Hamelia patens

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Plant types and subtypes: Trees & Shrubs, Shrubs, Evergreens

Light Requirements: sun, part-sun, part-shade

Water Use: medium

Soil Moisture: moist

Soil Description: acid, neutral, alkaline, loam, clay, sand

Height: 8'-15'

Bloom Time: April, May, June, July, August, September

Bloom Color: red

Leaf Color: green, purple, multi-color

Hardiness Zone: 9, 10, 11

Additional Tags: attracts birds, attracts butterflies, berries, evergreen, fall interest, hedging plant, ornamental foliage, showy fruit

Flowers of Hamelia patens (scarletbush)
  • Flowers of Hamelia patens (scarletbush)
  • Flowers of Hamelia patens (scarletbush)
  • Flowers of Hamelia patens (scarletbush)
  • Flowers of Hamelia patens (scarletbush)

Pricing & Availability


Hamelia patens

Also known as:





Mexican firecracker

Scientific Synonyms:


Scarletbush is an attractive evergreen bush. The leaves, stems and trunks are tinged with red and purple hues. It will bloom year round, though the peak flower production is during spring and summer months. Hamelia patens blooms in terminal clusters of bright red, tubular flowers resembling firecrakers (hence the common name Mexican firecracker). The foliage will turn to orange in fall where the climate is cooler. That, along with the dark red berries it produces, provides great fall interest.


Hamelia patens is native to Florida, and can be found as far south as Bolivia. It is commonly grown in southern Texas an California. Though frost tender, it is popular as an annual in colder climates where it will easily grow to 5' during one season. This species is easy to cultivate and tolerant of a variety of soil types and light conditions. It may be trimmed to create hedges and privacy screens, or left to grow as a specimen. It may require support when heights over 12' are desired. Blooms year round. Zones 9-11


Propagate from seeds that have been stripped of their pulp, from cuttings or by layering.

Additional Notes

Hamelia patens is a member of the Madder family which notably also includes coffee and quinine.

Native Range & Classification

Recorded County Distribution: USDA data

Native Range:


Kingdom Plantae Plants
Subkingdom Tracheobionta Vascular plants
Superdivision Spermatophyta Seed plants
Division Magnoliophyta Flowering plants
Class Magnoliopsida Dicotyledons
Subclass Asteridae
Order Rubiales
Family Rubiaceae Madder family
Genus Hamelia hamelia
Species Hamelia patens scarletbush