Red is an intriguing color that evokes more emotion than any other color. According to Oracle' ThinkQuest Education Foundation, the color red increases blood pressure while stimulating excitement. Although red can be a warning sign in nature for poisonous plants, red plants in your garden draw attention to garden areas. Red flowers attract pollinators because the color lets them know there is nectar available. Red flowers will be pollinated by birds and butterflies more often than bees because bees cannot see the color red. Red flowers make a colorful addition to any butterfly and hummingbird garden.
The Cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis) is a tall, spiky plant with red, tube-like flowers set along the top half of a long stem. The Cardinal flower gets its name from the bright-red blooms resembling the color of the robes worn by Roman Catholic Cardinals. Each bloom is comprised of a two erect petals connected by a tube to three bottom drooping petals. Between the petals and protruding from the tube is a long, red stamen hanging over the tube's opening. These complex blooms are pollinated mainly by hummingbirds because it is difficult for insects to get nectar from the long tubes. Cardinal flowers bloom from July through September in the Eastern and Southern United States and into Canada.
Firecracker bush (Bouvardia ternifolia) flower is a member of the Brodiaea lily family, which includes the Ithuriel's lily and the snake lily. The firecracker flower has cluster of red blooms that explode like a firework from the tip of a long slender red stem. The blooms are tube shaped with yellowish-green, starlike tips. This flower blooms from May through July on the West Coast of the United States.
Bee balm (Monarda didyma) is a must in every butterfly garden because its sweet nectar is irresistible to butterflies and hummingbirds. Bee balm blooms from June through August in the Eastern United States. The plant has tubular blooms drooping downwards from a central, rounded flower head. The leaves are oval with sharp points and are paired along a square stem. Bee balm grows in well-drained soil in full to partial shade.
The hummingbird trumpet (Epilobium canum ssp. Latifolium) of the Fuchsias family grows in California south into Mexico. The bright-red, trumpetlike blooms protrude from woody stems covered in spiky leaves. The hummingbird trumpet is mainly pollinated by hummingbirds. This plant is highly adaptable to living in the desert and on high ridges. The red flowers appear from August through October.
- Oracle' ThinkQuest Education Foundation: Color Psychology
- Sensational Color; All About The Color Red; Kate Smith
- Firefly Forest: Red Flowers
- National Gardening Association: Bee Balm
- Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center: Lobelia cardinalis L.
- "Reader's Digest" magazine; North American Wildlife; 1982
- Photo Credit Tom Brakefield/Stockbyte/Getty Images
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