Plant of the Month: Chuparosa (Justicia Californica)

Plant of the Month: Chuparosa (Justicia Californica)

Native to the desert of southern California, Arizona, and northern Mexico, Chuparosa (Justicia Californica) is a semi-evergreen or deciduous shrub with arching branches clad with sparse gray-green, succulent leaves. It is summer deciduous, but will retain most of its foliage if irrigated.

In the spring and throughout the year with ample water, a profusion of bright to deep red tubular flowers (sometimes yellow) occur in short, axillary, racemes. Resembling firecrackers, the flowers, 1.5 inches long, are rich in nectar and particularly attractive to hummingbirds.

Chuparosa makes an excellent landscape plant. It is a must for hummingbird gardens and an excellent accent shrub for desert gardens. It may freeze to the ground in colder locations, but it usually grows back. It grows up to 3-4 feet tall and wide. The ultimate size depends on the amounts of supplemental water provided. A full sun lover, this plant is best grown in sandy, dry, dry/rocky soils. It is drought tolerant once established. It’s ideal for hedges, hummingbird gardens, bird gardens, bee gardens and desert gardens. It propagates by seed, and will self-seed in a desert garden, and is generally pest and disease free.

Check out this video on the Chuparosa from Koby’s Garden Alchemy:

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