Las Pilitas Nursery

California Native Plants are all we grow!

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3232 Las Pilitas Rd
Santa Margarita, CA 93453
Fri. & Sat. from 9am-4pm
8331 Nelson Way
Escondido, CA 92026
Tues. to Sat. from 9am-4pm

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This website is dedicated to Bert Wilson. His genius continues to inspire us.

This cute young male Anna Hummingbird was distracted by too many flowers on Celestial Blue. - grid24_12
This young Anna Hummingbird was checking out a Salvia Celestial Blue.
Hummingbirds love our Sages.

How to create a Hummingbird Garden in California

I wish I had a work force of hummingbirds to work in the nursery. They could haul pots, collect seeds, take cuttings, weed, answer the phone, deliver plants, protect the place from deer, chipmunks, and squirrels, all at the same time. The humming fights (bird brawls) might be a problem, though. Since hummingbirds have to eat twice their body weight in nectar and insects each day, they’re protective of their good food sources in the garden and will fight aggressively to defend them. Hummingbirds do tend to try the red flowers first but their sugar content is what they really are looking for regardless of color.

"Hummingbirds are capable of exerting strong selection on the nectar rewards of flowers" (Schemke and Bradshaw, PNAS, Oct. 12,1999, vol. 96, n21 11919-11915) The general tendency to frequent red flowers is not because hummingbirds like red flowers, but because bees avoid red flowers and the lack of bees means that there is usually better nectar quantity and quality in red flowers.

These species of hummingbirds have been found in California.
Broad-billed hummingbird, Cynanthus latirostris
Xantus's hummingbird, Hylocharis xantusii
Violet-crowned hummingbird, Amazilia violiceps
Blue-throated hummingbird, Lampornis clemenciae
Ruby-throated hummingbird, Archilochus colubris
Black-chinned Hummingbird - Archilochus alexandri
Anna's hummingbird, Calypte anna
The following are species of concern and have been negatively impacted by the introduction of weeds and destruction of California’s habitat, primarily the coastal sage scrub plant community.
Allen's hummingbird, Selasphorus sasin (SC)
Costa's hummingbird, Calypte costae (SC)
Rufous hummingbird, Selasphorus rufus (SC)

An immature male Anna Hummingbird. - grid24_12
Anna's Hummingbird sticking his tongue out at the camera.
Hummingbirds prefer the native species (commonly Sambucus, Ceanothus and Arctostaphylos) for nesting. They prefer a mixed diet of nectar from multiple sources for their daily diet. I read an article that showed a correlation between nectar (pollen) proteins and hummingbirds’ immune systems. So, although they can live on bird feeders they probably can not survive on bird feeders (sugar diet) as you’re messing with their immune system and, since there is no pollen in sugar water, their reproductive ability. Basically, the bird feeders are making winos out of proud birds. If they attack you, give them a break, it's the 'Twinkie' syndrome.
They can live for 8 years. They can fly at 40 miles per hour for 500 miles and dive bomb you at 60 miles per hour building up air for a loud CHIRP next to your ear (Typical Anna's Hummingbird).  One pulled my hair (that's rather difficult because of the lack there of) as I pruned a manzanita. Another hummingbird chest butted me at 30 mph. Weird to have one of these little guys get so mad (insane?) as to bounce off of your forehead (although he could just be a bad flier). Now don't get dressed in helmet and  safety glasses to walk near a Zauschneria. These little birds are small and usually do not do things that will hurt themselves, or you. But they can ming the hum out of you.
These little hummingbirds will do this some summer mornings for 15 or so minutes. I've seen them do this in puddles are at the birdbath. - grid24_12
Hummingbirds can be very social in the morning before they go out and fight for their flowers.

Since nectar production is about 2-4 mg per flower (Lange, R. S. and P. E. Scott. 1999. Hummingbird and bee pollination of Penstemon pseudospectabilis. Journal of the Torrey Botanical Society 126: 99-106.) they need to consume 50g/day,(http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/wat/wq/refer ence/foodandwater.html#references) or visit between 1000 and 2000 flowers every day. They drink from each flower 2-3 times per day. So your yard needs between 400 and 1000 flowers to support one bird. That sounds ridiculous, but the nursery is supporting at least 20 birds in spring and summer, and 5-10 in winter (bad winters there are a few very cold birds out there, hustling coal.)

The ginger bread houses with frosting gardens are sterile to the wildlife. There is no wildlife value there. No hummingbirds flying around. There might be a few mangy, dispirited butterflies that were too weak to fly away, or a few wino hummingbirds hanging with the gang of English sparrows, starlings, jays and house finches. But there is not a colony of native wildlife nesting and breeding (uh-oh). Hummingbirds may come to those types of yards but they may just visit a few alien flowers and leave, or stay but be unable to breed, or be at risk for disease. They have certain types of plants that they use during certain times of the year. picture of a hummingbird on a manzanita.

Native Hummingbird Plants for your Garden

Click on the plant links to learn more about these plants and get ordering information
(By the approximate month they flower.)
January through March
Ribes species, Currants and Gooseberries Almost all Currants and Gooseberries are used by hummingbirds. Ribes can flower anytime from October through March.
Keckiella antirrhinoides, Yellow bush snapdragon Is a garden shrub with fragrant yellow Penstemon flowers, March – May.
Opuntia species, Cacti Yes, cacti are used by the hummingbirds.
Arctostaphylos species, Manzanita The manzanitas can flower from February (‘Austin Griffin') through May, sometimes even June (‘Howard McMinn').
Diplacus species, Monkey flowers of all colors are used by hummingbirds, but they really prefer the red ones, Diplacus puniceus, Diplacus rutilus and Mimulus cardinalis. Monkey flowers are a showy addition to a hummingbird garden.
Dudleya species, Live Forever is an excellent rock wall plant. And as it is a succulent it is very drought tolerant. It naturally occurs in rock outcroppings.
Erysimum species, Wallflowers are randomly worked in an opportunistic way. Hummingbirds prefer manzanitas but like to add a little spice to their life with a tasty treat from a wallflower.
Symphoricarpos species, Snowberry. Many of the snowberries flower April through July. The hummingbirds are not crazy for the flowers, but will live on them when more tasty flowers in the garden are not available.
Penstemon species flower from April through July. Although they are commonly blue, they can be yellow, red, pink, and orange another show stopper in the garden.
June-August
Penstemon species, most notably Scarlet bugler, Penstemon centranthifolius, a hummingbirds dream.
Keckiella cordifolia , Heart-Leafed Penstemon
Lobelia species are used by the hummingbirds in mid-summer. The small blue flowers of Lobelia dunnii are used a little, the Large flowers of Lobelia cardinalis are used a lot.
Mimulus cardinalis, the scarlet monkey flower flowers most of the summer and is guarded by the birds.
Stachys species, Magenta Butterfly Flower , the hedge nettles are used as a side dish as the hummingbirds protect the Mimulus and Diplacus species. Put the Stachys in a moist part shade section of the garden.
Cirsium occidentale, Red thistle This flowers is very popular with hummingbirds. as well as monarch butterflies.
Comarostaphylis diversifolia Summer Holly, we're almost always out of this one, and it is difficult, but if you live in Coastal Areas of Southern California it is a great summer flowering bush for hummingbirds.
Antirrhinum multiflorum, Multi-flowered Snapdragon with it's purple and yellow flowers are used as the hummingbirds migrate through as a filling station.
Aquilegia species, California columbines are aggressively used by the hummingbirds. Our columbines are largely hummingbird pollinated whereas many of the non-native ones are wind pollinated.
Lonicera species, Honeysuckles are used in varying degrees. The Lonicera hispidula is the preferred flower and it survives well in most gardens.
Salvia species, Sages, such as Salvia 'Pozo Blue', Salvia mellifera, Salvia brandegei, Salvia clevelandii are all well liked by hummingbirds. And not to forget hummingbird sage, Salvia spathacea. A sage garden can be an experience when eight or ten hummingbirds fight continuously around you.
Lilium species, the California lilies almost swallow the birds when they work the flowers, but the orange forms are used regularly. Lilium pardalinumLilium humboldtii are both happy to help out the hummingbirds. (We can't show you a good picture of the hummingbird in the flower as all you'll see if the tail.)
September- December
Just plant, Zauschneria species, California fuchsia everywhere in your garden. The California fuchsias can flower from July through December. They flower and flower, trim off the old flowers, and they flower more. They are excellent in rock walls. California fuchsias can tolerate garden water as well as being very drought tolerant. These flowers come in white, pink, and red with gray or green foliage. The vary in with from a couple of inches tall to a couple of feet.
Lilium parryi with an Anna Hummingbird visiting it. There mush be food for hummingbirds as we commonly see them visiting the flowers. - grid24_12
Lemon Lilly is being checked out by a Anna Hummingbird
A customer wanted to share these with you - grid24_12
A customer sent this photo along for you to enjoy. 1-2 week old hummingbirds.
The hummingbirds were really working the Evening Primrose flowers in the heat of summer. - grid24_12
A Hummingbird checking out Evening Primrose. The flower is almost closed because it's mid-day.
Hummingbirds use most of the native sages to a point where thay live next to them when there are flowers. An Anna Hummingbird on a Rose sage. - grid24_12
Hummingbirds love the Salvias. Here is Rose Sage.
Yes Hummingbirds use yellow monkey flowers. This is an Anna Hummingbird on a Conejo Monkey Flower. - grid24_12
Anna's Hummingbird on Diplacus longiflorus Conejo monkey flower. The hummingbirds like monkey flowers.
Annas Hummingbird, Calypte anna, hanging on a wire for Keckiella cordifolia, Heart Leaf Penstemon. This Penstemon likes part shade. - grid24_12
Heart Leaved Penstemon with a clever little hummingbird.
Monardella macrantha, Red monardella in the nursery with an Anna Hummingbird  resting next to lunch. - grid24_12
Monardella macrantha with a cute and clever Hummingbird.
Anna hummingbird on Arctostaphylos Baby Bear manzanita flowers - grid24_12
Arctostaphylos Baby Bear Manzanita Bush with an Anna Hummingbird. All wildlife seem to love this plant, including humans.
 Arctostaphylos refugioensis, Refugio Manzanita with Anna Hummingbird in a natural setting created in your yard. - grid24_12
Arctostaphylos refugioensis Refugio Manzanita with a young Anna Hummingbird.
An Anna Hummingbird sipping from a Austin Griffin manzanita - grid24_6
Arctostaphylos manzanita_x_densiflora Austin Griffiths Manzanita flowers early, has a gob of flowers that small birds eat, all the hummingbirds and butterflies relish, and native bees buzz about.
Penstemon grinnellii scrophularioides with an Anna Hummingbird in a native garden. - grid24_12
Grinell's Northern Penstemon. Humming birds like Penstemons.
Mexican Manzanita with an Anna's hummingbird visiting the flowers. Mexican manzanita is drought tolerant in most of the populated areas of California. I'd not plant it in the desert without some extra winter water, but most of California it will survive with no water after first summer. - grid24_12
Mexican Manzanita. grows from above San Francisco to Baja to Texas.
Anna Hummingbird working the flowers of Sentinel manzanitas - grid24_12
Sentinel Manzanita is loved by butterflies and hummingbirds alike.
Arctostaphylos stanfordiana bakeri,  Louis Edmunds Manzanita with an Anna Hummingbird - grid24_12
Louis Edmunds manzanita a delightful mix of grey. pink and red, and an Anna Hummingbird.
Arctostaphylos silvicola,  Ghostly Manzanita with an Anna Hummingbird - grid24_12
Arctostaphylos silvicola Ghostly Manzanita grows in the Santa Cruz mountains, does fine in most of California as long as the soil is sandy or sandy loam.
The flowers of Keckiella antirrhinoides, Yellow Bush Snapdragon, are here being visited by a hummingbird for nectar and tiny insects. Native plants bring native birds. - grid24_12
Keckiella antirrhinoides, Yellow Bush Penstemon, was planted originally in the sun. After 20 years it is in the shade of a coast live oak that has doubled in size. Although the plant is leaning away from the oak, it has grown well in the garden with no irrigation.
This was in August and there were a few flowers on the Pozo Blue - grid24_12
This young Anna's Hummingbird was working one of the last flowers of Salvia Pozo Blue in August.

Zauschneria californica, Pink California Fuchsia with an Anna Hummingbird.