New thread: Hummingbird SUPER PLANT #4

Jetersville, VA

Good evening, my friends!
Hummingbird SUPERPLANT #4 was originally a native of Mexico, as are so many of our colorful plants. By the time the Conquistadors completed their systematic looting and genocide of ancient civilizations in Mexico, this plant was probably well established in our arid Southwestern states. It is especially abundant in Texas.

Classified as a "xeric," meaning they need little water, this woody bush is best suited from zone 10 through 7. Three plants grace my property in Southern Va. (7b) and they constantly bear tubular red to reddish-orange flowers that are loaded with nectar, tiny spiders and insects. This is one of the few plants where one may often observe 2 - 5 hummingbirds feeding on the same plant at the same time. When fights occur, other hummers quickly zoom in to feed. This plant loves sun. Planted next to the South wall of your home, where stored heat creates a micro-climate, this 5' x 6' bush will explode with color. Year after year, you can consistently watch hummers go nuts over this plant. It is certainly one of my favorites. Identify the plant. Yes my photos may intentionally be tricky.

Rancho Santa Rita, TX(Zone 8a)


Jetersville, VA

Sorry about that! Photo was posted separately. I don't know if the problem was cyber-gremlins or my stupidity, but the browse button would not appear and photo would not download. The plant is found all over Texas. Please check out the photo under SUPER PLANT #4.

I love Texas folks, so I'll just have to tell you: Texas Firecracker (Anisacanthsu wrightii).

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

Love the Flame Acanthus! We see hummers buzzing it every morning.

Thumbnail by Sheila_FW
Jetersville, VA

Yep. By whatever name this plant is known , the old saying sure applies. "Build a better mousetrap and---"-
"Build a better hummingbird plant and the hummers will come. And they do!

NE Medina Co., TX(Zone 8a)

Once I had my first Flame Acanthus, I loved it. So did hummers and butterflies! Easy to propagate from seed. Too easy sometimes...they appear where I don't want them, so I pot them up and share!

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

I will have to watch for the sprouts.

College Station, TX(Zone 8b)

My 'Rubies' would rather sip from a Flame Acanthus than the feeder! Wow! Any Hummingbird lover has just GOT to get one!

Rowlett, TX(Zone 8a)

I love a plant that I can put in the ground, ignore completely year long, and get rewarded with beautiful orange blooms! That is my kind of plant!! :-)


Barnesville (Charle, GA(Zone 8b)

I guess it wouldn't make it thru a Georgia Winter.?? Sure is a nice plant.
I'll have to look it up.

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

In the same zone why wouldn't it?

Barnesville (Charle, GA(Zone 8b)

Want to trade for some seed, send me a d-mail.
Thanks Charleen

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

I haven't collected seeds on it, but will give it a try.

Hammond, LA(Zone 8b)

I know this is an old thread, but does anyone have any of these seeds for trade? I have some Scarlett Milkweed seeds, and maybe a few other hummer favorites. Thanks, Jennifer

Baytown, TX(Zone 9a)

Look what I have hanging in the window above my computer. I also have a wooden one that I whittled years ago. We use it as a decoration for our Christmas tree.


Thumbnail by dgal
Barnesville (Charle, GA(Zone 8b)

Those are so cute.
I have some Christmas Decorations very similiar to that.
i paint some too.

Oklahoma City, OK

Hi, I'm new to DG. I got some seeds of Flame Acanthus and will wintersow them soon. It is hardy to zone 7 if anyone is wondering.

I first put in a butterfly/moth garden and the hummingbirds began to show up, nectaring on the same plants I put out for the butterflies. So, I started hanging a feeder as well. Then over the last 2 or 3 years, I started hanging a fruit feeder for the butterflies that nectar on rotting fruit (e.g., bananas, peaches, oranges, watermelon). I noticed the tiny fruit flies,,,,,and so did the hummers! So, they have plants, feeder, and fruit flies now, too.

Anyway, I decided to expand my front bed to include some special hummer plants in the form of Salvias, and intend to start winter sowing these next month: S. regla, S. darcyi, S. greggii, and tons more).

Am so ready for spring after this cold, snowy winter!


P.S. Am also a Monarch Waystation

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

That is great Susan, I hadn't thought about the hummers getting the flies. We always learn something from one another on Dave's. Nice to have you as a Monarch Waystation also.

NE Medina Co., TX(Zone 8a)

I've got some fruit out now, Susan. Not for the hummers, of course, but I saw a Red Admiral flying around, so am trying to keep it around for a while. I raised fruit flies years ago in genetics lab. I remember I was too much of a softie to kill them after the experiment was over, so I took them home and released them all. At the time, I didn't know about the hummers eating insects, but now I prefer to think the hummers had a feast that week!

Oklahoma City, OK

Resurrecting this thread from last year, I've been gone for awhile and now I'm back, thank goodness! I have a question about the Flame Acanthus we discussed here. I planted my seeds and had 3 nice seedlings I planted in the ground last spring. They got fairly big and bushy. I am sure they'll get bigger if they make it thru the winter. However, they did not bloom and I'm wondering if they are typical perennials that will bloom this year. Anyone know?

I thought I ought to mention another plant that was just a HUGE attractor for the hummers and the big butterflies, e.g., Cloudless Sulphurs, Monarchs, and Gulf Fritillaries. It was the Dwarf Red Porterweed (Stachytarpheta 'Red Compacta'). Not hardy here - I think it is only hardy to Zone 10 - I am willing to replace this one yearly because it certainly does double duty in the garden. Porterweeds, if you're not familiar with them, produce flower stalks that resemble wands. The "wands" only produce a few flowers at a time, but the plants may have 20 or 30 wands at a time. The flowers grow in a circular pattern around the stalk, and it's so funny to watch the hummers circling the stalks when feeding. They just go round and round and round. Almost makes one dizzy just watching them! LOL!


Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

Susan...mine die back but will come again and be bushier next summer. I don't have the porterweed but understand it was a butterfly magnet for nectaring.

Red Oak, TX

Susan: Once your Flame Acanthus starts flowering you'll soon have other seedlings popping up. It's never invasive (at least, it hasn't been for me, and I've got plenty of them) but they do offer volunteers with some regularity. And I agree with you about the Porterweed -- they're all great as butterfly nectar sources. And they're very easy to propagate from cuttings. A must for the butterfly garden.

Dale Clark
Dallas County Lepidopterists' Society

Oklahoma City, OK

Thanks everyone for responding! I have been butterfly, moth, and hummingbird gardening for some time now. Started with the butterflies and moths about 10 years ago, and eventually began to notice the hummers were attracted to most of the plants I grew for the butterflies, so started hanging feeders out for them as well.

The hummers' feeder is next to the rotting fruit feeder (I use a suet feeder) and they have another meal of the fruit flies as well. Great combo!

I was just concerned because the Flame Acanthus hadn't bloomed last year, I know that is typical of most perennials, but since this particular plant had some tropical tendencies (even tho hardy to my zone), I really expected it to bloom last year. Great foliage, but no blooms yet.

So anxious for spring.....sigh.


Central, AL(Zone 7b)

Are there Hummingbird SUPER PLANT #3, 2, and 1? I just acquired a Hamelia patens, or Mexican Firebush, I was wondering if this is one of the Super plants for hummers. :)

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