This compact and shrubby plant, with masses of l-in/2.5-cm-long evergreen leaves, is not difficult to care for. The tubular scarlet flowers, borne in summer, hang from the plant rather like those of fuchsia, but they are not as plentiful.
If the blooms are pollinated with a soft brush, there is a good chance that small orange-red fruits will develop, these are not edible but are interesting and attractive to look at.
Origin: Eastern Mediterranean to the Himalayas. HEIGHT To 90cm/3ft.
Potting Mix: Soil-based.
Repotting: In spring, but only when roots have filled the pot.
Propagation: Take stem cuttings in summer, or sow seed in spring (named varieties do not come true).
Keeping Plants: To encourage flowering, shorten outward-growing shoots when the buds are breaking in early spring, and prune out old or weak wood in late spring or summer.
- Bright light with some direct sun.
- Normal room temperature, with a winter minimum of 50°F/10°C.
- Keep the soil moist at all times.
- Feed every 2 weeks from spring to fall with a high-potash fertilizer.