Although hummingbirds visit most gardens on occasion, planting flowers that produce colorful blooms and sweet nectar will ensure these tiny birds return again and again. Gardeners in the Sacramento Valley region of California, located in USDA hardiness zones 8 and 9, can grow a variety of flowers to create a hummingbird garden.
The shrub Chilopsis linearis grows wild in desert areas of the southwestern United States. It reaches heights of up to 20 feet and blossoms in late spring with bell-shaped, lavender flowers. Commonly known as desert willow, this shrub is not related to true willows but features light green willow-like leaves. It prefers direct sun and dry conditions.
Firebird penstemon blooms with clusters of small, tubular, crimson flowers in spring and summer. This shrubby perennial, also known as Penstemon hartwegii, thrives in full sun and sandy or loamy soil. Provide well-drained soil and avoid overwatering to prevent root rot. Cut it back after blooms have faded to encourage another round of flowering.
Red larkspur (Delphinium cardinale) grows wild in the coastal mountains of California. This herbaceous perennial produces tall stalks of bright red blooms in May and June but goes dormant during the summer. Choose a location in full sun or partial shade and provide regular watering. It performs best in nutrient-rich, alkaline soil.
Native to mountain slopes across the western United States, wild currant (Ribes sanguineum) grows up to 6 feet tall and 6 feet wide. This deciduous shrub produces drooping clusters of pink flowers in the spring. Wild currant tolerates a variety of soil and light conditions, but prefers full sun over partial shade and well-drained soil.
Hummingbirds love the bright red or orange flowers of California fuchsia in the summer and fall. Erect or bowing stems support the one-inch long, tubular flowers. Also known as Epilobium canum, California fuchsia tolerates drought and adapts to most conditions. Prune it back during the winter to prevent it from growing twiggy.
Island Bush Snapdragon
This spreading, evergreen perennial, also known as Galvezia speciosa, attracts hummingbirds year-round with its bright red flowers. This plant is not a true snapdragon but gets its name from its similarly shaped flowers. Native to California's warm channel islands, island snapdragon does not tolerate frost but will grow back if mulched. Plant island bush snapdragon in full sun or partial shade. In the winter, prune the plant back to keep its rapid growth under control.