chenille plant is dramatic with its long red cat tail like
You can spot
Lime Sizzler a mile away! Well, that may be a slight exaggeration but
the new Lime Sizzler firebush is definitely an attention grabber. Ever
since firebush was declared a Texas Super Star Winner, 20 years ago,
it has captured the fancy of gardeners, hummingbirds, butterflies, and
bees. Now with the addition of Lime Sizzler, everyone has gone gaga.
speaking Lime Sizzler is known as Hamelia patens and is native from
South Florida to the West Indies, Mexico, and Central America. Lime
Sizzler, however, was actually discovered at a nursery in South Texas
that then patented the plant. It is so exotic and showy that it seems
the entire green industry wants it in its product line including the
Southern Living Plant Collection.
green and yellow foliage would probably be enough to make you lust
over the plant but then add the trumpet shaped red/orange flower so
loved by the pollinators and itís really more than a plant geek like
me can stand. You simply must have it.
honest, though, I have never met a firebush I didnít like, so the
more the merrier. Lime Sizzler will be more compact, in the
4-foot-by-4-foot range. Most of the country will grow them as annuals
and truthfully a most worthy value for your gardening dollar.
also called hummingbird bush and scarlet bush is related to coffee,
gardenia, and the colorful ixora. Technically, it is a zone 9 to 11
plant but will return most years in zone 8. In the Low Country, it is
Ours are 4 to 6
feet and indeed have attained that shrubby look even after dying to
the ground. Our Lime Sizzlers were planted late this spring from
one-gallon containers and are now 2-foot-by-2-foot and even at this
size I can spot them across the garden.
In addition to
the Lime Sizzler we are growing the typical green form, and several
plants of the variety Firefly. Firefly has smaller leaves and more
yellow showing in the blossoms. We are also growing the Bahama
firebush, Hamelia cuprea, that has glossy leaves and much larger
flowers almost reminiscent of an esperanza or tecoma but more
When the torrid
temperatures of August arrive, many gardeners look for those plants
that are as tough-as-nails when it comes to heat and drought
conditions. I am happy to say the firebush fits the bill. It is very
heat and drought tolerant once established, and will grow in almost
any soil that is well-drained.
Even now you
could consider planting two or three for a nice show. We are planting
Lime Sizzler in our cottage garden with the iridescent Purple Flash
ornamental pepper. Even though they are tough as nails apply a good
layer of mulch after planting.
At the Coastal
Georgia Botanical Garden, we use the other firebush varieties in our
Mediterranean garden where we have them combined with the Purple on
Purple Mexican bush sage, European fan palms, and giant blue agave.
You will find Lime Sizzler so colorful you may want to try some in
containers around the porch patio or pool. I hope you will give all of
the firebush a try.