Mint on fire! (Hummingbird trumpet mint)

Monardella macrantha Marian Sampson Plant Select

Photo: Panayoti Kelaidis

Monardella macrantha ‘Marian Sampson’ is a perennial native to the higher mountainous regions of California. It is a selection made by Ed Sampson, a native plant enthusiast and nursery owner, in honor of his wife. He selected it from straight species because of its excellent adaptability at different elevations and with the cooperation of Nevin Smith of Suncrest Nursery in Watsonville, CA introduced it to the gardening world. Plant Select® has chosen to recommend it for our gardening environment for the exact same reasons.

Mondardella macrantha ‘Marian Sampson’ is renowned for firecracker-red tubular flowers that form in clusters at the end of each stem. This little rock garden gem will set the garden ablaze with non-stop color beginning in late spring clear through to frost. It hugs the ground spreading moderately & spilling gracefully over rocks & ledges. But don’t think rock gardens are the only use for Monardella, you can use it in containers to trail over the edge with fiery drama.

The sweet nectar rich flowers attract hummingbirds by the score. It’s a veritable bird feeding fly-by dispensary of delight for the hummers! Because of its prolific flower production, it can be a short lived perennial lasting only a season or two, but what beautiful seasons they are. Plant some Monardella in your garden, then sit back to revel at the hummingbird hunger games, the odds are definitely in your favor!

View the plant profile here.

Hummingbird trumpet mint
Monardella macrantha ‘Marian Sampson’
Height: 4-6″
Width: 8-12″
Blooms: Late Spring through summer
Sun:  Partial sun
Water: Moderate to dry
Hardiness: USDA Zones 5b-9
Culture: Clay, loam or sandy soil

Thanks to Diana Reavis, Eason Horticultural Resources, for this news story.

19 responses to “Mint on fire! (Hummingbird trumpet mint)”

  1. Linda Braddy says:

    I just got one of these plants yesterday (very excited about it!) and I’m arguing with myself as to where to put it… will it self-sow? As it is a mint, do I need to worry about runners or stolons under the soil helping it “take over”?

    • Pat Hayward says:

      Hi Linda, we can certainly understand your concerns, but there are many plants in the mint family that are well-behaved. Marian Sampson has been grown for many years in CA and shows absolutely no threat of running or self-sowing. In Colorado we’ve found it performs best in part shade, protected from the hottest part of the day. It also likes good drainage and not too much organic matter. (This is actually true of most of the plants in our program.) Hope this helps.

  2. Jacque says:

    Purchased three for a container. Beautiful plant

  3. Karan B. says:

    Very sad!! I discovered this surprising little beauty last year in the Northeast !!! Didn’t care that it didn’t come back this year despite the mild winter we had …. And note cannot find it anymore. The nurseries I found them in were underwhelmed by the performance and did not reorder. Short of moving to the mountains of CA … Does anyone know of a place to find these in my area??? I WILL travel for flowers I L~O~V~E !!

    And Linda B. … Rejoice if these spread !!! They are little gifts so … Let ’em sow … Let ’em sow !! Don’t hold them back any more !!
    (Anyone exposed to young kids will get that reference ? )

  4. Laura says:

    Hi I recently moved from Colorado to Idaho City, Idaho. It is a mountain town with long freezes and low temps around 0 in the coldest months. Can I grow this beautiful plant up here?

    • Pat Hayward says:

      You can, but you’d most likely have to treat it as an annual. It does bloom all season long, so you’ll get a lot of bang for the money.

  5. Kristin says:

    Will it survive winters in SLC UT? Or is it easy to grow from seed it hopefully produces? I found different hardiness information so I’m curious… brought it from the nursery today for the first time ever!

    • Ross Shrigley says:

      You will love this plant and yes it will survive Salt Lake City. Don’t waist your time trying to grow it from seed. It will thrive in well drained soil in full sun with supplemental watering.

  6. Jane says:

    I live in Fort Collins, CO. I planted one of these in early June and it withered after planting and is not perking up. Of course, temperatures shot up into the 90s as soon as II planted it. Watering tips? does it need some fertilizer or compost? It’s next to some lavender. Could that be an issue? Hummers are busy and I’m anxious to have this plant in the garden to treat them!

  7. Ross Shrigley says:

    Water could have been the issue. If its in well drained soil which it should be, you may need to water it more to get it established (once a day then to every other day after a week or so). It should be fine next to other plants.

  8. Jane Browning says:

    Is this plant deer resistant?

  9. Worrell Reid says:

    I received mine yesterday. The scent is incredible. I am hoping that it does self-sow since it is ephemeral.

  10. WannaBee says:

    Is this plant rabbit resistant?

  11. Busybizzybee says:

    I love the vibrant color of these plants and I’ve gotten so many compliments on them! However, after the first glorious bloom, the leaves are turning yellowish and while they seem to be trying to set up with new buds, the plants really look sad and they’re suffering. I’ve been careful with water, but wonder if they need some fertilizer?

    • Ross Shrigley-Plant Select says:

      Try some fertilizer and keep watering as you have, hopefully, that will take care of it.

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