is beloved by hummingbirds and other pollinators, prefers moist soil.

Psst—we found the prettiest purple flowering plants to grow in your garden.

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Blue Columbine

Aquilegia vulgaris, Zones 3 to 8

Here’s another good choice for gardeners who are looking for true-blue flowers. These spring bloomers are uniquely lovely in shady woodland gardens. As a bonus, Columbine flowers attract hummingbirds!

spiderwort blue flowers

Spiderwort

Tradescantia sp., Zones 3 to 9

A native wildflower, spiderwort boasts bright yellow stamens that emphasize the blue flowers among grasslike foliage. Plant it in a sunny area with moist soil.

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Virginia Bluebells

Mertensia virginica, Zones 3 to 9

This wildflower of the East and Midwest makes an ideal companion plant for daffodils and hostas, then it dies back until the next year. Grow Virginia bluebells in humus-rich moist soil and the plants will self-sow into a colony. This early-spring bloom provides nectar for bees and other pollinators.

grape hyacinth

Grape Hyacinth

Muscari armeniacum, Zones 3 to 9

If you’re into pretty blue hues and want plants that are super easy to maintain, seek out grape hyacinth. This low-growing plant is a welcome sight after a long winter. Plant the bulbs in autumn and look forward to beautiful blooms in spring. Butterflies love it, too.

What Does an Anna’s Hummingbirds Look Like?

male anna's hummingbird
Male Anna’s hummingbird

A stocky, medium-sized hummingbird, the Anna’s has a straight, short bill and a broad tail that extends past the wings. With bold, metallic greens above a gray belly, Anna’s is the only North American hummingbird sporting a full reddish crown. The male Anna’s hummingbird has a beautiful iridescent pinky rose-red colored crown and throat.

If the color appears to be more violet than rose, the bird could be a hybrid that is the result of mating between Anna’s and Costa’s hummingbirds.

The female has a red patch on the throat, often forming a small gorget that is unusual for female hummingbirds. Their backs are duller, iridescent green, with drab gray underparts, and they have white markings over the eyes.

These hummingbirds are quite small, measuring about 3.9 inches from beak to tail (and weighing only 0.1 to 0.2 ounce). They have a wingspan of 5 1/4 inches.

Learn how to identify a ruby-throated hummingbird.

Anna’s Hummingbird Facts

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Female Anna’s hummingbird
  • Scientific name: Calypte anna
  • Family: hummingbird
  • Named for: Anna de Belle Massena, the wife of a French prince and bird collector
  • Body temperature: Though it may seem very warm to humans, an Anna’s average body temperature is 107 degrees Fahrenheit. But it can drop to 48 degrees when it goes into torpor, a kind of deep sleep, during cold weather. It takes about 20 minutes to “awaken.”
  • Heart rate: An average human heart beats between 60 and 100 times per minute, but an Anna’s heart rate is much faster, beating around 600 times per minute!
  • Feet: Similar to other hummingbirds, Anna’s take zero steps because of their very small feet and legs. Instead, they rely on flying and landing to move around.

Check out more jaw-dropping facts about hummingbirds.

Anna’s Hummingbird Nest

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An Anna’s hummingbird nest is about the size of a thimble.

Anna’s hummingbirds breed in winter and spring. After mating, the female uses spider silk to bind together pieces of plants, hair, feathers and lichen to make a nest among twiggy branches of a tree or vine.

“This Anna’s hummingbird (above) made a tiny nest, and I watched two babies hatch and grow up in it. The mom fed the babies every 15 minutes. Over a few weeks, I watched as they grew in size, eventually tested their wings and then flew away. Both made it! This hummingbird mom was amazing,” says Birds & Blooms reader Scott Rose 0f Victoria, British Columbia.

Juvenile Anna’s Hummingbirds

female anna's hummingbird on nest
Female Anna’s feeding her babies in the nest

Two pearly white eggs hatch in two weeks, and the chicks fledge three weeks later.

Young Anna’s hummingbirds take to the skies at an early age—they’re typically between 18 and 26 days old when they set off on their first flights.

Learn everything you need to know about hummingbird nests.

Anna’s Hummingbird Call and Sounds

Annas Hummingbird
Listen for this hummingbird’s buzzy sounds

Anna’s hummingbirds are more vocal than most hummingbirds. The male sings a buzzy, scratchy series of notes to attract a mate. This is rare among northern temperate hummingbirds, though their squeaks and buzzes are hardly musical to the human ear.

Listen to their song.

Bird songs provided by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

If you’re lucky enough, you may see a male Anna’s hummingbird perform a unique courtship ritual. To attract a mate, the male puts on an aerial display that starts with hovering a few yards in front of a female. He ascends above the treetops, then dives toward the ground, pulling up with a loud screech made by his tail feathers.

The male zooms upwards as much as 130 feet when performing this display. He does the same to intimidate intruders (including people).

Diet: What Does an Anna’s Hummingbird Eat?

hummingbird eyes, anna's hummingbird
Male Anna’s hummingbird perched on a sugar-water feeder

Generally, their favorite foods are nectar, sugar water, spiders, small insects like midges and leaf hoppers and tree sap. The high-protein diet might help them tolerate colder conditions.

“What do Anna’s hummingbirds eat for food when they stay in Washington during the winter?” asks Birds & Blooms reader William Toth.

Birding experts Kenn and Kimberly Kaufman say, “Thanks to the effects of ocean currents, that coastal region has a mild climate in all seasons. For example, average nighttime low temperatures in Seattle, Washington, are well above freezing, even in midwinter.

During the winter, there are usually plenty of flowers blooming in gardens and natural areas, and tiny insects are active during the day. Many people in these areas put out sugar-water feeders, which helps the hummingbirds survive through extreme cold snaps.”

Anna’s Hummingbird Range and Habitat

Annas Hummingbird Bird Species

Range maps provided by Kaufman Field Guides, the official field guide of Birds & Blooms.

This species is more cold-hardy than other hummingbirds. In recent decades, Anna’s hummingbirds have extended their year-round range north, along the Pacific coast to Washington and British Columbia.

Anna’s range and numbers have grown thanks to feeders and their attraction to both ornamental and native flowers. A familiar sight from California up to Washington state, Anna’s visit backyard gardens, parks, streams and open woodlands.

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If you live along the Pacific coast, you might see Anna’s hummingbirds year-round

During the early 1900s, they were found primarily in northern Baja California and southern California. Anna’s hummingbirds now sometimes wander north to Alaska. Their range also extends eastward into Arizona, Nevada, Utah and western Texas, though they’ve been spotted as far away as New York and Newfoundland.

Outside the breeding season, they may move to higher elevations in search of food, and some migrate east and west across California and Arizona.

Psst—you won’t believe how many Anna’s hummingbirds visited this Washington backyard!

Sources