No discussion of year-round color in the native garden is ever complete without talking about California Fuchsia, Epilobium canum and other Epilobiums. Just when the some of the garden is gearing down for summer dormancy, hot weather and no water, the bright red/orange blooms of California Fuchsia peek out and take center stage.
In my garden, myfavorite cultivar ‘Everett’s Choice’ is the earliest bloomer, usually starting on the 4th of July and sometimes continuing on until October! Most others start blooming in August or September in Southern California, and they are hugely important plants for hummingbird nectar. In fact, if you have a good stand of California Fuchsia you can forget about hummingbird feeders in the summer because they will be well supplied.
My friend Gene Ratcliffe wrote a good article about Epilobiums for the Tree of Life Nursery website. I also found this plant of the month feature at Golden West Unlock iPhone 4 College Native Garden. These articles have good information about various cultivars and garden treatment of Epilobiums, and some nice photos, too. If you have other articles or pictures you can share, please comment below – I’d particularly like to hear from those of you in Northern California about your experiences with Epilobium. Check out your local native nurseries and fall plant sales and ask your local CNPS chapter about which California Fuchsias are available and do well in your area.