Red justicia (Justicia candicans) - 1 gallon
Red justicia is an ideal plant for the wildlife garden because it has a long bloom period and is irresistible to hummingbirds. Relatively fast-growing, this small to medium shrub with thin upright stems reaches 3–4...
Red justicia is an ideal plant for the wildlife garden because it has a long bloom period and is irresistible to hummingbirds. Relatively fast-growing, this small to medium shrub with thin upright stems reaches 3–4 feet high and wide. Bright green leaves are heart-shaped. Flowers are red to red-orange with some white markings in the throat. Blooms adorn the stems most profusely in springtime, but may appear at almost any time of year, particularly if winters are mild. The 1½"-long blossoms are tubular in shape, ideally suited for the long bills and tongues of hummingbirds. Use in areas sheltered from frost since damage can occur at 20–25 degrees—plants usually recover quickly. Try them against a hot wall, near a pool or along driveways, walkways, or patios where reflected heat is intense. Planted in masses, red justicia can create an informal border or low hedge. Use these shrubs to soften the look of hard-edged boulders, walls, or accent plants. If you are short on ground space, plop one into a planter box or large container. Plants prefer soil with good drainage and grow best in full sun; however, they can tolerate some shade. Red justicia grows naturally into a graceful shape, so pruning is not necessary. However, if denser growth is desired, prune to within a foot or two of the ground in late winter/early spring. Plants are moderate water users—water at least weekly in summer. As with many other plants, consistent watering tends to promote more prolific flowering, thus ensuring a steady stream of visiting hummingbirds.
Ecology: Dry, sandy soils in washes and canyons
Elevation: below 2500'
Flowering duration: Mar-Jun
Light requirements: Full to partial sun