Mexican fire bush

Hamelia patens

Photo/Illustration: 
Jerry Pavia
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Mexican fire bush (Hamelia patens)
ha-MEL-ee-ah PAT-enz
Genus:  Hamelia
A tropical tree by design, the Mexican fire bush freezes to the ground in winter in Zones 8-11, but grows up to 5 feet tall by summer's end. The erect, branched, woody stems bear simple copper-toned leaves with small orange flowers bunched along the tips. It loves the heat, and the more you can give it, the more vigorous it will be.
Noteworthy Characteristics:  Coppery orange flowers from summer into fall. Good for hedges, borders, and accents where hardy. As an annual, it can be grown in borders and containers. Good plant for butterfly and bird habitat gardens.
Care:  Easily grown in average, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade (best flowering occurs in full sun). Needs good drainage and does best in high heat. If growing as an annual, plant in a container to winter indoors if desired. Although somewhat drought-tolerant once established as a perennial in southern areas, it prefers regular moisture when grown as an annual.
Propagation:  Propagate by softwood cuttings in spring or by seed.
Problems:  Nothing serious.

Overview

Height
3 ft. to 6 ft.
Growth Pace
Moderate Grower
Light
Full Sun Only
Moisture
Dry to Medium
Maintenance
Moderate
Characteristics
Attracts Birds,
Attracts Butterflies,
Attracts Hummingbirds,
Showy Flowers,
Showy Foliage
Bloom Time
Fall,
Summer
Flower Color
Orange/Salmon Flower,
Red Flower
Uses
Beds and Borders,
Suitable as Annual
Seasonal Interest
Summer Interest
Type
Tropicals

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