Hummingbirds prefer native species (commonly Sambucus, Ceanothus and Arctostaphylos) for nesting, and they prefer a mixed diet of nectar from multiple sources for their daily diet. Since hummingbirds have to eat twice their body weight in nectar and insects each day, they’re protective of good food sources in the garden and will fight aggressively to defend them. Here are some great locally native species to get your hummingbird garden started!
California Fuchsia (Epilobium canum)
Hummingbirds do tend to try the red flowers first. The general tendency to frequent red flowers is not because hummingbirds like red flowers, but because bees avoid red flowers and the lack of bees means that there is usually better nectar quantity and quality in red flowers.
California Fuchsia is an easy to grow flower that blooms bright scarlet during the late summer and early fall. There is no better native plant to have to attract hummingbirds, and it readily self-seeds once established.
Hummingbird Sage (Salvia spathacea)
A favorite amongst hummingbirds, Hummingbird Sage blooms late winter through summer with beautiful rose-pink magenta blossoms. Plant in a dry, partly shaded area and watch it bloom. Very easy to grow, and requires very little water, Hummingbird Sage will brighten any landscape and bring life to your yard! Maintenance is easy, too. Trim back the spent flower stalks to re-invigorate the plant and encourage a second blooming.
Scarlet Monkey Flower (Mimulus cardinalis)
An attractive plant that bears reddish orange flowers, typically found in wetland areas. Very popular for landscaping because of its beautiful flowers and popularity amongst hummingbirds. Flowers through the spring, summer, and fall and requires a little more water than the other plants mentioned- plant it near your hose bib!
Showy Penstemon (Penstemon spectabilis)
This wide-mouthed tubular purple flower is often used as a pioneer species in disturbed habitats. Beautiful, easy, and quick to grow this plant will attract hummingbirds to your yard and requires very little water. Prefers to grow on a slope and blooms in the winter.
White Sage (Salvia apiana)
Fast growing shrub with white flowers that will bloom through winter, spring, and summer. Often utilized by Native people for incense or ceremonial purposes, White Sage is easy to grow with very little water maintenance.
All of these species will be available for sale at our Native Plant Sale this Sunday, November 12, from 9AM to 3PM. Questions? Contact Lori.
– Tori Jankovich, ENC Communications Intern