Hamelia patens, commonly called scarlet bush or Texas firebush, is native to Southern Florida, Mexico, Central, and South America. It is also commonly known as Mexican firecracker or firecracker shrub because of the similarity of its flowers to firecrackers. Where this shrub may be grown as a perennial, it is evergreen, will rise to as much as 10-15’ tall, and will bloom year-round.
The plant typically rises to 2-3’ tall in a growing season and blooms in summer and early fall. Tubular orange-red to red flowers appear in terminal clusters (cymes) in summer and fall. Whorls of pointed, oval, gray-green leaves (to 6” long) with pinkish veins. Leaves turn red in fall. Reddish stems and leafstalks. Flowers give way to small dark fruits
Planting & Caring –
Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Good soil drainage is important for this plant. When grown as an annual, this plant may be sited directly in the soil or in containers that can be overwintered indoors. Although somewhat drought-tolerant once established as a perennial in southern areas, it prefers regular moisture when grown as an annual. Best flowering is in full sun conditions. Thrives in high heat.