Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Dwarf Mexican Firebush, Firecracker Shrub, Scarlet Bush, Hummingbird Bush
Hamelia patens 'Compacta'

Family: Rubiaceae
Genus: Hamelia (ham-EE-lee-uh) (Info)
Species: patens (PAT-ens) (Info)
Cultivar: Compacta

3 vendors have this plant for sale.

9 members have or want this plant for trade.


4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)
6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)

4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:
Gold (Yellow-Orange)

Bloom Time:
Mid Spring
Late Spring/Early Summer
Mid Summer
Late Summer/Early Fall
Mid Fall
Late Fall/Early Winter


Other details:
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping
Provides winter interest
Suitable for growing in containers

Soil pH requirements:
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:
Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:
From herbaceous stem cuttings
From softwood cuttings
From semi-hardwood cuttings
By simple layering
By air layering
By tip layering

Seed Collecting:
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds
Allow unblemished fruit to ripen; clean and dry seeds
Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored

Click thumbnail
to view:

By NativePlantFan9
Thumbnail #1 of Hamelia patens by NativePlantFan9

By MotherNature4
Thumbnail #2 of Hamelia patens by MotherNature4

By turektaylor
Thumbnail #3 of Hamelia patens by turektaylor

By vossner
Thumbnail #4 of Hamelia patens by vossner


5 positives
No neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive Jcmeinster On May 22, 2012, Jcmeinster from Conroe, TX wrote:

It's a beautiful bush , it's a new addition to the butterfly garden , well branched and lots of tubular yellow and orange flowers .

Positive sunkissed On Jul 25, 2011, sunkissed from Winter Springs, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

This plant can still get quite big for being a compact Firebush. I have had this in my garden for three seasons now. Each winter it has totally frozen to the ground when temperatures dipped below freezing. Around April it comes back and by July it is a good five feet tall and requiring some trimming to keep it in control. The flowers attract hummingbirds constantly. It does very well in a sunny location and pretty drought tolerant once established. Sometimes it does get aphids on the tips but doesn't seem to bother the blooms at all. The ants take care of them for me.

Positive vossner On Sep 9, 2009, vossner from Richmond, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

The term compacta does not refer to the overall size of the plant but rather the amLLWE size of the flowers and foliage. Mine is 4 ft tall and requires pruning to control size. Still a great plant and a great hummer attractant.

Positive KDTX On Aug 3, 2005, KDTX from Fort Worth, TX wrote:

This is a very attractive version of the standard firebush and it grows well in Texas. It's the perfect size for a patio or a balcony which faces east, south or west. Hummingbirds and butterflies are drawn to it and feed voraciously from it's long tubular blooms. Being an evergreen it adds much interest in winter too. The plant also has medicinal properties.

Positive MotherNature4 On Jul 1, 2004, MotherNature4 from Bartow, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

This is a pleasing dwarf version of the 8 ft Fire Bush in my yard. It won't overpower a butterfly garden like its big brother.

The golden tubular flowers are held up by bright red stems. They are about the same size as the larger version. It is almost everblooming. Butterflies and Hummingbirds find it attractive.

The dark blue seeds are devoured by Mockingbirds and Catbirds.

2008 Addition: As time has passed, my Hamelia patens 'compacta' has grown to about 7 ft. high, and is 6 ft. wide. I prune it, too. It has yellow tubes in the flowers. The leaves are smaller than the species and the flowers look different. It is everblooming. Humminbirds can't resist it.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Phoenix, Arizona
Bartow, Florida
Boca Raton, Florida
Clearwater, Florida
Malabar, Florida
Miami, Florida
New Port Richey, Florida
Palm Coast, Florida
Wauchula, Florida
West Palm Beach, Florida
Winter Springs, Florida
Gonzales, Louisiana
Youngsville, Louisiana
Jackson, Mississippi
Elizabeth City, North Carolina
Saint George, South Carolina
Abilene, Texas
Austin, Texas (2 reports)
Conroe, Texas
Fort Worth, Texas
Georgetown, Texas
Houston, Texas (2 reports)
Humble, Texas
Kingsland, Texas
Missouri City, Texas
Richmond, Texas
San Antonio, Texas (2 reports)
Sugar Land, Texas

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