Plants of the UNF Campus

Hamelia patens - Firebush
Family Rubiaceae


About forty species of Hamelia are native to tropical America. The firebush is native to Florida (south of Jacksonville) and its range continues south through the Caribbean and South America. In warmer climates, it can grow to be a small evergreen tree. In a cold north Florida winter, it may die to the ground and re-emerge in spring. The red-orange, tubular flowers are good nectar sources for hummingbirds and butterflies, especially zebra longwing butterflies. Birds eat the fleshy fruits.


See plants on the south side of building 2.


Usually a medium-sized shrub in Jacksonville, firebush has the potential to become a small tree at about fifteen feet tall.

Care Instructions:

Light: sun to part shade

Water: adaptable except to soggy soils, drought tolerant

Soil: very adaptable, no special requirements

Firebush adapts to a wide range of conditions. In Jacksonville, expect it to die to the ground each winter and grow into a shrub about four to six feet tall in the following year. It performs best in a sunny, well-drained site.