Hamelia patens - Firebush
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.
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.