Emu Plant Care: Tips On Growing Emu Bushes

Pink-White Flowered Emu Bush
(Image credit: DMVPhotography)

Emu bushes have much to offer as backyard shrubs. These Australian natives are evergreen, drought tolerant, and winter bloomers. If you are growing emu bushes, you will find that they grow into dense, rounded bushes. Once established, they never need water in most regions. Read on for more facts about emu bush and information about emu plant care.

Facts About Emu Bush

Hundreds of species belong to the genus Eremophila, and some call the plant Eremophila emu bush. All emus are native to Australia’s dry inland areas. They vary significantly in size and growth habit, ranging from prostrate shrubs to 15-foot-high (5 m.) trees. Most grow from 3 to 10 feet (1-3 m.) high and 3 to 6 feet (1-2 m.) wide. An Eremophilia emu bush will bloom in winter months in this country, from December through April, which happens to be Australia’s summer. The flowers are tubular with a curious twist: they flare at the ends and split in such a way that they look like they are growing backwards on their stems. On the other hand, an emu bush in full flower is enough to wow guests. The stems of the emu bush are smothered with flowers growing from stalks on the leaf nodes. Expect red, pink, and magenta shades, often with coral or yellow highlights.

How to Grow an Emu Bush

Growing emu bushes is fairly easy in the right climate and the right location. The Eremophilia emu bush grows well in full sun or very light shade. It is not picky about soil as long as it is well drained. Select an emu bush from among available species according to the height and growth habit you prefer. Eremophilia biserrata is a prostrate shrub. If you want an upright shrub 6 to 10 feet (2-3 m.) high with pastel pink blossoms, try "Pink Beauty" (Eremophila laanii). Or opt for spotted emu bush (Eremophila maculata), one of the easiest species to find in this country. Specimens range from 3 feet to 10 feet (1-3 m.) tall and offer rosy-red flowers that are deeply spotted on the inside. For burgundy flowers, look for the cultivar “Valentine.” It grows between 3 and 6 feet (1-2 m.) tall.

Emu Plant Care

Emu plant care requires that you offer the shrub water only infrequently. When you do irrigate, however, provide a generous soaking. Shallow, frequent irrigation shortens the shrub’s lifespan. Another garden chore you can forget about when you are growing emu bushes is fertilizing the shrubs. These tough shrubs require no fertilizer.

Teo Spengler

Teo Spengler has been gardening for 30 years. She is a docent at the San Francisco Botanical Garden. Her passion is trees, 250 of which she has planted on her land in France.