California Fuchsia (Epilobium canum)

epilobium-california-fuschia_xg_090720_lah_7368Also known as Garrett’s Firechalice and Garrett’s California Fuchsia, Epilobium canum* is a spectacular plant for the fall garden, no matter what you call it. Flaming orange-red flowers from early July until frost make California Fuchsia a focal point in any xeric garden. Low-growing mounds of narrow, grey-green leaves spread two feet wide. The brilliant blossoms are a hummingbird magnet, giving them yet another common name, “Hummingbird Trumpet.” Plants look especially nice in front of contrasting companions such as dark junipers, purple asters, or silvery Artemisias.

epilobium-california-fuschia_xg_090720_lah_7367These are long-lived perennials, hardy to zone 5. They grow fairly quickly, reaching full size within three years. Plant in spring in the hottest part of the garden where they will receive full sun. Once established, they thrive on 15 inches of water per year—average rainfall for Colorado Springs. Supplemental irrigation is needed only during the growing season, and only if several weeks go by without rain. Adaptable to any well-drained soil, and tolerating wind, heat, and low humidity, this southwest native is an excellent choice for our climate.

California Fuchsia needs little maintenance. The plants are pest and disease free. Remove last season’s dead foliage before new growth appears in the spring. Deadheading will prevent self-seeding, or allow the plants to propagate naturally.

* The genus was recently changed from Zauschneria.

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