Epilobium canum is a beautiful species of willowherb, native to the California foothills and coastal areas. It is a perennial plant, notable for the profusion of bright scarlet flowers in summer and autumn – it’s usually the only native California plant in an area flowering at the height of summer. They tend to die back and go dormant in the winter. Other common names include California-fuchsia (from the resemblance of the flowers to those of Fuchsias), Hummingbird Flower, and Hummingbird Trumpet (the flowers are very attractive to hummingbirds). Epilobium canum is often found by seasonal creeks, seeps and spring, particularly in the drier southern part of its range.
California Fuchsia is easy to grow. It does best and will flower most profusely in full sun. In the wetter, northern part of its range or near the coast, this plant will typically require no supplemental water after established. In the drier, hotter, inland southern areas, it will often die without summer water unless planted close to an irrigated or other wet area. You can water it 1x/month without much danger. Plants tend to get straggly after flowering by late fall or early winter. Best to cut them back to the ground as soon as the flowers are spent, and they’ll come back lush and healthy in the spring. Otherwise, they’ll look straggly and unhealthy the next year, and are more likely to die. This plant will readily self-seed, so once you get this species established, it will usually start springing up around your garden. It also spreads by rhizomes. There’s probably no better California native plant for attracting hummingbirds.
Sun: Full Sun
Moisture: Very Low, Low
Summer Irrigation: Max 1x / month once established
Ease of Care: Very Easy, Moderately Easy
Cold Tolerance: Tolerates cold to 0° F
Soil Drainage: Fast, Medium, Slow
Soil Description: Tolerates clay and sand. Tolerates Serpentine Soil. Soil PH: 6.0 – 8.0
Common uses: Groundcovers, Deer Resistant, Bird Gardens, Hummingbird Gardens, Butterfly Gardens
Companion Plants: Milkweed (Asclepias species), Giant Wild Rye (Elymus condensatus), Sand Aster (Corethrogyne filaginifolia), Sagebrush (Artemisia californica), Monkeyflower (Mimulus species), Encelia californica, Buckwheat (Eriogonum species), Heartleaf Keckiella (Keckiella cordifolia), Penstemon species, Salvia species, Blue-eyed Grass (Sisyrinchium bellum)
Maintenance: Cut or mow to base in fall or early winter to stimulate for new growth. Unwanted rhizomes can be pulled at any time.
Site Type: This species is found in a number of natural settings over a large part of the state. Near the coast it is found on slopes, bluffs or canyons as part of chaparral or coastal sage scrub. In more inland areas including the Sierras it is found in slightly damper slopes and flats, often near seasonal creeks, often as part of pine or fir forest.
Climate: Annual Precipitation: 2.7″ – 124.0″
This plant is on several fire resistant plant lists, including FireSafe Marin and County of San Diego.
View Calflora for more information
Pick -up of purchased plants will be Saturday, September 26, from 9-11 am at the CNPS pick-up location off of Broad St in San Luis Obispo. (Note: there is no actual address for this location. It is at the East end of Francis Street in San Luis Obispo, behind Rizzoli’s Auto Repair. Please park on Francis St. while picking up plants.) A sign will be posted on the street. GPS coordinates for Pick-up location: Lat: 35.266967 degrees, Long: -120.651302 degrees. Please only place your order if you are able to pick up your plants on September 26 between 9 and 11 am. There are no options for other pickup times or dates, or shipping of these live plants.