Firebush - Hamelia patens
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Family - Rubiaceae
Natural Habitat - Open woodlands, Hammocks & Shell mounds
U.S.D.A. Zones 9 - 11.
Firebush is a popular and showy native Florida shrub which can reach 12 feet in height with an equal spread.
Bright red to orange-yellow, 1 to 1 1/2 inch long tubular flowers are produced year-round on cymes at the branch tips.
Leaves are simple, margins entire, arranged in whorls commonly in sets of three or there may be as many as seven leaves per node. Elliptic to ovate leaves are covered with fine red hairs ( tormentose ) when young.
Firebush leaf margins, veins & petioles ( leaf stems ) are usually yellow to red, adding to the attractiveness of this native plant.
Landscape Use - Firebush is well suited to most any landscape application - as a specimen & accent plant, in informal border plantings or in groups.
Firebush is an attention getter and also attracts many types of wildlife.
Hummingbirds & Butterflies love the flowers, and many birds dine on the fleshy berries, both of which are usually present year-round.
Culture - Propagation is by fresh seed or cuttings, fast growing. Firebush will grow in shade to full sun, although the best leaf color, flowering & fruiting are obtained in full sun. Shaded specimens tend to get leggy.
Soil may be acidic to slightly alkaline and of any composition as long as it is well drained.
Firebush is moderately drought tolerant once established and actually flowers best without much fertilizer. Firebush is not salt tolerant.