I'm always looking for plants that are attractive to hummingbirds, in hopes that some day I will be able to catch the elusive visitors on film. They're also fun to watch. It seems ironic that the plants that often attract these tiny and delicate birds are monsters. But in a good way, if you know this ahead of time. Lophospermum 'Compact Rose' and 'Compact White' from Suntory make great hanging baskets if grown as the only plant in the pot. But they seem to hold up really well to heat and humidity, as I witnessed in south central Michigan, where C. Raker's trial grounds are located.
|Lophospermum -Compact Rose'|
|Cuphea llavea 'Sriracha Rose'|
|Lophospermum 'Compact Rose'|
Another good plant for hummingbirds that doesn't get so large is Cuphea, or bat face flower. I love the colors on 'Sriracha Rose', a new variety from Goldsmith.
Salvia is a great hummingbird plant, and this year I fell in love with 'Wendy's Wish'. But there are many Salvias in the land, and you can't have too many. Hort Couture's Salvia 'Delft Blue' is a subtle eye-catcher. I know, it's an oxymoronic description, but I can't think of a better way to describe it. It's not easy for a flower to stand out in a sea of color. I was scanning five acres that contained thousands and thousands of flowers in all shapes, sizes, and colors.
|Still life of Salvia 'Mannequin Delft Blue' could be entitled "Sunny Caribbean with Frosty Whitecaps."|
|Salvia 'Delft Blue'|
|Salvia f. 'Strata'|
I remember one of the first hybrids of Salvia farinacea: 'Victoria', introduced some time in the early 1990s. It became the industry standard and worked so well as a vertical accent with everything from Rudbeckia and Marigolds, to Petunias and Verbena. Someone introduced a white one and it never seemed to catch on. In 1996, Salvia farinacea 'Strata', which combined blue and white, garnered the All America Selections award as the first bi-color. I'd have to see the two plants side by side to see the difference.