Fire Bush Taking Over

Firebush is a perennial or semi-woody shrub that is known scientifically as Hamelia patens. Gardeners love firebush because it produces flowers from late spring until the first frost, and the bright red flowers attract hummingbirds and butterflies, including the zebra longwing and gulf fritillary butterflies. Song birds also like to feed on the berries.

Back when I first started planning my garden and adding native Florida plants, I bought a small fire bush plant. It loves the sun, thrives in the central Florida’s rainy season, and survives dry periods. That little bush became huge and took lots of time trying to cut it back and to control it. In the last few years, I am not physically able to do many things I used to do. I had a good yard guy who helped me maintain the yard. I lost him two years ago and have struggled trying to find help I can afford. I found a new guy to mow the lawn. Lots of people do that, but his full-time job is maintaining the local elementary school. He doesn’t have time to do many other projects. I have a plan to cut back the gardens to a smaller areas. As I mentioned the other week, I have found a gentleman to do landscaping projects.

Circular Flower Bed in Back Yard about 5 years ago

There is a circular flower bed with the fire bush that is the view from the dining table. I’ve always loved the view of that flower bed, but this last year it has been a sad view. Half the time the bush looks like it’s eating St. Francis. I have been so frustrated that I originally planned to have all the bushes cut down to the ground. Then I’d replace the flower bed with grass and solve the maintenance problem. The truth is I don’t want to do that. Now I’ll ask the landscaper to radically cut the bush (which I think is now 2 bushes!) by half.

Photo 9/6/22
Photo Taken 9/6/22

The fire bush flowers have long thin petals. Bees, butterflies, and even hummingbirds love it. The flowers produce a red berry that birds love. How I can remove that little part of the eco system? I love looking out the sliding glass doors to see who’s visiting.

If there are no visitors, I look at St. Francis. I think he’s happy to have bees buzzing around him all day.

I’m hoping to have Fred work on my fire bush project in the next week. In about a month or so, I’ll share how it looks. I’m going to need to let it rest a little after the bush gets a GI cut.

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I was raised in Tennessee but have lived in Florida for many years. Love my small home in the Tampa Bay area and its developing garden. My decorating style is eclectic - some vintage, some cottage, all with a modern flair. Pursuing a healthier lifestyle. Spent many years in social services but am happily retired.

16 thoughts to “Fire Bush Taking Over”

  1. That’s a beautiful plant but it will eat Saint Francis given half a chance. I’m glad you found a good landscaping guy. That is hard work especially in hot climates.
    Looking forward to the followup shots.

  2. Oh wonderful photos and collage of the Fire Bush ~ wishing you luck with your new landscaper and new garden ~ I have the same St Francis statue ~ I love it ~ Xo

    Wishing you good health, laughter and love in your days,

    aka (A Creative Harbor)

  3. St. Francis does appear to be getting swallowed up! That’s a pretty bush, but sounds like it’s high maintenance. I like your plan, and looking forward to seeing how it looks.

  4. Beautiful pictures. I understand about not able to maintain the yard/garden anymore. We had a yard guy for years, but he started cutting corners, and charging more. Maintaining the yard is a big job in Florida.

  5. St. Francis may want a little air, but may also appreciate the shade in the summer months. I’m fortunate; my husband can still do a lot of the yard work (I have back and some other issues). I dread the day we need paid help. Please keep enough of the bush that my hummingbird friend, when she arrives, can use to brighten your day. Alana ramblinwitham

  6. I’m glad you are going to keep the fire bush. It is so unusual to me. In fact, I was afraid that it was the “fire bush” that is quarantined/invasive in Vermont, but it’s not; same common name, different Latin name. I doubt something so exotic looking would survive here, anyhow. Good luck with finding help. I’m learning what that is like.

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