California Native Plants for Hummingbirds

Hummingbirds are attractive animals with characteristics that are strikingly different from other species of birds, and are also a crucial part of the reproductive cycle for many California plants. Fans of the birds are often eager to attract them to their gardens. While you can attract them using a feeder, it is much better for the ecosystem to attract the animals with native plant species.


Manzanita shrubs are extremely common along the West Coast. All 106 species are recognized by their bright, shiny orange or red bark. Because the evergreen plants grow relatively close to the ground, they provide excellent protection for ground-dwelling animals like quails, roadrunners and squirrels. Hummingbirds, on the other hand, enjoy the plant's beautiful white, red and yellow hanging flowers.


Sage is another common sight in California, particularly the salvia genus, which contains approximately 900 species--500 of which are native to Mexico and California. The plant is part of the mint family, and the leaves are often used as herbs in cooking or burned as a form of incense. These flowering, drought-resistant shrubs grow flowers that produce large amounts of nectar that is popular with hummingbirds.

Wild Gooseberries and Wild Currant

Both wild gooseberries and wild currant plants are drought-resistant California natives that grow beautiful flowers that eventually bloom into fresh berries that are enjoyed by a number of native California bird species. While the flowers are in bloom, they are popular treats for hummingbirds. Wild currants are native to Southern California climates, while wild gooseberries grow throughout California.

Western Columbine

These small perennial shrubs are known for their beautiful red and yellow flowers that are a favorite with hummingbirds, who particularly like the color of the red blooms. The flowers bloom through spring, and by summer, they grow into fruits. Because these plants do poorly in excessively cold conditions, they survive best in coastal areas of California.

Red Larkspur

These thin, stalky plants grow large clusters of bright, pointed flowers in red and orange. They are a favorite of hummingbirds but also attract snails, which they often require protection from or they can die easily. In nature, the plants tend to grow at the bottoms of slopes and canyons, which means they require good drainage and lots of water to grow.

Keywords: hummingbird flowers, gardens for animals, blooming plants

About this Author

Jill Harness has written on a variety of subjects for more than 10 years. Her work has appeared in various print and online publications, including "San Diego City Beat," "Mental Floss," RueTheDayBlog and Harness has a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from San Francisco State University.