Watching hummingbirds zip from flower to flower fills us with wonder and admiration. Adding their favorite plants to our gardens is the easiest way to attract them.
A great source for those types of perennials is the Friends of Manito fall plant sale. Scheduled for Sept. 8 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., the sale will be located just east of the Gaiser Conservatory in Spokane’s Manito Park.
There will be plenty of hyssop (Agastache) – a favorite of hummingbirds – available at the sale. These plants prefer full sun, are hardy down to USDA zone 5, bloom from summer into fall and require well-draining soil. Kudos Ambrosia has orange and light-rose flowers, Kudos Coral features bright coral blooms and Kudos Mandarin has orange blossoms. Height: 16 to 20 inches.
The flowers of anise hyssop (A. rupestris) Apache Sunset are stunning with their sunset-colored, fragrant tubular flowers; plants are 24 inches tall. Tutti Frutti (A. barberi) are impressive with their bubblegum-pink flowers and a height of 6 feet.
If you want to add a little spice to your flower beds, Crocosmia Lucifer is sure to please with its arching, fire-engine-red flower spikes. Even though the plants prefer sun, they will perform better in our region if they get some afternoon shade. Height: 40 inches.
Another intriguing plant to consider is Red Feathers (Echium amoenum) which has red flower spikes, becomes drought-tolerant once established, will grow in full sun to part shade, and also attracts bees and butterflies. Height: 10 inches.
Gardeners get a lot of bang for their buck with coral bells (Heuchera). They have eye-catching foliage that is evergreen, interesting flower spikes to attract those hummingbirds, hardiness to zone 4, and there are cultivars for different light conditions. Appletini has lime green foliage with a silver cast, rosy-red flowers, a height of 18 inches and grows in part to full sun. Champagne features peach-and-gold foliage frosted with white, maroon stems and white flowers, prefers part to full shade and grows to 14 inches. Silver Gumdrop has silvery leaves with pale burgundy undersides, pink flowers, grows in part to full shade and is more compact at 6 to 8 inches.
Bee balm (Monarda) is equally popular with hummingbirds, bees and gardeners. The plants have enchanting blossoms, fragrant foliage and does best in part to full sun. Two appealing cultivars that are resistant to powdery mildew are Blue Moon – with lavender-blue flowers and a height of 20 inches – and Purple Rooster, which has royal purple blooms and a height of 36 inches. Both are hardy to zone 4.
It’s no secret that hummingbirds prefer tubular flowers and beardtongue (Penstemon) is a favorite of theirs. Midnight Masquerade is a showstopper with deep purple leaves and lavender-purple flowers. It is hardy to zone 3, requires full sun and reaches a height of 36 to 40 inches.
In addition to hummingbird plants, the sale will feature many other perennials, shrubs, vines, ornamental grasses, succulents, houseplants and edible plants.
All proceeds from the plant sale will benefit Manito Park. Members of the Friends of Manito will receive 10 percent off their plant purchases; new members can join during the sale.
Susan Mulvihill is co-author, with Pat Munts, of “Northwest Gardener’s Handbook.” Contact her at Susan@susansinthegarden.com. Watch this week’s “Everyone Can Grow A Garden” video on youtube.com/c/susansinthegarden.