Firebush, Hamelia patens, is a perennial, evergreen shrub that loves the heat. It is great for a hummingbird garden and does well in any sun situation from full sun to shade.
Blooms and Leaves:
Firebush shrubs blooms almost year round with orange-red flowers that are tubular in shape and can grow to lengths of 1 ½ inches. The leaves on this shrub are evergreen and have red tomentum or hairs covering them when they are young then they change to red or purple in color when they mature. The stems of the Firebush shrub are considered to be soft in texture.
Caring for the Firebush shrub is not a difficult task. The location that works best for this large shrub should be considered as one of the major factors when considering this shrub for your landscape. This fast growing shrub can be planted as a 1′ tall plant during the spring of the year and will be a 5′ tall plant by winter. When it is mature it can reach a size of 12′ by 10′, so it does require an area that is large. Other than space, the other requirements to insure this shrub grows best are not hard to find. The soil this shrub does well in include clay, sandy, alkaline, acidic, loam. It is also drought tolerant and high heat tolerant.
Firebush can be propagated by planting fresh seeds, by taking cuttings or by air-layers. The seeds that the Firebush produces does attract birds. Transplants can be set out during the middle of May and can be planted on in to summer. These transplants do best if they receive at least 8 hours of sun each day with any exposure except Northern being best. Good drainage is important and balanced fertilizer is recommended. Spacing for transplants should be at least a foot apart. Be careful when watering because to much water will kill Firebush. Water the transplant thoroughly after planting but after that only water it when the top inch of the soil becomes dry. The easiest way to check this is with your finger weekly.
There are many uses for a large shrub like a Firebush. They work well in the landscape when a border is needed or as an accent. They also work well as a screen or even in a mass planting. They do attract butterflies, hummingbirds and songbirds too.
Firebush shrubs are very large, colorful and useful in the landscape. They can provide beauty, interest and even protection in the landscape that they are placed in. The amount of work, or lack of work, it takes to grow these shrubs is also a plus to lots of people who are looking for shrubs for their landscape.
University of Florida