Ciscoe Morris on How to Sorticulture

Editor’s Note: Article and interview originally published May 15, 2018. Updated May 30, 2019.

You know about Sorticulture, right?

The annual three-day festival of plants, food, and garden art is sort of like a civic garden party. And it's coming soon. Mark your calendars!


Sorticulture happens at Legion Memorial Park, with lovely views of the water. At the free event you can talk to master gardeners. They can  give you expert advice on, say, the shade tolerance of your clematis.

Speaking of master gardeners, I thought I’d give local green thumb celeb Ciscoe Morris a call. The zany tv personality is a regular speaker at Sorticulture every year. This years he's appearing on Saturday at 2 p.m. 

I wanted to know the inside scoop on "how to Sorticulture." 

Crocosmia. Lucifer variety.

Crocosmia. Lucifer variety.

Live in Everett: I'm an amateur. What are some "fail proof" plants I should be looking for this time of year?

Ciscoe Morris: You’re talking to the guy who likes to grow the most difficult plants there are! [laughs]

If you like hummingbirds try cape fuschia. It comes from South Africa. Cape fuschia has these trumpet-shaped flowers about an inch long. I’ve seen garbage trucks run them over and they’ll pop right back up like, “oh I like that!”

Crocosmia sends out millions of flowers. My favorite variety is Lucifer. They’re about four feet tall and have all these leaves. Can’t go wrong with those.

If you’ve got good sun you want to grow bee balm. Bees love it but so do hummingbirds—great cats! Everyone should grow hardy fuchsia. 

Phygelius aka "Cape fuchsia."

Phygelius aka "Cape fuchsia."

LIEV: What can attendees expect from Sorticulture?

CM: Attendees get a lot. There are some great speakers. They’re going to find really cool plants and really great garden art. They’re going to find something they love before they leave—I can almost guarantee it.

Great cats! Everyone should grow hardy fuchsia.
— Ciscoe Morris

LIEV: What’s the best thingart or plantthat you’ve discovered at Sorticulture?

CM: Once I got these Jack-in-the-Pulpits that are really exotic-looking. Their flowers look like a cobra about to strike. 

One year this one guy sold really cool pottery lizards. I bought a little alligator head—about a foot and a half long. I hide it underneath this conifer that I have. It’s really fun and I hear people go “AAAAAH!!!!” when they see it [laughs].

Every year they have new things for sale.

Arisaema triphyllum, or Jack-in-the-pulpit.

Arisaema triphyllum, or Jack-in-the-pulpit.

LIEV: Any tips on which hot weather-friendly plants to buy?

CM: Any of the lavenders, rosemary, most of the herbs, any kinds of succulent. Start watering now. Until it rains, boy, people better be watering regularly. People don’t realize that we live in a Mediterranean climate. We get only about five and a half inches of rain between the beginning of May and the end of September.

You really wanna mulch and you want to water. Put plants with the same watering needs together. 


Thanks, Ciscoe! There you have it, folks. Mark your calendars and prep your garden beds. Sorticulture is just around the corner.


June 7-9 at Legion Memorial Park

144 Alverson Blvd, Everett, WA 98201



Fri., June 8: 10 a.m.-7 p.m.

Sat., June 9: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. (Ciscoe will be speaking at 2 p.m. on Saturday.)

Sun., June 10: 10 a.m.-4 p.m.


Check out more about ciscoe Morris here.

Header photo: Northwest Prime Time

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Richard Porter is a writer for Live in Everett.