The New Front Yard: California fuchsia is a sun-loving favorite

06/28/2014 12:00 AM

10/04/2014 12:45 AM

This is one part in a weekly series featuring the UC Davis Arboretum “New Front Yard” series, 41 drought-tolerant and beautiful plants well adapted to our region.

California fuchsia

Epilobium canum

Size: 1 to 3 feet

Bloom season: Summer and fall

Pruning needs: Cut to the ground after flowering in late fall

Exposure: Full sun to partial shade

Water needs: Water deeply once or twice a month

Snapshot: In constant demand at UC Davis nursery sales, this perennial ranks among the most popular plants propagated by arboretum volunteers. In the hottest heat, this California native keeps putting out brilliant, lipstick-shaped flowers throughout summer and into fall. It’s those fuchsia-like flowers that earn this perennial its nickname. Its other nickname is “hummingbird trumpet” and for good reason; hummers flock to these flowers. Tough and reliable, California fuchsia is easy to grow and tolerates high temperatures and drought. Different varieties have interesting leaves, too, ranging from silver to bright green and narrow to broad. Modern hybrids have created variations on the flowers, too; “Solidarity Pink” is a soft baby pink with a hint of peach. Among the favorites at the arboretum is the dwarf variety, “Everett’s Choice.” It’s more compact and does not form invasive runners. You can see specimens in the UC Davis Arboretum’s Mary Wattis Brown Garden of California native plants on campus.

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