Firebush (Hamelia patens) is a heat-loving shrub native to south Florida and grown throughout much of the southern United States. Known for its dazzlingly red flowers and ability to sustain high temperatures, it is also known for being able to take a serious pruning. These qualities combine to make it a great choice for a natural hedge, provided you live somewhere warm enough to support it. Keep reading to learn more about growing firebush hedge plants.
How to Grow a Hedge of Firebush Shrubs
Can you grow a firebush hedge? The short answer is: yes. Firebush grows very quickly, and it will come back from even vigorous pruning. This means it, or a series of shrubs in a row, can be shaped reliably into a hedge.
If left to its own devices, a firebush will usually grow to a height of about 8 feet (2.4 m.) and a spread of about 6 feet (1.8 m.), but it can be known to get considerably taller. The best time to prune a firebush is early spring, before new growth starts. This is a good time both to trim it to a desired shape and to cut out any cold damaged branches. The shrub can also be trimmed throughout the growing season to keep it in its desired shape.
Caring for Your Firebush Boundary Plant
The biggest concern when growing a hedge of firebush shrubs is cold damage. Firebush is cold hardy down to USDA zone 10, but even there it might suffer some damage in winter. In zone 9, it will die down to the ground with the cold, but it can pretty reliably be expected to come back from its roots in the spring.
If you’re counting on your hedge to be there all year long, however, this can come as an unpleasant surprise! Firebush hedge plants are best suited to zone 10 and above, and the general rule of thumb is the hotter the better.