This shrub will lend bright hues to your garden

Dick Bushnell,  – October 13, 2004

A magnet for hummingbirds, Mexican honeysuckle (Justicia spicigera) displays clusters of 1 1/2-inch-long tubular flowers nearly year-round, peaking in spring and fall. The bright orange flowers are borne over velvety evergreen leaves. This shrub grows 2 to 4 feet tall and 3 to 4 feet wide.

Hardy to 15°, Mexican honeysuckle grows in Sunset climate zones 12 and 13: In zone 12 (Tucson), it will take full sun; in zone 13 (Phoenix), it prefers partial shade. When planted under trees or in other shady locations, it needs less water than it does in sunny areas. Shop nurseries for specimens in 1- or 5-gallon containers. It does best in well-drained soil.