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Hamelia "lime sizzler" .... anybody growing it?

roselee z8b S.W. Texas
November 20, 2018

At HEB yesterday I saw a Firebush "lime sizzler". It was very attractive in this cool weather, but I'm wondering how the variegated foliage will take Texas sun. Sometimes variegated foliage in the our hot landscape just looks chlorotic to me. Has anybody here grown it? What's your opinion?

I have a spot where I'd like a sun loving yellow flowered plant. Maybe a yellow lantana would be better. Any suggestions on variety?

Comments (6)
  • Vulture61

    I tried to grow it twice. It didn't like my caliche soil. They tried to make it but they died after few months. Winter was their death kiss.

    Omar

    roselee z8b S.W. Texas thanked Vulture61
  • roselee z8b S.W. Texas

    Okay Omar, thanks! Now I know to cross that one off the list!

    I found an old post by Bossy that said her's reverted from the attractive two tone variegated leaf to plain yellowish green after it came back from a freeze. She's in the Houston area.

    Any recommendations for a yellow or orange variety of Lantana, or another low growing yellow?

  • Vulture61

    Ragna, who knows? Maybe it would grow in your garden. I do not think your soil is as alkaline as mine...

    I have tons of seeds of orange Lantana horrida if you want. I would offer plants but since I have several colors of it, I would not know the color of it. I like lantanas. It doesn't need a lot of water, it blooms several times a year and mockingbirds love their berries. Yes, it selfseeds generously, but the volunteers are easy to yank out when they are young. I see plants here and there in the wild here in Kyle, but not extensive areas covered by it. Let me know.

    How about Zexmenia? Drought tolerant, beautiful, it blooms several times a year and it is not invasive.

    I also like threadleaf Coreopsis but it is kinda elusive. It volunteers in the weirdest places (among the grass, concrete crevices, etc) but it doesn't transplant well. Solitaire plants don't look as good as a group of them. If you get to grow a group of them, they would look good and bloom many times during the year.

    I also like the trailing lantana (L. montevidensis) but it only blooms twice a year. Maybe you could plant the 3 plants together (L. horrida, Zexmenia and L. montevidensis) since Zexmenia and L. montevidensis don't mind growing in light shade? I f you think that would be too much yellow, you could add some purple L. montevidensis to the combo. Just an idea.

    Omar

    roselee z8b S.W. Texas thanked Vulture61
  • roselee z8b S.W. Texas

    Omar, thank you for all those wonderful suggestions. Gives me lots of options to think about.

  • sabalmatt_tejas

    I tried two ‘lime sizzler’ plants last year- one didn’t come back this past spring and the other barely came back and then died in early July. The regular firebush grew just fine.

    roselee z8b S.W. Texas thanked sabalmatt_tejas
  • bostedo

    'New gold' lantana is a nice repeating bloomer. There are several plantings doing well around us on the north side of Dallas, though seem to take a year or three of pampering to become root hardy this far north.... even then probably marginal where exposed at our coldest. It's one of the "mostly" sterile cultivars, so less invasive.

    If ours do freeze, will replace with Zexmenia which is reliable for us where getting partial to full sun in other parts of the lot. Just takes a bit more trimming and weeding than the lantana to keep the growth and volunteers in bounds..... but not bad.

    Our native Baptisia australis is doing well in our clay in spite of my transplant abuse. You could consider trying a yellow hybrid like 'Lemon Meringue'- but don't know if they are as robust.

    Jerusalem sage or related hybrids are xeric yellow-flower options for sun. Our young 'Edward Bowles' has not bloomed yet in the 2 or 3 years we've raised it from pots into the ground, but would still find a place for it just for the foliage.

    Believe there is some rustic spot suitable for at least one cutleaf daisy (Engelmannia peristenia) in most Texas yards. Survives on rain and blooms from late spring through much of the summer. What I especially like is that it keeps a large rosette throughout the year which provides a dash of green in the naked spots where Zexmenia, lantana, and others have disappeared for the winter.

    Edit - like coreopsis Omar mentioned earlier, too. The double flowered cultivar 'Sunray' is a favorite, but not as enduring as the species plants.

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