Firebush looks horrible!!

terrisoflaSeptember 10, 2007

I planted 3 firebush plants about 6 months ago and they were thriving in the partially shaded area. About 2 months ago something started attacking only one firebush. It started with red dots on the leaves which became holes. The leaves turned yellow and fell off the plant. It also looked like something was chewing on the leaves. I don't want to spray because I planted them to attract birds/butterflies. I tried shooting it with a hard stream of water every day for about a week with no luck. I have seen the same thing happen on a road near my house where the city has planted them. There are some that are gorgeous, green and blooming and some that look sick like mine. Does anyone know what's going on with them?

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goldenpond((Vero.Beach FL 9b))

No but do I feel for you .
I could have written this post!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I have the UGLIEST scrawniest firebushes around.While the other MG sre
singing the glories of planting the Natives especially firebush I have to disagree on them being CAREFREE.
I can grow other things that SHOULDNT grow here but then have probs with a Native? Go figure.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2007 at 9:34AM
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floridays(9B)

I had planted a "firebush" in a perfect spot and for two years watched it suffer, I tried everything but it wouldn't grow and the leaves stayed small. It ended up that I had purchased the "dwarf" variety which if I understand correctly is not native. Since then I have purchased three other plants that are true native firebush and they are thriving (even after being hit by freeze last year).

    Bookmark   September 10, 2007 at 9:42AM
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manature(9B Sanford, FL)

Lukas had both the dwarf and the regular varieties the last time I was there, and they were kind of mixed up together, so it was easy to get confused on which was which. I don't like the dwarf one nearly as much.

Firebush (hamelia patens) does well when pruned severely from time to time. If yours looks ratty, you might try cutting it back and letting it put out new, unblemished growth and see how it does. They will get 10 to 12 feet tall when they are happy, but it isn't necessary for them to get that big. You can keep them at a size that works for you, and still get plenty of bloom.

I'd say cut it back, since it looks bad anyway.

Good luck!
Marcia

    Bookmark   September 10, 2007 at 10:47AM
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regine_Z 10 Fl gw

It could be that snails or slugs are chewing up your plant especially because it is in a partially shaded area but I don't know what would cause the red dots on the leaves. I have a firespike bush that was being chewed up ,I sprinkled snail bait around the bush and was amazed by the number of dead snails afterwards.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2007 at 2:45PM
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goldenpond((Vero.Beach FL 9b))

Mine are not dwarf and were purchased at a Native Nursery. I tried them in different areas ,some in shade,part shade,sun I have one In full shade on the lot line that looks like it may be on its way up but it has suffered for two years.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2007 at 3:27PM
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an_ill-mannered_ache

i second marcia's advice -- cut ONE of them WAY back. these babies die to NOTHING after a good frost, and always come back. they can handle a severe pruning.

see what happens with the one -- if it responds well to the cut, perform the same to the others.

i, too, would sing hosanna to the h. patens... it's usually a very low-care, high bloom-bang butterfly friendly plant... don't give up on them yet!

    Bookmark   September 10, 2007 at 5:44PM
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wlsflowers

I have two Firebushes near our fence in the backyard. One wasn't doing so well last year so I cut it back quite a bit. Here's a picture of it this year. It bounced back and then some. It seems to be my wildlife magnet at the moment. I've got a couple of bumble bees on it every morning, birds, butterflies...you name it :)

Hopefully if you cut it back, it'll flourish next year.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2007 at 7:55PM
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goldenpond((Vero.Beach FL 9b))

Show off! LOL

    Bookmark   September 10, 2007 at 8:17PM
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wlsflowers

Hee-hee. The firebush is doing good, but did you notice all of the weeds surrounding it ;)

    Bookmark   September 10, 2007 at 10:19PM
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katkin_gw

We gardeners don't see the weeds, cause we all have them. Your firebush looks great. I think mine needs a haircut too. It is quite old and probably needs a jump start. lol

    Bookmark   September 11, 2007 at 6:39AM
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laura1(9aTpa,FL)

The red dots that turn into hole sound like a fungus...maybe anthracnos? maybe another fungus.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2007 at 5:17PM
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terrisofla

Wow, you all are great! I posted a question on the rose forum and didn't get much response, so I didn't check so quickly this time. The suggestion about cutting back sounds good. Wlsflowers, did you fertilize as well? yours looks great now! Now the one next to the bad one looks like it has chicken pox. May be cutting back two instead of one.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2007 at 7:32PM
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