The Red-Flowering Hummingbird Favorite Martha Stewart Swears By

Martha Stewart is the queen of gardening, as evidenced by her 152-acre farm estate in Katonah, New York. The land is meticulously landscaped and is home to everything from horses to chicken coops to sprawling vegetable patches. Stewart loves to work her land and is constantly updating it, finding new ways to grow food, beautify the landscaping, or attract local wildlife. While deer or rabbits might not be welcome visitors to one's garden, local birds are, which is why the legendary lifestyle guru recommends planting flowering currants on your land. They're known to attract hummingbirds, bringing a touch of whimsy to your backyard. 

Specifically, in April 2024, Stewart planted several King Edward VII Flowering Currant bushes just outside of her primary greenhouse. The area was looking a tad drab and unfinished, so she set out to make it over with a new stone path and a couple of berry bush additions. Not only did they add to her berry collection, but they had the bonus of attracting hummingbirds due to the blooms that appear before the berries. "These specimens feature bold crimson flower clusters that are a favorite nectar source for hummingbirds and other pollinators," she wrote on her blog. Here is a closer look at the 'King Edward VII' Flowering Currant and how to grow it in your own backyard. 

How to grow the 'King Edward VII' Flowering Currant to attract hummingbirds

The great thing about planting the King Edward VII Flowering Currant plant is that it will bring birds to your yard and make a great statement piece for your landscaping. The bush grows hanging pinkish-red flowers, which are the most vivid option of all flowering currants. This will add a bright pop of color to your yard every March to June, infusing it with personality and dimension. These flowers will turn into blueish-black berries during mid-summer, adding a different angle to your design. The bush also grows between 3 to 6 feet tall, so it can take up a nice amount of space in the back of your landscaping or be used as a hedge. 

This plant thrives in Hardiness Zones 6 to 8. It enjoys being in full sun if grown in coastal states but prefers to be in partial shade if grown inland.  It's also not a very fussy plant, making it great for beginner gardeners. It's one of the hardiest currant options, so you won't have to worry too much about taking care of it. Just plant it in well-draining soil and water it once a week. It's drought tolerant, so if you forget to water it for a week or two, there won't be any negative impact.

It attracts all sorts of wildlife

If you love attracting birds to your garden, this is the plant for you. The bright pink flowers attract hummingbirds and butterflies in early spring due to their nectar. You will have these bejeweled birds and charming insects flitting around between March to June, bringing magic to your backyard. But you won't lose your animal presence once the flowers drop. The bush itself is a great cover for songbirds, so expect to hear plenty of melodies in your backyard. Once the berries start growing you will also notice an influx of robins, finches, and woodpeckers in your yard, since they love to snack on its fruit. You too can graze on the berries. They're rather tart, but they can be used in everything from baked goods to jams. 

While the King Edward VII Flowering Currant might attract all sorts of winged creatures, you don't have to worry about accidentally beckoning deer and rabbits to your yard. While they're just as charming to look at, every gardener knows the havoc these animals can wreak on flower beds and vegetable patches. Luckily, these bushes are deer- and rabbit-resistant, as their berries and leaves don't interest them.