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Info Sheet PDF

Justicia californica

Mature Height*: 

6 to 10 ft

Mature Width*: 

6 to 10 ft

USDA Hardiness Zone Range:

8 to 9

Hardy to: 


Water Requirements: 

Drought Tolerant

Shade Requirements:

Full Sun

Native to:

Arizona, California, and Mexico

Origin and Adaptability:

Discover the enchanting Justicia californica, commonly known as Chuparosa, Hummingbird Bush, or Beloperone a native gem of the American Southwest and northern Mexico. This resilient plant is perfectly adapted to thrive in hot, arid climates, making it an excellent choice for xeriscaped gardens, desert landscapes, and water-wise designs. Thriving in well-draining soil and full sun, this plant is a great choice for sunny spots in the garden.

Architectural Form and Foliage:

Justicia californica boasts an elegant architectural form, featuring slender stems adorned with small, glossy green leaves that provide a delicate backdrop for its vibrant floral display. The foliage remains evergreen in warmer climates, offering year-round interest and texture to the landscape. Its graceful, arching growth habit and tall height make it an ideal choice for the back of borders, in mass plantings, or as a standalone specimen.

Floral Display and Growth Speed:

In spring and throughout the summer months, Chuparosa bursts into bloom with an abundance of tubular, red-orange flowers that irresistibly attract hummingbirds, giving rise to its common name. These striking blossoms create a spectacle of color in the garden and can persist for several weeks, providing a reliable source of nectar for pollinators. With its moderate growth rate, this resilient shrub gradually expands, filling in gaps and adding vibrancy to the landscape.

Light and Water Requirements:

Chuparosa thrives in full sun to partial shade, although it tends to produce more flowers when grown in brighter light. It is drought-tolerant once established, requiring minimal irrigation. However, regular watering during the establishment period and occasional deep watering during prolonged dry spells can promote optimal growth and flowering. It is essential to avoid overwatering, as it can lead to root rot and other moisture-related issues.

Wildlife and Pollinators:

The vibrant flowers of Chuparosa are a magnet for hummingbirds, earning it the nickname "Hummingbird Bush." Additionally, its nectar-rich blooms attract butterflies, bees, and other pollinators, contributing to the overall biodiversity of the garden. Its dense foliage provides shelter and nesting sites for birds and other wildlife, enhancing the ecological value of the landscape.

Cultural Significance and Edibility:

In addition to its ecological importance, Chuparosa holds cultural significance in its native region, where it has been traditionally valued for its medicinal properties. While not commonly used for culinary purposes, various parts of the plant have been used in traditional medicine to treat a range of ailments, including respiratory conditions and skin irritations.

Challenges and Considerations:

Chuparosa is relatively low-maintenance but may benefit from occasional pruning to maintain its shape and encourage bushier growth. It is generally pest and disease-resistant, although proper watering and drainage are essential to prevent issues such as root rot. In colder climates, it may require protection from frost or freezing temperatures.

Integration into Landscape Designs:

With its striking flowers, graceful form, and adaptability to various growing conditions, Chuparosa is a versatile choice for landscape designs. Landscape architects and designers can use it as a focal point in mixed borders, as a colorful hedge or screen, or as a charming addition to wildlife-friendly gardens. Its ability to attract hummingbirds and other pollinators, coupled with its cultural significance, makes it a valuable asset in creating vibrant and sustainable outdoor spaces.

*Height and width estimated for growth in the Tucson, AZ area. True sizes may vary.

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