(Kudos Mandarin Hybrid Anise Hyssop) Dense plumes of creamy orange flowers are accented by deep green foliage in this heat- and drought-tolerant favorite of pollinators. Kudos Mandarin is a compact, clumping, semi-dwarf variety.
Agastaches are ideal companion plants for Salvias and beneficial choices for attracting butterflies, honeybees and hummingbirds. Similar to so many members of the mint family (Lamiaceae) -- such as sages -- they thrive in low-fertility soils, but need excellent drainage.
Kudos Mandarin is a fragrant, long-blooming Agastache developed by Oregon's Terra Nova Nurseries.
Most Agastaches are native to the Southwest and Northern Mexico. These are the most heat- and drought-tolerant members of the genus. In contrast, some species -- such as the Asian Agastache rugosa -- can handle more moisture and colder winters.
By crossing Southwestern species with varieties of Agastache rugosa, you gain the best of both types as in the Kudos Series. This one grows well in USDA Cold Hardiness Zone 5. Kudos Agastaches are more tidy and upright, floriferous, long flowering and weather-resistant than most Agastaches. Their non-browning calyces create long-lasting color that endures even when blossoms are gone.
(Sonoran Sunset® Anise Hyssop) An abundance of lavender-rose flowers mark Agastache cana 'Sinning' as being unique from the typical purple-flowered plants of its species. Colorado plantsman Duane Sinning discovered this lovely hybrid.
Sonoran Sunset® Anise Hyssop was developed by Plant Select, a nonprofit organization affiliated with Colorado State University. Plant Select promotes production of and education about xeriscapic, drought-resistant plants.
Agastache is Greek for "many flower spikes." Cana describes the plant's gray foliage, which has a pleasant anise or licorice-like fragrance. Common names for this species include Mosquito Plant, Texas Hummingbird Mint and Double Bubble Mint.
The trademarked name refers to the Sonoran Desert and the lovely sunset purples at end of day in the plant's native American Southwest. Aside from resisting drought, Sonoran Sunset® tolerates heat and cold. Put all these characteristics together and you have an intoxicating species that excels in semi-arid climates.
Sonoran Sunset is a full sun plant that is easy to grow but requires excellent drainage. Get its conditions right and you will be rewarded with the happy buzz of butterflies, honeybees and hummingbirds.
Don't expect deer to bother this mint family (Lamiaceae) plant. Similar to Salvias and other minty relatives, Agastaches contain chemicals that don't appeal to hooved wildlife.
Photo courtesy of Plant Select®.
(Orange Texas Firecracker) Hummingbirds and butterflies will thank you with frequent visits if you add this long-blooming plant to your wildlife garden. Its clear, pumpkin-orange trumpet-type flowers with long, narrow petals are wells of delicious nectar.
Orange Texas Firecracker is a subshrub, which means that it combines soft, herbaceous perennial foliage with some woodiness. It has slender, lance-shaped, dark green leaves. Trim it back in late winter for better form and fuller spring growth.
Although related to the Bears Breeches genus (Acanthus), Orange Texas Firecracker lacks the thorny sepals of those plants. Anisacanthus is Greek for "without thorns" and quadrifidus refers to the four petals of its flower. The phrase var. Wrightii means that this is a variation of the native Texas species named for American botanist Charles Wright (1811-1885). Beginning in 1837, Wright spent 15 years collecting extensively in Texas.
This is a mid-height, heat-tolerant species that loves full sun. Orange Texas Firecracker resists drought, but thrives with average watering based on local conditions. For pyrotechnical color in the garden, mix it with the deep orange flowers of Texas Firecracker (Anisacanthus wrightii) and the crimson blossoms of Red Texas Firecracker ( Anisacanthus wrightii 'Select Red').
Don't worry about deer; this plant isn't to their taste.
(California Drought Action Pack) The drought in California is a real challenge to gardeners and to the wildlife that depends increasingly on us for survival. We want to help.
This package consists of Salvias, Agastache, Kniphofia, Asclepias and other wildlife-friendly & drought resistant plants that will grow, bloom and be happy in dry gardens. We will personally select three each of four different plants, taking into account your particular climate and location. These are some of our top sellers, offered as a discounted group. We can't promise any specific plant, but you'll be excited when you unpack your box!
We're all concerned about the declining habitats and food sources for hummingbirds, butterflies and bees - and by planting these in your garden you will be doing a great service to our animal friends that being stressed by the lack of flowers. Because of the large number of suitable varieties we grow, we'll plan to send along a balanced, long blooming mix. You can plant now and enjoy these beauties for years to come, even if the drought continues.
Some of the plants
We also include a detailed Planting Guide, to insure your success.
We offer this for the Fall planting season only with free shipping anywhere in California. You can choose your desired shipping date during checkout.
Please let us know in the "Customer Notes" section of the shopping cart if you have any color preferences or blooming season restrictions. We guarantee to pick out some of the very best drought tolerant varieties we grow for you. Please, this is for California residents only.
(Texas Craglily) Echeandia texensis shines in many ways. First, the delicate looking yet tough flowers are a rich shade of gold. Other stellar traits include its ability to tolerate clay soils, heat, a moderate amount of winter cold and drought.
This perennial's common name might mislead you into thinking it is a canyon plant. However, according to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, it's native to clay soils in the dunes and arroyos of the Rio Grande River Valley of southern Texas. This includes locations on the Gulf Coast.
Sometimes it is called Mexican Hat Lily due to the flowers looking a bit like upside down, floppy sombreros with tall crowns.
The scientific name is also a bit confusing. Although some sources refer to Texas Craglily as belonging to the lily family (Liliaceae), others say it belongs in the asparagus family (Asparagaceae). Instead of bulbs, it grows from corms.
Despite its drought resistance, E. texensis thrives with average watering based on local conditions and is known to adapt well to the moister climate of the Southeast.
Finally, it's worth knowing that this is an excellent butterfly plant that does its best to discourage deer.
(Mango Popsicle Hot Poker) This genus has become very popular in the last few years - for good reason. They feed hummingbirds & honeybees, and attract butterflies. And this superior variety from Oregon's TerraNova Nurseries is compact, free blooming and amazingly hardy.
In 2011 and 2012 we grew dozens of the new Kniphofia varieties, and only a few stood out from the pack. This is absolutely our favorite. One of our nursery friends in Portland, Oregon said that it continued to bloom through January, even though the foliage was covered with a foot of snow.
We don't grow many non-Salvias, and when we do it has to be special. This is one of those very, very good new plants. A must have plant.
(Pineapple Popsicle Hot Poker) This genus has become very popular in the last few years - for good reason. They feed hummingbirds and butterflies. And this superior variety from Oregon's TerraNova Nurseries is compact, free blooming and amazingly hardy.
In 2011 and 2012 we grew dozens of the new Kniphofia varieties, and only a few stood out from the pack. We love this one for its bright, neutral color that goes with anything. One of our nursery friends in Portland, Oregon said that it continued to bloom through January, even though the foliage was covered with a foot of snow.
We don't grow many non-Salvias, and when we do it has to be special. This is one of those very, very good new plants. A must have plant.
(Lion's Ear or Wild Dagga) "Leon" is Greek for "lion," whereas "otis" translates as "ear." The appellation "leonurus" equals "lion colored." Actually, we think the tawny orange blossoms of this mint family (Lamiaceae) species look more like a lion's mane.
The flowers grow in tiered whorls along velvety stems so tall they may rise above your head. When crushed, the plant's lance-shaped leaves are fragrant similar to many mint-family species.
Lion's Ear is native to rocky grasslands in South Africa. It is a tropical shrub that forms clumps and grows rapidly. It combines soft herbaceous growth with woodiness at the base of its stems. Pollinators, including butterflies, are attracted to Lion's Ear nectar, which is plentiful. In South Africa, where it is mainly called Wild Dagga, parts of the shrub are used medicinally to sooth coughs, dysentery, fevers and headaches.
Lion's Ear is perennial in areas with mild climates and works well as an annual in regions with cold winter temperatures. It is a fine Salvia companion, particularly as a long-blooming background planting.
(Island Pitcher Sage) Native to shady canyons on the coast of Southern California's Channel Islands, this threatened species is highly desirable for its ruggedness, its aromatic furry leaves and its spectacular pink flowers.
Grow this shrub in rich soil with regular watering in partial shade for a breathtaking blooming every year - or grow it in any amount of shade with any amount of water in all but the very worst soil, and you will still be rewarded for your efforts.
A California native that catches everyone's eye. Highly recommended in locations with climates similar to its native range.
(Sierra Madre Cardinal Flower) Butterflies and hummingbirds love the long, scarlet and orange trumpet blossoms of this Lobelia native to the Sierra Madre Occidental Mountains of Southern Arizona and Northern Mexico.
Mexican Cardinalflower is another common name for Sierra Madre Cardinal Flower. In its scientific name, the term laxiflora refers to the looseness of this long-blooming, clump-spreading plant's flower stems. Angustifolia concerns the narrowness of its shiny leaves.
The Lobelia genus is named for French botanist and herbalist Matthias de l'Obel (1538-1616) who served as physician and botanist to Britain's King James I.
Sierra Madre Cardinal Flower triples in height when in bloom. It grows well in full sun to partial shade and tolerates heat. Although it thrives with average watering based on local conditions, this beauty also tolerates drought. It is perennial in a broad range of zones and, due to rapid growth, is a good bedding plant in areas with frigid winters. Plant it in rich soil.
Although used in cooking, this mild tasting oregano is particularly ornamental. Its gold-green leaves turn bright gold in autumn adding a glow to herb gardens, borders and container plantings. In summer, it shoots up 20-inch-tall spikes of pink flowers.
Norton’s Gold is a hybrid, but the species is native to Greece and Turkey. This short variety rises up 3 to 6 inches and spreads 24 inches or more. So it works well as a fragrant, drought-resistant groundcover. It's also cold tolerant and grows well in USDA Zones 6 to 9.
Give this perennial partial to full shade or a combination of morning sun and afternoon shade. Any soil will do as long as it is well drained. Regular watering is fine, but as with so many herbs, Norton’s Gold Oregano thrives in dry conditions.
Historically, oreganos have been used as in herbal remedies for problems including respiratory difficulties, heartburn and urinary tract afflictions. Oregano oil also is used in insect repellant; in the garden, oregano plants deter many garden pests while attracting honeybees and butterflies. You might say they are golden.
(Stem Clasping Violet Sage) Like a candelabra lit up with whorls of violet blossoms, the erect, branching flower spikes of Salvia amplexicaulis make this native of Southeastern Europe shine. On the Grecian island of Thassos, it brightens areas near the beach.
The summer-blooming flowers are nestled inside leaf-like burgundy bracts that attach directly to, or clasp, the flower stems without petioles. This gives the plant its common name. Its bright green, fragrant foliage has attractively bumpy, lance-shaped leaves. This sage is a good choice for perennial borders, woodland gardens and cut-flower beds.
Although S. amplexicaulis does fine with regular watering, it does love moisture. So it is an ideal choice for moist problem areas in the yard. Give it a setting with full sun to partial shade along with average garden soil that drains well. Deadhead the flowers to prolong bloom time and keep butterflies visiting. Speaking of wildlife, deer tend to avoid most sages including this one.
Here’s another reason to love this pretty plant: Scientists think that the essential oil of S. amplexicaulis may be useful in fighting bacterial infections.
Here is a link to a great set of pictures for this plant.
(Lavender Leaf Sage) It's easy to confuse this sage from Southern Mexico with a Lavender bush. The bluish-lavender flower spikes make it look like a Lavandula species as does the foliage, which is similar in size, shape and color.
However, unlike Lavender, which blooms from spring into fall, this gray herbaceous perennial sage follows an opposite pattern. It begins blooming in fall and continues into spring if not deterred by frost.
Although it doesn't grow quickly, heat-tolerant Salvia lavanduloides is tough when given full sun, good air circulation and well-drained soil. It is a fragrant groundcover, border or container plant and is highly recommended by honeybees and butterflies. Humans like it too, which explains why it is often in short supply.
(Silke's Dream Salvia) Large red-orange blossoms combine with heart-shaped, light green, heavily veined leaves in this large, long-blooming sage. It's a subshrub, which means it is a perennial that combines soft, herbaceous growth with some woodiness.
Horticulturist Art Petley discovered this accidental cross of Salvia darcyi and Salvia microphylla in an Austin, Texas, garden. Salvia microphylla is native to the American Southwest and grows throughout Mexico. In contrast, Salvia darcyi is from northeastern Mexico where Texas plant explorers Carl Schoenfeld and John G. Fairey of Yucca Do Nursery collected it in the Galeana area of Nuevo Leon.
Although not as cold tolerant as its related hybrid, Vermilion Bluffs® Mexican Sage (Salvia darcyi 'Pscarl'), Silke's Dream thrives in a broad range of USDA zones. It is a full-sun sage that tolerates heat and drought, but appreciates average watering based on your local conditions.
Trim back Silke's Dream after its first round of bloom for a reprise of profuse blossoms in autumn. Honeybees and hummingbirds love its nectar and pollen.
(Red Betony) Heralding from the arid Southwest, this attractive and desirable perennial is one of the best hummingbird plants. Small pastel red/orange flowers make a real impact due to their numbers - this plant is often covered in flowers. And the furry leaves have a mild, fruity fragrance, especially in warm weather.
This mounding small perennial is native to shady mountain canyons in Arizona and Texas. This is a fine hardy perennial for shady spots, and even grows in full sun with adequate water. It can stand drought when established, but does very well with regular garden water. This plant blooms for us April - October!
This is another Salvia-like perennial that deserves much greater prominence in our gardens.
Highly recommended. The hummers will thank you!
(Texas Firecracker) Hummingbirds and butterflies will thank you with frequent visits if you add this long-blooming plant to your wildlife garden. Its bright orange trumpet-type flowers with long, narrow petals are wells of delicious nectar.
Texas Firecracker is a subshrub, which means that it combines soft, herbaceous perennial foliage with some woodiness. It has slender, lance-shaped, dark green leaves. Trim it back in late winter for better form and fuller spring growth.
Although related to the Bears Breeches genus (Acanthus), Texas Firecracker lacks the thorny sepals of those plants. Anisacanthus is Greek for "without thorns." Wrightii means that this native Texas species is named for American botanist Charles Wright (1811-1885) who, beginning in 1837, spent 15 years collecting extensively in Texas.
This is a mid-height, heat-tolerant species that loves full sun. Texas Firecracker resists drought, but thrives with average watering based on local conditions. It does well in containers as well as mixed borders.
For pyrotechnical color in the garden, mix it with the clear, pumpkin-orange flowers of Golden Flame Texas Firecracker (Anisacanthus quadrifidus var. wrightii) and the crimson blossoms of Red Texas Firecracker ( Anisacanthus wrightii 'Select Red').
Don't worry about deer; this plant isn't to their taste.
(Orange Bloodflower) Vivid orange and gold clusters of tiny, star-shaped flowers contrast handsomely with the dark green, lance-shaped leaves of Orange Bloodflower. Other common names include Tropical Milkweed and Mexican Butterfly Weed.
The last name tells you what a magnet this is for Lepidoptera . The endangered Monarch butterfly is particularly drawn to the milkweed family ( Asclepiadaceae), which includes Orange Bloodflower.
Monarchs lay their eggs on milkweeds, because those are the only plants their caterpillars will eat. The roughness of fuzzy milkweed foliage makes it easier for eggs and chrysalises to cling to the plants. Monarch caterpillars consume powerful chemicals in the leaves protecting them as babies and adults against predators for whom the chemicals are toxic. Perhaps it is these chemicals that make deer avoid the plant.
This particular milkweed is native to South America and is perennial in USDA zones where winter temperatures are warmer. In zones with colder winters, it works well as a bedding plant. When grown as an annual, Orange Bloodroot can be cut back in late autumn and moved indoors to overwinter. But don't forget to reduce watering and place it in a cool, but sunny location.
Although it is a water lover, Orange Bloodflower grows well with average watering based on local conditions. It is a good solution for sunny, damp areas of the yard.
Unlike Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca), this species doesn't have a taproot. This means that it is easier to control the plant's spread.
In the past few years, much has been written about the problems as well as the benefits that Tropical Milkweeds present for Monarch butterflies. Butterflies adore these lush bloomers, which offer plentiful nectar and provide what is becoming scarce -- lodging for Monarch larvae.
However, where these plants persist outdoors during winter, Monarchs may not complete their migration to Mexico. This creates a number of difficulties, including illness for the butterflies. The best way to avoid this problem in warm regions is to cut all types of Tropical Milkweed to the ground during autumn.
Please note: this is a seed grown strain and there is some variation in flower color from plant to plant.
Hummingbirds love Salvia (sage) nectar and are attracted to it by the bright colors of tubular sage blossoms. In particular, these little whirlybirds can easily spot flowers in the red spectrum, which is prevalent among sages. Here are some hummingbird gardening tips.
Fragrance as well as color attracts butterflies. However, they don't have noses. Instead, butterflies smell and taste with their antennas and feet. Here are some ways to attract them:
If you live in suburbs or rural areas where deer plunder gardens, Salvias (sages) can be part of your plan for discouraging these hungry visitors. Here are some tips.