Scrophularia macrantha

Redbirds in a Tree

 

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Red Birds in a Tree is a rare shrub from the southern mountains of New Mexico and Arizona. It blooms all summer with spires of small red, white-lipped flowers that resemble a flock of red birds perched on a tree branch.

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Zones 5 - 10
Advantages
Attract Hummingbirds
Attract Hummingbirds
Rabbit Resistant
Rabbit Resistant
Native
Extended Bloom Time (more than 4 weeks)
Light Requirements
Full Sun
Full Sun
Morning Sun & Afternoon Shade
Morning Sun & Afternoon Shade
Annual Rainfall
Drought Resistant / Waterwise
10 to 20", 20 to 30", 30 to 40" (with care)
Bloom Time Early summer to mid fall
Shipping Shipping begins in late February based on ground temperatures, warmest zones first. More shipping info Learn More…
Size Plant - 2.5" deep pot
SKU 92750
Award: Plant Select Award: Green Thumb Award

Details

1998 Green Thumb Award Winner + 2008 Plant Select Winner. 36-48" tall x 18" wide (seed propagated). Cookes Peak's pine-covered summit rises to over 8,400 feet, towering over the desert near Deming, NM. Looking south you see the panorama of Mexico and its vast expanse of the Chihuahuan desert. From Scrophularia's high altitude habitat of over 7,200 ft. on this mountain's slopes, Panayoti Kelaidis of the Denver Botanic Gardens collected the seed our stock plants were grown from. Scrophularia, a very rare Penstemon relative, is a garden treasure blooming from early summer through fall with long wands of white-lipped, cherry-red flowers. The dark green angular foliage is also quite handsome. The plant has a tall, informal habit and will lean over and intertwine with tall neighboring plants for support. Plant it next to Pitcher's Sage or 'Blue Fortune' Hyssop for this very reason. Very popular with the hummingbirds, too!
SKU 92750
Common Name Redbirds in a Tree
Botanical Name Scrophularia macrantha
Zones 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10
Light Requirements Full Sun, Morning Sun & Afternoon Shade
Flower Color Red
Mature Height 36-48" tall
Mature Spread 18" wide
Bloom Time Early summer to mid fall
Ships As Potted Plant
Native Yes
Planting Time Spring / Summer, Fall
Soil Type Compost Enriched Garden Loam Soil
Soil Moisture Drought Resistant / Waterwise
Amount of Rain 10 to 20", 20 to 30", 30 to 40" (with care)
Advantages Attract Hummingbirds, Rabbit Resistant, Native, Extended Bloom Time (more than 4 weeks)
Special Groups High Country Gardens Introduction
Ideal Region Coastal California, Southwest, West, Pacific Northwest
Neonicotinoid-Free Yes - Learn More
Ships to Hawaii, Alaska & Canada No

Planting Guides

Scrophularia macrantha (Red Birds in a Tree) is a long-blooming native wildflower that is easy-to-grow and provides ample nectar for hummingbirds. It's resistant to browsing rabbits.

Preferred growing conditions:

  1. Scophularia grows will in a wide range of soil types, but not clay.
  2. It should be mulched in dry climates with crushed gravel, pine needles and other non-water retentive mulch materials like crushed pecan shells. Avoid bark mulch and wood chips, as these can cause fungal disease in rainy conditions.
  3. Requires deep, regular watering in dry climates.
  4. Plant in full or part sun conditions. Afternoon shade is best in hotter climates. Full sun with regular irrigation is fine in moderately hot summer regions.
  5. Adding just a few handfuls of compost and Yum Yum Mix in the planting hole is enough. Avoid rich, highly -mended soil as this encourages rapid, soft growth and the plant will likely not make it through the winter.

Special comments:

  • Scrophularia is not a long lived perennial and gardeners should expect to replace old plants every 3 to 4 years. It is a star of the garden and well worth the investment.
  • Avoid chemical fertilizers and too much water, as this will cause the plant to grow quite large and floppy, reducing winter hardiness and shortening its lifespan in the garden.

Garden care:

  1. Fertilize Scrophularia just once in fall with Yum Yum Mix and Planters II
  2. To improve cold hardiness, leave plants standing through the winter and cut back the stems to a height of 2-3" inches in mid-spring.

View more Planting Guides, or download our complete Planting Guide for tips on caring for your plants when you receive your order, as well as planting instructions for Perennials, Spring-Planted Bulbs, Fall-Planted Bulbs, Cacti & Succulents, Xeric Plants and more.

Shipping

Plant Shipping: Buy now and we will ship your order at the ideal planting time for your region. Spring-Planted Perennial and Bulb orders will ship from February 27-June 30, warmest zones first. Most plant orders will arrive within 3-4 days, or less, of leaving our greenhouses. This prompt delivery is provided without additional express charges.

Grass Plugs Will ship at planting time in spring 2017, beginning in late February.

Wildflower Seed & Grass Seed Orders ship within 2-3 days.

Standard shipping costs are $4.99 and up, depending on the size of the order.

Make Fast Even Faster: For ‘Rush’ same week delivery, please call customer service at 800-925-9387.

More Shipping Info

Reviewsby PowerReviews

REVIEW SNAPSHOT®

by PowerReviews
High Country GardensScrophularia macrantha
 
4.6

(based on 12 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (9)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (1)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (2)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (0)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (0)

100%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Attractive (10)
  • Accurate instructions (8)
  • Healthy (7)
  • Hardy (4)
  • Versatile (4)

Cons

  • Small in size (3)

Best Uses

  • Garden (9)
  • Outdoors (7)
    • Reviewer Profile:
    • Avid gardener (8)
    • Primary use:
    • Personal (12)

Most Liked Positive Review

 

Spring Follow-up

This is a follow-up to my comments last summer. My plant is in a pot on the patio at 6000 in SW New Mexico. It gets full sun in the summer. I watered...Read complete review

This is a follow-up to my comments last summer. My plant is in a pot on the patio at 6000 in SW New Mexico. It gets full sun in the summer. I watered it about once a week if there was no rain. The reviewer in Oregon might have kept the plant too wet. My plant bloomed until frost. After the branches died back I pruned it close to the soil. I was pleased that it came through the winter in the pot on the patio and is now about 8 inches high with lush green growth. Our winters get down to about 20 degrees at night. We did have some snow and I watered a few times in between. I plan to buy more. It's a great plant.

VS

Most Liked Negative Review

 

Great When they Grow

I had one of these plants about 5 years ago. It lived for 2 years and never grew to be much higher than a foot. So I decided to get 4 more, to...Read complete review

I had one of these plants about 5 years ago. It lived for 2 years and never grew to be much higher than a foot. So I decided to get 4 more, to see what I could do with them.. Two of the four made it, and two died, within a month of planting. The two that survived did remarkably well. The one which received only morning sunlight doing the best, and grew to be over 2 foot tall. The other received morning sunlight and some afternoon light. It grew to be about 18" high. Both had a lot of flowers, and were appreciated by hummingbirds.

Reviewed by 12 customers

Displaying reviews 1-12

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5.0

Stunned it made it

By 

from Bath County VA

About Me Getting Started

Verified Reviewer

Pros

  • Accurate Instructions
  • Attractive
  • Healthy

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Garden

    Comments about High Country Gardens Scrophularia macrantha:

    Planted 3 last year and one survived a very weird Bath County VA winter. It is about 18 inches high with buds. I did not get to see it last year -- had an ankle fusion -- but my lovely neighbor cared for them and is probably the reason it is here now.

    • Primary use:
    • Personal

    (4 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

     
    4.0

    Try Again

    By 

    from Southwest Michigan

    About Me Avid Gardener

    See all my reviews

    Verified Buyer

    Pros

    • Accurate Instructions
    • Attractive
    • Hard To Kill
    • Healthy
    • Lightweight
    • Versatile

    Cons

      Best Uses

      • Garden
      • Outdoors
      • Patio

      Comments about High Country Gardens Scrophularia macrantha:

      I did manage to kill this one through total neglect, but it went down fighting! I cannot believe how long it lasted, left in its shipping pot, virtually unwatered (I had set the pot in the garden and forgotten it). Too bad - it was a nice, full plant with a lovely form when I received it. Will order again. I gave it only four stars because I don't know if it would have been hardy here if it had lived until winter.

      • Primary use:
      • Personal

      (4 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

       
      3.0

      Great When they Grow

      By 

      from Santa Fe, NM

      About Me Avid Gardener

      See all my reviews

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

      • Attractive

      Cons

        Best Uses

        • Garden

        Comments about High Country Gardens Scrophularia macrantha:

        I had one of these plants about 5 years ago. It lived for 2 years and never grew to be much higher than a foot. So I decided to get 4 more, to see what I could do with them.. Two of the four made it, and two died, within a month of planting. The two that survived did remarkably well. The one which received only morning sunlight doing the best, and grew to be over 2 foot tall. The other received morning sunlight and some afternoon light. It grew to be about 18" high. Both had a lot of flowers, and were appreciated by hummingbirds.

        • Primary use:
        • Personal

        (2 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

         
        5.0

        Bought one as a gift and liked it so much, bought one for m!

        By 

        from Oregon

        About Me Avid Gardener

        See all my reviews

        Verified Buyer

        Pros

        • Accurate Instructions
        • Hardy
        • Healthy

        Cons

        • Small In Size

        Best Uses

        • Garden
        • Outdoors

        Comments about High Country Gardens Scrophularia macrantha:

        Planted it to cover the 'knees' of my Miscanthus giganticus

        • Primary use:
        • Personal

        (4 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

         
        5.0

        Love this special plant

        By 

        from Oregon

        About Me Avid Gardener

        See all my reviews

        Verified Buyer

        Pros

        • Accurate Instructions
        • Attractive
        • Healthy
        • Interesting
        • Versatile

        Cons

          Best Uses

          • Garden
          • Outdoors
          • Skirt for Miscanthus giganticus

          Comments about High Country Gardens Scrophularia macrantha:

          Well, it is a plant, so I planted it. :-) Perhaps you need to make your comment section more 'item' specific.

          I have been ordering from you since 2002 and have not been disappointed. Customer service is excellent! And, your plants are top of the line, especially the xeric!

          Purchased two Amaryllis plants from you for a cousin in Buellton, CA and they were unbelievably large!!
          She was amazed and I said, "That's High Country Gardens for you, only the best!!"

          I first heard of HGC in 2002-2003 when I lived in Denver. And was very appreciative of how seriously you took the aspect of low or no water. Thank you for spotting a niche that will only become more and more important as climate warming progressives!

          • Primary use:
          • Personal

          (8 of 8 customers found this review helpful)

           
          5.0

          Wish I had more!

          By 

          from Santa Fe, NM

          About Me Avid Gardener

          Verified Reviewer

          Pros

          • Accurate Instructions
          • Attractive
          • Beautiful Color
          • Lightweight
          • Versatile

          Cons

          • Small In Size

          Best Uses

            Comments about High Country Gardens Scrophularia macrantha:

            The flowers are so intriguingly bird like in shape and are a spectacular shade of red in color. We have many kinds of penstamons but this could be the best, even if a bit small in size foo far. If it gets to be 3-4 feet in height, it will be an amazing specimen. We live in Santa Fe and so far we have not seen it in anyone's garden. Let me know if anyone has it here. This is the first year so not sure how it will winter over. Does it readily spread from seed or other means of propagation?

            • Primary use:
            • Personal

            (13 of 13 customers found this review helpful)

             
            5.0

            Spring Follow-up

            By 

            from Silver City, NM

            About Me Avid Gardener

            Verified Reviewer

            Pros

            • Accurate Instructions
            • Attractive
            • Hardy
            • Healthy
            • Versatile

            Cons

              Best Uses

              • Garden
              • Outdoors
              • Patio

              Comments about High Country Gardens Scrophularia macrantha:

              This is a follow-up to my comments last summer. My plant is in a pot on the patio at 6000 in SW New Mexico. It gets full sun in the summer. I watered it about once a week if there was no rain. The reviewer in Oregon might have kept the plant too wet. My plant bloomed until frost. After the branches died back I pruned it close to the soil. I was pleased that it came through the winter in the pot on the patio and is now about 8 inches high with lush green growth. Our winters get down to about 20 degrees at night. We did have some snow and I watered a few times in between. I plan to buy more. It's a great plant.

              • Primary use:
              • Personal

              (4 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

               
              3.0

              A Disappointment

              By 

              from Albany, Oregon

              About Me Master Gardener

              Pros

                Cons

                • Flimsy
                • Small In Size

                Best Uses

                • Garden

                Comments about High Country Gardens Scrophularia macrantha:

                Sadly, this plant did not survive my attempts at growing it. It might have been our exceptionally hot summer but because I read that they like heat, I figured it would do okay. It's possible that I killed it with kindness by pampering it a bit too much. I would like to make another attempt at growing it but would prefer to start with a plant that is larger and more established. I would recommend it, but with that caveat.

                • Primary use:
                • Personal

                (10 of 11 customers found this review helpful)

                 
                5.0

                Absolutely loved it,had more humming birds than ever .

                By 

                from LA JUNTA, CO.

                About Me Getting Started

                Pros

                • Attractive
                • Hardy
                • Healthy

                Cons

                  Best Uses

                  • Garden
                  • Outdoors

                  Comments about High Country Gardens Scrophularia macrantha:

                  We planted right next to our patio, we love humming birds,we was told by high country gardens that this plant was a good atractor,for humming birds, boy let me tell you what, we had more humming birds than ever, been wanting to take out some of my other plants to put in more red birds in a tree, but my old lady will kill me.

                  • Primary use:
                  • Personal

                  (6 of 7 customers found this review helpful)

                   
                  5.0

                  Delightful. I'm hoping to get more.

                  By 

                  from New England

                  About Me Avid Gardener

                  Pros

                  • Accurate Instructions
                  • Attractive
                  • Lightweight

                  Cons

                    Best Uses

                    • Outdoors

                    Comments about High Country Gardens Scrophularia macrantha:

                    Need to plant more to help it show up more.

                    • Primary use:
                    • Personal

                    (9 of 9 customers found this review helpful)

                     
                    5.0

                    Great plant!

                    By 

                    from Silver City, NM

                    About Me Avid Gardener

                    Verified Reviewer

                    Pros

                    • Accurate Instructions
                    • Attractive
                    • Healthy

                    Cons

                      Best Uses

                        Comments about High Country Gardens Scrophularia macrantha:

                        This is a great plant, and I say that having grown xeric plants from High Country Gardens for years! I discovered it at a nursery in my new home town of Silver City, NM this spring. I planted it in a pot on my north patio at 6000 ft. It has bloomed continuously all summer and as of mid-September shows no signs of quitting. I water it every 1-4 days, depending on how hot it is, but it has gone longer. I've given it light liquid plant food a couple of times. The hummingbirds love it!! --- even more than the adjacent salvias. I don't know yet if it will winter over in the pot outside. My patio is probably zone 6-7.

                        • Primary use:
                        • Personal

                        (12 of 12 customers found this review helpful)

                         
                        5.0

                        Wonderful little cardinal plant!!!!

                        By 

                        from Lampasas, TEXAS!

                        About Me Master Gardener

                        Verified Reviewer

                        Pros

                        • Attractive
                        • Hardy

                        Cons

                          Best Uses

                          • Garden
                          • Outdoors

                          Comments about High Country Gardens Scrophularia macrantha:

                          7 years ago, I bought this plant on a whim, fascinated with the name. It was better than the description, having little red flowers that resemble red cardinals with yellow beaks. What a great plant!! I grew it in New Mexico, just north of Rowe, NM. Now, I'm trying it 'deep in the heart of Texas'. I have confidence that it will be just fine...... stay posted.

                          • Primary use:
                          • Personal

                          Displaying reviews 1-12

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                          Q & A

                          Suggested Companion Plants:

                          USDA Hardiness Planting Zones

                          To determine if a plant is sufficiently cold hardy, the USDA created numbered zones indicating winter low temperatures; the lower the zone number the colder the winter.

                          • If the coldest winter temperature expected in your area is -15°F (zone 5) then any plants rated zones 3-5 will survive the winter temperatures in your area.
                          • If you live in very warm winter areas (zones 9-11) plants with zones 3-4 ratings are not recommended. The lack of freezing winter temperatures do not provide a time for winter dormancy (rest).

                          Find Your Planting Zone:

                          Enter your Zip Code to find your USDA Planting Zone

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