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For The Garden

Hummingbird Plants

Author: Nancy Erdmann
Issue: September, 2012, Page 118
MEXICAN BUSH SAGE
(Salvia leucantha)



MEXICAN BUSH SAGE
(Salvia leucantha)


Type: Evergreen shrub

Blooms: Purple; spring through summer

Size: 3-4'H by 3-6'W

Soil: Well-draining, but tolerates heavier soils

Light: Part sun to light shade

Water needs: Does best with supplemental irrigation in summer; avoid over-watering.

Maintenance: To remove burnt foliage and encourage fresh growth, cut to the ground after danger of frost has passed. Prune spent blooms.

Attracts: Bees, butterflies and hummingbirds

Note: It is pet-, deer- and disease-resistant.

Why we like it: A fast-grower, it puts out velvety soft flower spikes and scented leaves. Mexican bush sage can be grown in pots and used in sensory and xeriscape gardens.


LANTANA
(Verbenaceae)
LANTANA
(Verbenaceae)

Type: Evergreen shrub; groundcover

Blooms: Orange, red, yellow, pink, purple; summer through fall

Size: 2-6'H and 2-6'W

Soil: Most types

Light: Full sun, reflected heat

Water needs: Minimal once established

Maintenance: Cover when a freeze is predicted. If hit by frost, prune back after all danger of frost has passed.

Attracts: Birds and butterflies

Note: This fast-growing, sprawling plant can become invasive.

Why we like it: Although a common low-desert plant, lantana comes in an array of interesting color combinations. It loves the sun, is easy to grow and can be cultivated in containers.


FIRECRACKER PENSTEMON
(Penstemon eatonii)
FIRECRACKER PENSTEMON
(Penstemon eatonii)


Type: Perennial

Blooms: Scarlet; spring to early summer

Size: 1-3'H and 1-3'W

Soil: Fast-draining, loose

Light: Full sun to part shade

Water needs: Allow soil to dry between waterings.

Maintenance: Feed with an all-purpose fertilizer every four to six weeks after planting. Remove spent flowers to encourage re-bloom. Cut to the ground at end of season.

Attracts: Birds, bees and butterflies

Note: Plant near windows to better observe the wildlife it attracts.

Why we like it: This heat-tolerant garden favorite produces clusters of trumpet-shaped blossoms. At their peak, the blooms can be snipped for fresh flower arrangements.


ORANGE BELLS
(Tecoma ‘Orange Jubilee’)
ORANGE BELLS
(Tecoma ‘Orange Jubilee’)


Type: Evergreen shrub

Blooms: Orange; late spring to fall

Size: 8-12'H by 6-8'W

Soil: Native and amended

Light: Full sun, reflected heat

Water needs: Although drought-resistant, it flowers more heavily when watered regularly during the season.

Maintenance: Limbs might need support. Cut back in winter for a fuller plant in spring.

Attracts: Birds, bees and butterflies

Note: May die back after a freeze, but recovers once temperatures rise. Protect from  rabbits until established.

Why we like it: Its showy, trumpet-shaped flowers seem to bloom forever, making this heat-tolerant, fast-growing plant a must-have for the summer garden.

Other Favorites:
Aloe, bell-flowered hesperaloe, bottlebrush, cape honeysuckle, chuparosa, coral fountain, desert willow, emu bush, fairy duster, firecracker bush, Mexican honeysuckle, ocotillo, salvia, shrimp plant, trumpet creeper
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