Firebush (Hamelia Patens) Profile

Written by Iris

Jan 29 2023

Firebush (Hamelia Patens) Profile
Firebush (Hamelia Patens) is a perennial shrub that also takes the form of small trees. Native to the tropics and subtropics, Firebush (Hamelia Patens) are best suited to the southern part of the country from the tip of Florida all the way to Southern California. Firebush (Hamelia Patens) is a hardy plant with high tolerance to drought, different soil types, and varying degrees of sun and partial shade. Under the right conditions, they typically grow to five to ten feet. The flowers, which are the plant's most distinctive feature, range in color from a deep scarlet to reddish orange.

Firebush (Hamelia Patens) Picture

 Firebush (Hamelia Patens)

Firebush (Hamelia Patens) Info

Botanical Name Hamelia patens
Common Name Firebush, scarlet bush
Plant Type Herbaceous perennial
Mature Size 3–15 ft. tall, 2–6 ft. wide
Sun Exposure Full sun, partial shade
Soil Type Well-drained
Soil pH Neutral to acidic
Bloom Time Summer, fall

Ecological habits of the Firebush (Hamelia Patens)

Hardy and adaptable, Firebush (Hamelia Patens) grows in a wide array of soil types and pH ranges, including alkaline limestone soils, and is moderately fast growing when watered well and fertilized.  It tolerates light salt spray if planted back from the beachfront and prefers full or filtered sun.

Firebush (Hamelia Patens) Distribution Area

Firebush grows in deforested areas, in thickets with other brushy species, in forest openings, or in the understory of low basal-area forest stands. The species is found in moist and wet areas that receive from about 1600 to about 3000 mm of precipitation. Firebush prefers loamy or clayey soil. It grows on soils derived from volcanic and sedimentary parent materials and is most common in areas with limestone rocks (Wildland shrubs of the United States and its territories).
Firebush (Hamelia Patens)

How to Grow and Care for Firebush (Hamelia Patens)

How to Propagate Firebush (Hamelia Patens)

Hamelia patens plant may be propagated with seeds and cuttings.
  • For seed:
Collect pods and remove the seeds once they are dry.
Moisten the peat in seedling trays and sow them.
Place the tray indoors, in an area getting full sunlight.
Germination being 3 weeks later.
Once the seedlings are big enough to handle, move them to tier permanent location and with good growing conditions, you will notice plenty of orange-red flowers soon enough.
  • For cuttings:
Get 6”-inch long cuttings with a few leaves and place them in perlite.
Place under full sun and give plenty of water to keep the soil hydrated.
When the last frost of the season has passed, place the cutting in their permanent position outdoors.

How to Care for Firebush (Hamelia Patens)

  • Light
Though firebush can tolerate partial shade, it prefers the warmth of full sunlight, at least six or eight hours a day. It's believed that the more sunlight the plant gets, the more plentiful its blooms will be.
  • Soil
Firebush has the benefit of growing easily in a variety of different soil conditions. That being said, it prefers a mixture that's on the drier side, and whatever type of soil you plant it in should be especially well-draining, as the plant can be prone to root rot. Additionally, soil pH isn't of much importance to firebush—it can thrive in a blend that ranges from neutral to acidic.
  • Water
In general, Firebush (Hamelia Patens) won’t require a lot of watering. Once it establishes, it becomes almost self-sufficient as its roots seek water in the deep soil. That doesn't mean you should forget about irrigation altogether. You should always strive to keep the well-drained soil moist especially in the dog days of summer.
Temperature and Humidity
It prefers an ideal temperature 15 degrees Fahrenheit. It can withstand very cold temperature up to -1 degree Celsius.
  • Fertilizer
Established trees should be fertilized every 2-3 years. Feed in early spring when plants start growing. Fertilizers are available in many forms: granulated, slow-release, liquid feeds, organic or synthetic. Determine which application method is best for the situation and select a product designed for trees and shrubs, or go with a nutritionally balanced, general-purpose formula such as 10-10-10.
  • Pruning
Pruning may be needed to remove dead branches, encourage bushier growth, promote more flowers, or maintain a specific size or shape. Dead branches should be removed close to the trunk, flush with the bark. When pruning to control a plant's size or shape, cuts should be made just above a leaf bud and at a slight angle. This bud will be where the new growth sprouts. Many shrubs can be regularly sheared to keep them shaped as a hedge, edging or formal foundation planting.
Read More: Firebush: Grow & Care for Hamelia Patens
Firebush (Hamelia Patens)

Uses of Firebush (Hamelia Patens)

Horticultural Uses

Firebush makes a great foundation plant or can be used as a background to a border, or as a screen. These plants can even be grown as an informal hedge, and they also make a neat small specimen tree for the more hands-on gardener.
Since the flowers of these plants attract pollinators, they can be used in pollinator gardens designed to bring bees, butterflies, and birds like hummingbirds for pollination.

Human Uses

These plants are known to have medicinal uses for treating many conditions such as pain, fever, insect bites, and burns. (2) The berries of this plant are edible raw but will taste better when made into jams and jellies.

Wildlife Uses

Hummingbirds, butterflies, and moths are all attracted to the nectar-rich flowers of the firebush shrub. Fruit-eating birds like mockingbirds relish the tasty small fruits. These plants are generally deer resistant.  

Common Pests/Diseases

Occasional attacks of scales or mites may require control measures. New growth may be attacked by aphids in early spring, but natural predators often rapidly check the invasion. In south Florida, larvae of a moth species sometimes partially defoliates the stems, but they are easily controlled if you wish.
Firebush (Hamelia Patens)

Firebush (Hamelia Patens) Design Tips

To say that the hamelia firebush is an all-round plant that is a delight to have in your garden is an understatement. We feel that we can’t give this wondrous plant its fair dues. And so far we have been talking about the splendid flowers and juicy berries. But, the truth is, this is first and foremost a landscaping plant. Those red stalks and equally scarlet leaves stand out in your garden like a fiery bush.
 Some examples of landscaping use for the firebush plants include
  • A magnet for a butterfly garden. The monarch butterflies will travel for miles in search of their favorite firebush flowers.
  • As a backdrop. The bright flowers and flashy leaves of the firebush serve as the ideal backdrop for low plants.
  • Around a hedge to give it an informal and less austere feeling.
  • A focal point in your yard. You couldn't find a better alternative for a stand-alone plant that offers all the delights of trees and flowering plants at the same time.
  • To accentuate a walkway, pool, patio, deck, or lanai. Since it requires less maintenance and care, you won't have to worry about pruning or deadheading it.
  • Add some color to a fence or a drab wall and transform your landscape with unlimited designs and floral creations.
Firebush (Hamelia Patens)

Firebush (Hamelia Patens) Companion Plants

Coontie (Zamia); Canna Lily (Canna); Lantana (Lantana); Plumbago (Plumbago); Trumpet Creeper (Campsis); Grevillea (Grevillea), Acacia (Acacia)