Scarlet gilia or skyrocket (Ipomopsis aggregata) is native to the mountain west finding it’s home in open forests at higher elevations.
When in bloom the clusters of trumpet shaped red flowers provide much-needed nectar to Rufous, Anna’s and other hummingbird species. In fact, it is held that hummingbirds need to visit up to 2,000 flowers a day to obtain enough nectar to support their incredible energy levels. During their migration north, individual birds can recall which backyard had the best nectar plants so they may return to your yard year after year!
Skyrocket’s flowers remain red for the summer however as hummingbirds migrate south in early fall, the flowers can fade to pink and/or white in order to attract hawk moths and other night pollinators who remain in the area. Plants are also browsed by deer, pronghorn, and livestock.
To bring these stunning and ecologically beneficial plants to your garden, create masses by growing them from seed or nursery stock. Considered short-lived perennials, plants will grow a rosette of finely divided leaves the first year and then shoot up a flower stock the second.