En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?


Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Wednesday - July 22, 2009

From: Ithaca, NY
Region: Northeast
Topic: Wildlife Gardens
Title: Southwest US Winter-flowering Hummer Plants.
Answered by: Joe Marcus


Are there winter-flowering plants native to the American Southwest that are used as a food source by hummingbirds? I am a scientific illustrator working on an identification guide to common North American hummingbirds for Cornell's Lab of Ornithology. I want to include native plants but am having trouble finding winter flowering species. Thanks!


There are no doubt quite a few winter-flowering native plants in the US Southwest utilized by overwintering hummingbirds.  However, it seems that hummers rely more on tiny insects and spiders during the winter than on flower nectar.  Here are a couple winter-flowering Southwest plant species that are favored by hummingbirds when in bloom:

Diplacus puniceus (red bush monkeyflower)

Arctostaphylos manzanita (whiteleaf manzanita)


More Wildlife Gardens Questions

Why are there no monarch butterflies feeding on my milkweed
October 29, 2008 - I brought a milkweed from LA that has orange and yellow flowers. I live in Denton, TX. I haven't seen any eggs from the monarchs yet. Do the monarchs live on different milkweed in TX? I looked up ...
view the full question and answer

Plants to prevent erosion in IL
August 02, 2012 - We just got done building a house and have leveled all of the dirt piles. We do have a row of straw bales to help prevent the dirt from washing onto the neighbors property. It is the wrong time of ye...
view the full question and answer

Wildlife garden for PA
October 12, 2010 - Dear Mr. Smarty plants, I am a student at Allegheny College, Meadville, PA. I am working on my senior thesis, and I hope to submit a successful proposal to plant a native species and wildlife garden ...
view the full question and answer

Plants for no sun in Austin
May 12, 2010 - I need recommendations for shrubs that can withstand no sun, something that possibly blooms but does not attract bees, wasps, or any stinging insects (hummingbirds or butterflies ok).
view the full question and answer

Grasses and wildflowers for Houston meadow
February 28, 2008 - I recently bought a house in a new subdivision just south of Houston - as with most new developments, the area is devoid of nature for the most part... I have planted many bird/butterfly/bee fr...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center