California is infused with a multitude of red wildflowers. It is considered to be a hot color that exudes excitement and lifts spirits. The California landscape is divided into mountains, valleys and desert regions. For this reason there are distinct plant populations within each area. Keep in mind that red is the favorite color for hummingbirds. Many red flowers in California are trumpet shaped, which is perfect for long, thirsty beaks.
Red Flowers of Northern California
The northern portion of the state consists of high elevations and coastal bluffs. The red wildflowers that thrive there are the more adaptable, cold hardy forms. Scarlet Penstemon (Penstemon labrosus), can be found above 1,000 feet. Another red coastal penstemon is the Scarlet bugler (Penstemon centranthifolius). Giant red trillium (Trillium kuraybashi) can only be found in Northern California and Southern Oregon. The leaves are spotted and the flower is a rich burgundy red. Another northern wildflower, Red ribbons (Clarkia concinna), looks like ribbons swaying in the breeze.
Red Flowers Found Throughout California
Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis) is native throughout California. It thrives in the marshy wet areas. Several red-flowering shrubs are common to all parts of the state as well. Fuchsia-flowered gooseberry (Ribes speciosum) is one of the most ornamental native shrubs; the bright red trumpet flowers hang in rows along the stems. Another attractive member of the same family is red-flowering currant (Ribes sanguineum). This shrub is covered with clusters of red flowers in the spring. Western sweet shrub (Calycanthus occidentalis) has unusual burgundy red blooms that resemble small wooden roses.
Red Flowers of Southern California
Hummingbird Sage (Salvia spathacea) is a low-growing sub-shrub with bright red blooms. It can be found in the dry foothill regions of Southern California. Another inhabitant of dry areas is the California fuchsia (Zauschneria cana). which is a bushy plant with tiny leaves. It is covered in red tubular flowers from late summer through fall. Firecracker penstemon (Penstemon eatonii) and Scarlet penstemon (Penstemon labrosus) are found in drier mountain regions. Monkey flowers are said to look like a smiling monkey faces. These bushy plants will have larger-than-average, bright red flowers for extended periods. Two Monkey flowers are found in the Southern California, (Mimulus cardinalis) and (Mimulus aurantiacus).