If you want to attract hummingbirds to your garden, deck, or patio, you can hardly do better than with a monkey flower. You’ve seen these before – if you squint your eyes, the flower looks like a funny face, or perhaps a monkey. They come in a variety of colors – red, pink, yellow, etc. – and always look great when flowering.
Hummingbirds love monkey flowers because they’re a great source of nectar. The birds will show a slight preference for the red variants, not necessarily because they like the color red, but more because bees don’t like the color red and thus tend to leave more nectar there for the hummingbirds.
There are essentially two different kinds of monkey flowers: Diplacus and Mimulus. Diplacus species tend to be a little more hardy, and can handle more exposure to the sun and rocky ground. Mimulus species are a little smaller and more fragile – and might benefit from a little more water. Diplacus species probably have a better shot at surviving in sandy soils near the beach, but both can do well throughout the California.
Monkey flowers should be available at any native plant store, and many more traditional nurseries, as well. Just make sure you get good instructions on how to best take care of your plant and you should do very well.