Hummingbird Bush

seegaye(9)June 21, 2014

I am putting in plants for the hummingbirds and have one of these. I understand that the variety I have can get quite large but have read that they can be kept at around three feet with pruning. Has anyone had any experience with this that they can share? I don't want to find myself digging it up and moving it in a year! Seems I do too much of that in my garden :)

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mehitabel(z6 MO)

I don't recognize it, seegaye. I'm assuming it's tropical. Can you give us the botanical name?

    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 1:46PM
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seegaye(9)

Hamelia patens

    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 2:01PM
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seegaye(9)

I have heard it referred to as 'dwarf firebush' but apparently the description of 'dwarf' refers to the leaf size and not the overall size of a mature specimen - reported to be as big as 10 feet in some cases. I see in some descriptions that it can be kept smaller with pruning but getting some 'real life experience' feedback has often proven useful, so thought I would ask here.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 3:35PM
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tomncath(St Pete Z10a Heat 10)

Lurking here more lately from the Florida Forum since I'm converting as much as possible to arrtact hummers ;-)

Even the "dwarf" firebush can grow to 15'.

Tom

    Bookmark   June 23, 2014 at 12:49PM
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seegaye(9)

Me too, Tom - enslaved to the birds now and moving everything around!! I know these bushes can get big, but am wondering how easy they are to keep at a reasonable size - say, three to five feet tall and about four around. I want to put it near enough to my sitting / viewing areas to watch the birds snd flutterbys, but don't want to find myself uprooting and moving it next year, I did that this year with a jatropha and it took some doing!! I read some places that it is easy to prune but I also had read that the jatropha would not last the winter temps where I am and it not only survived but wanted to be a tree! Hoping someone here has done real life experience to share :)

    Bookmark   June 23, 2014 at 1:14PM
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tomncath(St Pete Z10a Heat 10)

...but am wondering how easy they are to keep at a reasonable size - say, three to five feet tall and about four around....

I'm not sure, we have some at my hospital that are over 15' and look to have trunks about 6" in diameter, I'd say that if not pruned they would crown out at around 12' , so the real issue may be the root system.

Tom

    Bookmark   June 24, 2014 at 6:46AM
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seegaye(9)

I know a couple of folks that have really big ones and would likely call them trees rather than a shrub! I wish I had a space to do that - form it to a small tree!

One area I am considering for it is near the house and about 20 feet from our septic. Root system may be a concern there I assume? I know that lugustrums are often formed to trees but are frequently used very near a house.

Seems that someone out there has some experience using this plant as a shrub or hedge. Maybe I will be the first? :)

    Bookmark   June 24, 2014 at 8:50AM
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mehitabel(z6 MO)

Seegaye, you could try the tropical forum or FLA forum, or if it's fragrant, try fragrants. You might catch a hit there.

Have you seen a big one? How thick and hard are the canes seems relevant to me. How do they grow-- do they bloom off new or old wood? Plants that bloom off old wood won't bloom that year if you cut them back hard. If you know the answers to these you might be able to answer your own question.

eg Some people who have buddleias here cut them back to the ground each year, and they still bloom because they bloom on new wood. However, that doesn't make them *smaller* except for a month or so. They just put out new 6' or 8' whips every spring.

Hope this helps.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2014 at 9:53AM
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