Hamelia patens, also known as fire bush, is a shrub in the coffee family that is native to the southeastern United States, Mexico, and Central America. It grows to a height of 6–12 feet (1.8–3.7 m) and has opposite, oval-shaped leaves that are 3–6 inches (7.6–15.2 cm) long and 2–3 inches (5.1–7.6 cm) wide. The leaves are dark green in color and have a glossy surface. The flowers of H. patens are red, tubular, and borne in clusters at the ends of the stems. The fruit is a black, berry-like drupe that contains two seeds.
Hamelia patens is cultivated as an ornamental plant in the United States, Mexico, and other countries. It is used as a hedge or screen, as well as in butterfly gardens. The plant is also used in traditional medicine to treat a variety of ailments, including colds, flu, and diarrhea.
How to care:
Hamelia patens is a relatively easy plant to care for. It prefers full sun to partial shade and well-drained soil. Once established, it is tolerant of drought. The plant can be propagated from seed, cuttings, or division.
Pests and diseases:
Hamelia patens is generally resistant to pests and diseases. However, it can be susceptible to scale and mealybugs.
Hamelia patens has moderate water requirements. Water the plant deeply, but allow the soil to dry out between watering.
Fire Bush prefers warm temperatures and can tolerate some heat. It can be damaged by frost.
Hamelia patens prefers well-drained soil. It will tolerate a wide range of soil types, including sandy, loamy, and clay soils.
Fire Bush is not particularly fertilizer-demanding. A general-purpose fertilizer can be used. Apply fertilizer in early spring and mid-summer.
Fire Bush can be pruned to shape as needed. It can also be pruned to encourage bushier growth.
Fire Bush can be propagated from seed, cuttings, or division.
Sow Hamelia patens seeds in well-drained soil in spring or summer.
Take stem cuttings from Hamelia patens in spring or summer.
Divide Hamelia patens in spring or summer.
Fire Bush is commonly used as a hedge or screen. It can also be used in butterfly gardens.