The Sacramento Valley, with its Mediterranean climate, is home to a number of native plant species. The area lies in USDA hardiness zone 9. With the University of California at Davis practically in her backyard, the Sacramento Valley gardener has the expertise of the university's excellent cooperative extension service nearby. The valley's plants are visited by a wide variety of birds, and some are especially loved by hummingbirds.
If you are looking for something out of the ordinary for your Sacramento valley native plant garden, the cobweb thistle (Cirsium occidentale) may fit the bill. This native plant grows to a stately 5 feet in height and bares a single, striking hot pink flower on each stem. The cobweb thistle is not a plant that you want to bump into while wandering the valley late at night as the flowers are surrounded by 12-inch-long spines. It is the brightly colored flower that draws the hummingbirds from March to May.
The color red is especially attractive to hummingbirds so the red larkspur (Delphinium cardinale) is a hummingbird favorite in the Sacramento Valley. Growing atop 2- to 5-foot stalks, the flaming red flowers bloom from May to June. The red larkspur requires partial shade and well-drained, consistently moist soil while it is blooming. According to experts with the Sacramento Valley chapter of the California Native Plant Society, snails are also attracted to the red larkspur, so the plant will require protection from the pests while in bloom. Sacramentogardening.com suggests placing saucers full of stale beer around the plants as a snail deterrent.
For a sunny area of the Sacramento Valley garden, consider red hummint (Satureja mimuloides). While the flowers offer the hummingbirds bright orange-red blooms, they also provide a sweetly scented atmosphere for the gardener. This tall, perennial flowering plant blooms in clumps 2 to 3 feet wide that last from summer to fall. Red hummint will require a bit more water in the hot summer months in the Sacramento Valley.