Plant of the Month


Island Snapdragon 
Gambelia speciosa

  • Plant Form: Evergreen shrub
  • Water Use: Very low
  • Mature Size: 3-4 ft. tall x 8-10 ft. wide
  • Exposure: Full sun, part sun
  • Bloom Time: Spring (Mar-May), Summer (June-Aug)
  • Native to: Channel Islands, CA, & Guadalupe Island, Mexico
  • Hardiness: Cold hardy to 30°F

This fast-growing, vine-like California native is easy to grow, whether you leave it to trail out as an excellent ground cover, train it to crawl up a trellis or arbor, or let it lean against other shrubs for height. Hummingbirds love its long, tubular red flowers, which are most prolific if grown in full sun.

Island Snapdragon is a magnet for hummingbirds with its bright clusters of lipstick-red, snapdragon-like flowers on the tips of arching stems from spring through mid-summer. This vine-like perennial, native to several offshore islands of California, is fast growing and easy to grow, developing a dense and sprawling habit. Blooming is heaviest in spring, but occurs intermittently the rest of the year. Flowers hold up well in bouquets. Its long stems can be left free as a groundcover, trained like a vining shrub on latticework, or leaned against other shrubs to grow higher. Island Snapdragon takes full sun but prefers some shade in inland desert areas (although flowers are reduced in shade), and tolerates both heat and drought, requiring little or no summer irrigation. It tolerates irrigation twice a month in summer. Use this dense shrub along borders, on slopes, by patios, as a groundcover, hedge or screen, and in containers.

Check out our “Garden Tasks” for February