Firebush (Hamelia patens)

Common names:
Give a thumbs up Firebush
Give a thumbs up Hummingbird Bush
Give a thumbs up Firecracker Shrub
Give a thumbs up Mexican Firebush
Give a thumbs up Scarlet Bush
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General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Shrub
Tree
Sun Requirements: Full Sun
Full Sun to Partial Shade
Water Preferences: Mesic
Dry Mesic
Plant Height: 4-5 feet, but in warm climates can attain heights to 15 feet
Leaves: Good fall color
Evergreen
Fruit: Showy
Edible to birds
Flowers: Showy
Flower Color: Orange
Flower Time: Late spring or early summer
Summer
Late summer or early fall
Uses: Windbreak or Hedge
Suitable as Annual
Edible Parts: Fruit
Eating Methods: Raw
Fermented
Wildlife Attractant: Bees
Birds
Butterflies
Hummingbirds
Resistances: Drought tolerant
Propagation: Other methods: Cuttings: Stem
Containers: Suitable in 3 gallon or larger
Needs excellent drainage in pots
Awards and Recognitions: Texas Superstar®

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Comments:
Posted by plantladylin (Sebastian, Florida - Zone 10a) on Oct 12, 2011 11:37 AM

Hamelia patens is a fast growing woody evergreen shrub that can attain heights to 15' in warm climates but usually attains heights of only 2' to 3' in cooler zones. The leaves are light green with reddish veins and petioles, and the reverse side of the leaf is pubescent (soft/hairy) and gray in color. This plant prefers full sun but will do okay in semi shady locations as well, it just gets a bit leggy when grown in shade. The fruit/berry starts out green, turning yellow to red and then black as it ripens. The berry contains lots of small seeds. Hamelia patens is drought tolerant once established.

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Posted by LindaTX8 (Medina Co., TX - Zone 8a) on Jan 2, 2012 12:52 PM

Hamelia patens is a VERY tough plant. It does freeze back here, but none have died, having made it through some cold winters and the worst droughts I've ever seen. Does not need much of any care once established, although it will bloom better if it gets some water in droughts. I usually cut it back after it freezes back quite a bit and it will start coming back up in the spring when it gets warm enough. I very seldom water it...some years not at all. It's a good nectar plant when blooming....butterflies and hummingbirds love it.

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Posted by Sadie (East Texas Pineywoods - Zone 8b) on Apr 1, 2012 8:40 AM

Hamelia patens is a great plant for a habitat garden because it attracts lots of butterflies and hummingbirds. Where I live in zone 8b this plant freezes back to the ground in an average winter, but faithfully returns in the spring. After a particulary harsh winter, it didn't reappear until Memorial Day! Both of our Hamelia patens survived last year's terrible drought with a little supplemental water. They were well established (3 years) before the drought. Some of my other summer bloomers surrendered to the lack of rain, but this tough plant hung in there.

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Posted by sunkissed (Winter Springs, FL - Zone 9b) on Apr 7, 2016 11:09 AM

I've had this plant since 2009 in my garden. Even though too many hours below freezing will freeze it to the ground, it has always come back and continues to get taller. Mine is starting to look more like a tree now. Hummingbirds love the flowers and visit daily. From late summer through winter it has beautiful colored berries. Nothing seems to eat the berries; they usually just dry up. I also have the compacta, and it doesn't have the big leaves, flowers or colorful berries the large one does, although hummers still visit it. If it doesn't freeze, it takes well to a good trimming back.

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Posted by Deebie (midstate South Carolina - Zone 8a) on Sep 19, 2018 5:59 AM

This plant dies down to the ground after hard frost (in my SC zone 8a garden) and gleefully returns each spring. It's a hummingbird magnet. I was able to root a cutting this summer, which I will share with a gardening buddy.

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Discussion Threads about this plant
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Plants for zone 9b landscape that attract hummingbirds and butterflies by Iwannazenspot001 Mar 8, 2019 8:02 AM 3
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Plant Identification by Kari Sep 16, 2018 1:43 AM 3
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Newbie help by THISISATRUCK Oct 14, 2017 8:01 AM 8
What's Blooming 2017 - Photos and Chat. by NJBob Jan 1, 2018 8:14 PM 1,563
Late Summer Blooms by ShadyGreenThumb Sep 23, 2016 3:38 PM 104
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Untitled by jmorth Dec 6, 2015 6:48 PM 25

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