The "Golden State" of California is known for its sunny, mild temperatures. California, however, has many different climates, depending upon the region. For the most part, the state lies in USDA zone 8 and 9; coastal areas are generally in zone 10, while inland areas tend to lie in zone 7.
Establishing a sunny garden in most parts of California is an easy project. Attracting hummingbirds into the garden is equally easy, if you grow the right plants. Hummingbirds are especially attracted to two things: the color red, and tubular or trumpet-shaped flowers.
Commonly known as the shrimp plant, this perennial flowering shrub blooms just about all year. Because it is hardy to USDA zones 9 and 10, it’s a good choice for the California gardener, especially those in Los Angeles and San Francisco. This plant blooms in shrimp-colored flowers with the tubular shape that hummingbirds are attracted to. Plant the shrimp plant in full sun and it will thrive, growing to a height of 2-3 feet.
Agastache is a flowering perennial plant that reaches 36 to 48 inches in height. The ‘Tutti-Frutti’ variety does especially well in the Sacramento valley. It has tubular flowers that grow on 2-3 foot stalks in varying shades of red. The fruity scent of the flowers is where the variety gets its name. It will flower non-stop in some areas of California and from mid-summer to early fall in others. Hardy to USDA zones 7 to 10b, 'Tutti Frutti’ is heat and humidity tolerant, thrives in full sun, and it does well in containers. You can propagate the plant from stem cuttings.
Also called trumpet honeysuckle, sempervirens is a good choice for the California full-sun garden. You can train this woody vine to climb or allow it to trail. It blooms in 2-inch-long tubular flowers in red or orange with yellow centers, from spring to fall. There is a cultivar with bright yellow flowers as well.
Sempervirens makes a stunning backdrop for your other plants as it will grow from 12 to 15 feet in height. It does well anywhere in California and it thrives on full sun. If you are hoping to have hummingbirds as regular visitors to your garden, plant sempervirens and sit back and wait for the show. This plant is hardy to USDA zones 5a to 10b and recommended by the University of California as water-efficient for Yolo County.