Back from the dead

Joined: September 6th, 2009, 12:00 am

September 12th, 2018, 10:12 pm #1

Plants are funny. Several years ago my firebush froze. Dead. Pulled it up and planted a hot banana pepper in the pot. Couple months ago I saw something growing at the base of my pepper plant. What’s that. I looked closer and recognized the leaves. My Firebush!
I couldn’t believe it.

Here it is now , blooming. Amazing.
A488D75D-6BA3-461A-9D49-1049B4C75C18.jpeg
A488D75D-6BA3-461A-9D49-1049B4C75C18.jpeg
Northeast Missouri
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Joined: August 26th, 2006, 10:15 pm

September 12th, 2018, 11:55 pm #2

Love a story with a good ending, especially when a flowing plant is involved.  Might get me some next year.  Limited space and decent soil here, looks like I could put them in some kind of planter....  🙂
~~ Karen
Agua Dulce, California
Elevation: 2518 or so
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Joined: September 6th, 2009, 12:00 am

September 13th, 2018, 12:26 am #3

While I’m at it does anybody know if this plant will make it thru the winter if I plant it in the ground? Not this winter but next. Thanks
Northeast Missouri
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Joined: August 21st, 2012, 2:43 pm

September 13th, 2018, 10:30 am #4

We routinely cut them down to a 6-12" stalk after a hard freeze, the upper branches rarely recover! 100% recovery from the base stalk has been our experience. I have no idea how extended below freezing temperatures would affect its survivability.  Heavy mulching would be advisable.
Joe M.
Lakeland, FL
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Joined: March 5th, 2006, 2:03 am

September 13th, 2018, 1:44 pm #5

Yes, as Joe said, here in Central Florida a hard freeze will kill off the top part of these plants, but the roots will recover and will shoot out new growth in the spring. I would doubt that many would recover in Missouri. If I were you, Mike, I would treat this as an annual. You might take a few cuttings and bring in the small plants for the winter and put them outside in pots when the freeze date is over. 

These plants (there are several varsities) are excellent nectar plants for our state butterfly, the Zebra Longwing. They are excellent for hummers and other butterflies as well. The problem I have is that these plants are thugs. They keep growing and throw out seeds and roots to nearby areas. I have many but they want to take over the entire garden; I have to keep digging them up and hitting them with weed killers. 
Central Florida 9B
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Joined: May 19th, 2013, 3:18 am

September 13th, 2018, 3:18 pm #6

Our low temperature last winter was 20ºF.  Mine came back OK and it is in flower as it usually is at this time.  It has grown to about 5 feet.  Before the freeze, it was about 8 feet tall.

Tom, the variety with large leaves can be a thug, but those with small leaves neither produce seeds nor runners - at least not here in Louisiana.
Nancy L Newfield
Casa Colibrí
Metairie, LA
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Joined: March 23rd, 2018, 2:34 am

September 14th, 2018, 8:24 pm #7

I have had success with growing two in larger flower pots for at least five years now.  I live in Wisconsin so it would not survive if planted in the ground.  Flower containers are 18 inches in diameter and I cut them way back in the fall, clean flower pots, replant in fresh soil and bring them into my basement under grow lights.  I water (sparingly) and they put out new growth.  In May, I bring them back outdoors (keeping them in sheltered location for a bit or their new growth burns) and they are flowering once again before long.  Hummingbirds enjoy them.  I am sorry, I have had them for awhile and do not remember the variety but the leaves are not large and I might add, as the nights cool down here, the leaves turn a pretty reddish bronze color with the orange flowers, they are very attractive!!  
Marilyn
Appleton, Wisconsin
Zone 5
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Joined: March 5th, 2006, 2:03 am

September 14th, 2018, 11:37 pm #8

Turns out that there are several different cultivars of Hamelia Patens. In most of Florida we grow two primarily. The first one is often called the “native.” It used to be the most common, but now I’m not sure. This plant grew to about twelve to fifteen feet high on my property. Its flowers are red—not a deep red or a light red, in my opinion, just red. (One must understand that being male I’m color challenged.)
 
The other one we have in abundance is called a “dwarf,“which is really a misnomer since this bush will get to be over ten feet high on my property and at least five or six feet wide. The other name we give this plant is “Hamelia Patens ‘Compacta’” since it is supposedly more compact. I suppose that it doesn’t get quite as high as the “native,” but it does get at least as wide. Its flowers are more yellow than the “native.”
 
There is another one sold in Florida called “African,” “Firefly,” or more correctly “Hamelia Patens var glabra.” I think “glabra” means no hairs. I have no experience with this plant. Supposedly the leaves on this one are smaller. Perhaps this is the one that you referred to, Nancy.

The nurseries in Florida often misname the different Hamelia Patens.  To make matters worse apparently they easily hybridize with one another. So…
 
Here is an article that explains this confusion pretty well. The Hamelia Mess
Central Florida 9B
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Joined: August 21st, 2012, 2:43 pm

September 18th, 2018, 11:40 pm #9

Thanks for the info Tom!
Joe M.
Lakeland, FL
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