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Firebush, Hamelia patens, is one of the most popular native shrubs for beginning and expert wildlife gardeners alike. It can reach heights of 10-12 ft tall and 6-8 ft wide, and it is best planted in full sun. It is drought tolerant once established and does well in poor, well-drained soil. The red and yellow blooms appear year-round, most prominent in the warm months of the year and they are followed clusters of berries that are great for songbirds. The flowers attract a myriad of pollinators as well as providing nector for migrating hummingbirds. When cooler weather hits, firebush are known to take on a burnish color to the foliage that offers a nice ornament. Leave loss may occur in very cold temperatures, but plants should bounce back during spring. Calusa and Compacta are slightly smaller-growing varieties that tend to have a dense habit. These can still be expected to reach 8-10 ft tall but have a slightly richer foliage and bloom color. Larval host for the Pluto Sphinx Moth.

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