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Bignonia capreolata for hummingbirds

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Wonder when to put your hummingbird feeders back out in the spring? Clemson’s Paul Thompson uses a visual reminder from nature. Among the many vines he grows, the native crossvine, Bignonia capreolata, has a narrow funnel-shaped flower which Paul says is perfectly designed for hummingbirds to visit for nectar simultaneously getting pollen on their head and effectively transferring that to the next flower. Capreolata means tendrils but you don’t need structures for this vine --- it climbs trees and can cover them and certain wooden structures easily with vines reaching fifty feet – in a naturalized area it can be dramatic in bloom. For a home garden, you may want a medium-sized trellis as it tends to flower at the ends of vines -- at the top of a tree you’d miss all the excitement. There’re lots of cultivars now with brighter colors.

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Amanda McNulty is a Clemson University Extension Horticulture agent and the host of South Carolina ETV’s Making It Grow! gardening program. She studied horticulture at Clemson University as a non-traditional student. “I’m so fortunate that my early attempts at getting a degree got side tracked as I’m a lot better at getting dirty in the garden than practicing diplomacy!” McNulty also studied at South Carolina State University and earned a graduate degree in teaching there.