When it comes to native landscapes a lot of people picture green, boring or even scrubby looking plants. They believe that for something to be colorful or exciting it must be exotic. This is very far from the truth. There are many trees, shrubs and wildflowers that can be used very easily to create an inviting and low maintenance landscape that works with nature.
The first selection we would like to look at is the Firebush (Hamlia patens) . It can be found along much of the central Florida coast and south Florida. Firsbush grows quickly to a height of about 15′. It can easily be maintained, however, at about 6′. Most of the year it produces 1″ red-orange, tubular shaped flowers arranged in clusters. These flowers are a wonderful draw for butterflies and hummingbirds.
Firebush preforms best in full sun with well draining soil. It will tolerate a moderate amount of salt and does well in most of our winters. They can take damage in an extremely cold winter in Central Florida but typically recover quickly. They can be used as an accent, a privacy screen and even a small ornamental tree.
For more information about Firebush check out this paper by the University of Florida:
Check back soon for our next installment of Our Favorite Natives…