• Kelly Grummons

Planting a Garden for Hummers & Pollinators

Q: I have a small garden (about 7’ deep and 18’ wide) on the south side of my house that gets full sun all day. I would like the garden to be low-water and to look good year ‘round. I would like lots of hummingbird/pollinator plants that I can enjoy from the living room window. What do you suggest?


Agastache and Goldenrod in Pots in Denver
Agastache and Goldenrod in Pot in Denver

A: Having a garden that looks good year around is very important in our long-winter climate. If you have room and the budget, plant large, evergreen succulents like tree yuccas (Yucca thompsoniana, rostrate or faxoniana), hardy agaves (Agave parryi, neomexicana or havardiana), red yucca varieties (Hesperaloe parviflora and hybrids like ‘Brakelights’) and user-friendly cacti like the spineless Eastern pricklypear (Opuntia humifusa ‘Inermis’), spineless tree-cholla (Opuntia imbricata v. inermis), and the spineless claret-cup cactus (Echinocereus triglochidiatus ‘Inermis’). Add the amazing, broad-leaf evergreen varieties of Manzanita (Arctostaphylos patula, nevadensis, x coloradoensis or one of the many cultivars available).

Once you have a good backbone of these evergreen plants, add hummingbird and pollinator flowers like Agastache rupestris, Agastache ‘Sonoran Sunset’, desert Salvia varieties like Windwalker™ Royal Red Salvia, Salvia ‘Vermillion Bluffs’, Salvia ‘Raspberry Delight’ and Salvia reptans ‘Autumn Sapphire’. Good pollen plants like Prickly Poppy (Argemone polyanthemos) and Engelmann’s Daisy (Engelmannia peristena) make your bees very happy.