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Phygelius - Growing Guide
Growing Phygelius x rectus
Commonly known as ‘Cape Fuchsia’
These are evergreen South African sub-shrubs which need a bit of care and attention to get them to perform regularly as well as they certainly can. They are popularly grown for their long panicles of showy tubular flowers with five recurved lobes when full out. The flowers start in mid summer and last long into autumn. Dead heading will increase the flowering period and avoid wasting energy on seeding.
In colder areas this plant needs to be treated like a herbaceous perennial and cut back from its 12-18in old growth to ground level to reshoot each spring. In milder counties you need to take a view on how the plant looks in spring as to whether a haircut is appropriate. In the greenhouse it is probably advisable to rejuvenate the plant by potting it on and cutting it back however healthy it looks in spring. Certainly this is how we treat our plants in the nursery. Phygelius are fine in pots for a year but seldom repeat a good display in their second year without a good trim.
In the garden a good mulch will help protect the plants from cold and wind chill. Even then the longevity of these plants is not that great so it is advisable to take cuttings each year and start these attractive plants off again. A mature clump will have side suckers and these can be carefully cut off and moved or grown on first in pots.
The variety you choose to grow is really down to a choice of flower colour. The habit of all the P. x rectus forms which we grow is very similar and they grow well together. The creamy yellow ‘Moonraker’ sits well beside the deep reddish pink of ‘Devils Tears’.
Pruning is the key to rejuvenate these attractive garden or greenhouse plants.