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Hummingbird Plants

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Hummingbird Plants

We love hummingbirds, and they love us back with lots of visits. That's because our gardens are abundant in the tubular-shaped, nectar-rich flowers of sages and companion plants. Almost any sage (Salvia spp.) will attract hummingbirds. However, this list is based on the plants that hummingbirds regularly swarm in our garden and sneak into our greenhouses to sip.

You'll find a wide range of Salvia species and varieties here, especially ones from the Western Hemisphere. Over the years, we have noticed that hummingbirds seem to prefer mint-family plants (Lamiaceae) from the West. This makes sense considering that these flying jewels aren't found in the Eastern Hemisphere; native animals prefer native flora.

Plants and pollinators in a region coevolve to meet each other's needs. For example, the tube-shaped flowers of North and Central American Lamiaceae particularly fit the beaks of hummingbirds living in those areas whereas some South American sages with longer blossoms require the longer beaks of South American hummers for pollination.

North or South, the super-rich nectar of Salvias and other mint-type plants keep tiny wings whirring. Also, insects attracted to their nectar give the birds an added dietary boost of protein.

We have discovered some happy contradictions to the Hemisphere rule. So we include some Eastern Hemisphere plants here that hummingbirds crave, especially ones from South Africa. These include Salvia companions that are also Lamiaceae. Birds in South Africa, with similarly long beaks, go crazy for the nectar in their trumpet-shaped blossoms.

In addition to basing our selections for this list on years of observation, we also listen to what you have to say. Based on customer feedback, all these plants seem to be hummingbird favorites wherever they are grown. But keep in mind that just because a sage is not listed here does not mean it won't attract and nourish hummers.

Plants


  • Salvia discolor 'Purple Bracts'

    (Purple Bract Peruvian Sage or Concolor Sage) Similar to its wild relative, Peruvian Sage, which is also known as Concolor Sage, this cultivar has foliage that is smooth, apple green on top and fuzzy with silver hairs on the bottom.  Major differences appear in the dramatic bracts.

    13.50
     


  • Salvia dombeyi

    (Giant Bolivian Sage) Hailing from Peru and Bolivia, this tender specimen is found at altitudes of 9,000 feet in the wild. This multi-stemmed, woody-based, climbing Salvia needs support. Hummingbirds love its 5-inch-long, crimson flowers, which are the longest grown by any Salvia and flower from late summer through autumn.

    15.00
     


  • Salvia dorisiana

    (Fruit Scented Sage)  This plant has it all -- big, light-green leaves that are fuzzy soft and large magenta-pink flowers that smell intoxicating and bloom from winter into spring. Fruit Scented Sage is one of the strongest and most deliciously scented plants we have encountered.

    10.50
     


  • Salvia durifolia 'Elk Blue'

    (Elk Blue Hard Leaf Sage) Soft baby blue & white flowers in abundance coupled with strong growth make this an ideal new variety for hummingbird gardeners. the specific epitaph, durifolia, means hard leaf.  We don't find the leaf exactly hard but it is lovely and durable.

    10.50
     


    New!
  • Salvia eizi-matudae

    (Shaggy Chiapas Sage) This is a sweetheart! Glowing magenta flowers lure the eye as well as hummingbirds to this heat-tolerant sage. It begins blooming in late summer where weather is warm and in fall where it is cooler.

    15.00
     


    New!
  • Salvia elegans

    (Pineapple Sage) An indispensable fall-blooming addition to the garden, this tender perennial is, perhaps, the best of all hummingbird plants. When in bloom, it is covered in 3-inch-long red flowers.

    10.50
     


  • Salvia elegans 'Golden Delicious'

    (Golden Pineapple Sage) The bright crimson flowers of this extremely fragrant sage are attractive to both humans and pollinators. However, it is the glowing golden foliage that most distinguishes this cultivar from other varieties of Pineapple Sage.
    10.50
     


  • Salvia elegans 'Honey Melon'

    (Honey Melon Pineapple Sage) This is a short Pineapple Sage that is long blooming. It is the earliest and longest flowering of all the many varieties of Salvia elegans. We recommend it for indoor herb gardening as well as for outdoor borders and groundcovers.

    10.50
     


  • Salvia elegans 'Tangerine'

    (Tangerine Pineapple Sage) This citrus-scented cultivar is our smallest variety of Pineapple Sage. Worth growing just for the exotic scent of its leaves, this culinary sage is also one of the longest blooming plants in its species.

    10.50
     


  • Salvia fallax

    (Silly Mexican Sage) Also known as Salvia roscida, this close relative of Blue Sky Mexican Sage (Salvia caudata 'El Cielo Blue') has thousands of deep violet-blue flowers with prominent white bee lines.

    10.50
     


  • Salvia fulgens

    (Cardinal Sage) Aptly named for its cardinal red, 2-inch-long flowers that glisten in the autumn sun, this full-sun sage blooms from fall into winter. Hummingbirds love it, but deer resist its charms. Growing up to 5 feet tall, it makes a fine herbaceous border plant or shrubby screen.

    10.50
     


  • Salvia gesneriiflora 'Mole Poblano'

    (Mexican Chocolate Scarlet Sage) Although this is a sister of Salvia gesneriiflora ‘Tequila’, it is shorter, more floriferous and has a longer bloom time. Similar to Tequila, the Mole Poblano variety has bright red flowers and dark purple calyxes.
    10.50
     


  • Salvia gesneriiflora 'Mountain Form'

    (Mexican Mountain Scarlet Sage) Dark red calyxes cup the large red flowers of this lovely Mexican native which blooms from early winter through spring. Although this clone of Salvia gesneriiflora is dwarf form, it grows 6 feet tall and wide similar to our other dwarf, Salvia gesneriiflora 'Green Calyx Form', which we've nicknamed "Tiny." We'll call this one "Tiny Too."
    10.50
     


  • Salvia gesneriiflora 'Tequila'

    (Big Mexican Scarlet Sage) This heavily blooming Salvia from Mexico has heart-shaped leaves and spectacular flower spikes up to 18 inches long from winter through spring. The blooms are bright red-orange with rich purple-black calyxes.

    10.50
     


  • Salvia gravida

    (Gravid Sage) This tender perennial from Michoacán, Mexico, has large, rich magenta flowers that hang from the arching branches in clusters up to 12 inches long. Growing up to 5 feet tall, this sage offers an unforgettable display when in bloom.

    10.50
     


  • Salvia greggii 'Dark Dancer'

    (Dark Dancer Autumn Sage) The clear, light raspberry flowers of this largish Autumn Sage bloom from spring into summer. It makes a colorful, tall groundcover and looks lovely on slopes. This variety was discovered as a sport in the Aptos, California nursery of Nevin Smith.
    10.50
     


  • Salvia greggii 'Stormy Pink'

    (Stormy Pink Autumn Sage) The dramatic name of this floriferous Autumn Sage is due to the calyxes cupping its smoky apricot-pink blossoms. Some gardeners report gray calyxes and others say dark plum. But for whatever reason, the Stormy Pink that we grow on our Northern California coastal farm has green calyxes with dark stripes.

    10.50
     


  • Salvia greggii 'Wild Thing'

    (Wild Thing Autumn Sage) Native to West Texas where it was collected in the wild, this cold-tolerant sage has perky, upright flowers that are coral pink with a darker throat. Overall, it is a vigorous, upright plant with dense, deep green foliage. Butterflies, honeybees and hummingbirds love it.
    10.50
     


  • Salvia greggii alba x dorisiana

    (Alice's Sage) We have John Fisher of Australia to thank for this fascinating intraspecific cross, which he named after his daughter. It really looks to be intermediate between the parents, and the fragrance of the leaves is divine.

    11.50
     


    New!
  • Salvia guaranitica 'Argentina Skies'

    (Argentina Skies Anise-Scented Sage) PLEASE NOTE: A superior variety, 'Elk Argentina Skies' is now available.
    The licorice-like fragrance of its foliage and the big whorls of large, sky blue flowers make this a stand-out sage. Tall and wide, it forms a tidy, long blooming background, screen or border.

    10.50
     


  • Salvia guaranitica 'Black & Blue'

    (Black & Blue Anise-Scented Sage)  Hummingbirds go crazy for this variety of Salvia guaranitica. The black calyxes contrast handsomely with the rich, royal blue flowers. We highly recommend the much improved Salvia BODACIOUS 'Rhythm and Blues' as an alternative to this older variety.

    10.50
     


  • Salvia guaranitica 'Blue Ensign'

    (Green Calyx Anise-Scented Sage) Partly due to its shorter height and moderate spread, this Anise-Scented Sage is the best of any we know for container planting. We love its stunning Cambridge blue flowers, bright green calyxes and the licorice-like scent of its foliage.

    10.50
     


  • Salvia guaranitica 'Elk Argentina Skies'

    (Elk Argentina Skies Anise-Scented Sage)  Developed at FBTS, this new introduction is superior to the old standby, 'Argentina Skies'.  Superior growth and earlier flowering make it a must-have choice for hummingbird gardeners.

    10.50
     


    New!
  • Salvia guaranitica 'Omaha Gold'

    (Variegated Anise-Scented Sage) Rumpled and lance-shaped, the spectacular leaves of this sage are yellowish-lime with splotches of emerald. Rub them and you smell anise, a licorice-like scent. The bountiful, cobalt blue flowers cover the plant from summer into fall.
    10.50
     


  • Salvia guaranitica 'Purple Haze'

    (Purple Haze Sage) The very best purple Anise Scented Sage, period - the result of years of careful breeding aimed at developing a reliable, free flowering and easy to grow variety suitable for growing countrywide.

    10.50
     


    New!
  • Salvia guaranitica 'Sapphire Blue'

    (Sapphire Blue Anise-Scented Sage) The large, sapphire blue flowers of this Anise-Scented Sage glow in the full-sun or partial-shade garden from summer into fall. Similar to Salvia guaranitica 'Blue Ensign', this is a shorter variety of the water-loving species.

    10.50
     


  • Salvia haenkei

    (Prawn Sage) Although the common name for this flaming red, Andean sage is based on its flower's resemblance to a shrimp head, its scientific name goes back to the days of late 18th century Spanish exploration of the Americas.

    12.50
     


  • Salvia holwayi

    (Winter Mexican Sage) Call it the Snow Queen! From fall through spring, this graceful, colorful sage blooms through 20 degree F weather despite snow and ice. It has lovely, small, dark green leaves and profuse clusters of tubular, cinnabar-red flowers that puff out in the center.

    10.50
     


  • Salvia involucrata 'Hadspen'

    (Hadspen Roseleaf Sage)  If you plant this sage in a mild-climate area where hummingbirds overwinter, you'll likely find hummers zinging back and forth among its magenta pink blossoms from fall through spring.

    10.50
     


  • Salvia iodantha

    (Scandent Mexican Sage) Here's another winter-blooming hummingbird magnet for gardens in mild climates. This one is scandent, which means it is a climber and needs support. Its abundant, purple-to-magenta flowers are velvety and 6 inches long.

    10.50
     


  • Salvia ionocalyx

    (Violet Calyx Sage) Here's another abundantly blooming sage from the cloud forest slopes of Chiapas, Mexico. Violet beelines mark the lower lip of the crimson blossoms, which are so numerous that it can be difficult to see the foliage at times.

    10.50
     


  • Salvia karwinskii

    (Karwinski's Sage) From moist mountain areas in Mexico and Central America, this rugged, winter-blooming shrub is found in oak or pine forests at altitudes of 4,000 to 8,000 feet. This may account for this winter bloomer producing a few bright red flowers during short periods of freezing weather with temperatures as low as 20 degrees F.

    10.50
     


    Special Order Plant
    Special Order Plant   This plant is available by Special Order. Click for more information.
  • Salvia karwinskii 'Ted's 18 footer'

    (Giant Karwinski's Sage) San Francisco arborist and gardener extraordinaire Ted Kipping developed this tower of creamy pinkalicious power that hummingbirds love. It's lush with bright green leaves that are large, pebbly and hairy on the underside.

    10.50
     


  • Salvia leucantha 'Danielle's Dream'

    (Pink Mexican Bush Sage) Although native to Mexico and Central America, this elegant variety of Salvia leucantha was hybridized in South Africa. It is compact, long blooming and profusely covered by soft pink flowers surrounded by velvety white bracts.

    10.50
     


  • Salvia leucantha 'Greenwood'

    (Mexican Bush Sage or Velvet Sage) This variety of Mexican Bush Sage has purple and white flowers that bloom from summer into fall. Fuzzy leaves, stems and calyxes are characteristic of its species, so this native of Mexico and Central America is also called Velvet Sage.

    10.50
     


  • Salvia leucantha 'Midnight'

    (Midnight Mexican Bush Sage) The typical Mexican Bush Sage has purple flowers surrounded by furry white bracts. This clone from the San Francisco Peninsula has deep purple flowers, calyxes and stems. It is a good groundcover due to a mounding habit, smaller size and generous amounts of flowers.

    10.50
     




Take a Quick Look at a group of Salvias
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Reviews


Plant is doing well but not yet the showy plant described. Providing great late summer color and survived a week of 100+ temps without any attention.
Ms. linda allen
Sep 7, 2017