Oops! I didn’t post Day 19 of the perennial plant challenge, so here it is! Dicleptera suberecta, which everyone tells me sounds more like a disease than a plant, so we like to use its much more fun common name, Uruguayan Firecracker Plant!
This plant often is mistaken for the California native Epilobium, or California fuchsia. Fortunately, this native of Uruguay can be used in the same settings, hot, sunny and dry! Beginning in mid summer and throughout the fall, it happily blooms, even with terrible growing conditions. We grow it near our driveway, where it gets radiating heat, lots of sun, and very little water. Oh, and the occasional car or delivery truck driving over it. It happily blooms with deep orange blooms that attract plenty of butterflies. Growing to 20 inches tall and 3 feet wide, with rounded felt gray foliage, Uruguayan Firecracker Plant is delightful in the garden or in a large pot. We only fertilize once a year, and our 6 year old plants in the garden flourish and return happily each year. The plant does usually die back in the winter, except for in protected locations.
If planting in a pot, be sure to use a fairly large container, at least 12 inches, to reduce the need for excess watering and fertilizing. Dead head spent flower heads to increase bloom.