Friday, February 12, 2010

Plant profile: Cestrum fasciculatum

Closeup of the flowers
When we moved into our new house the previous owner left a potted plant behind. We had no idea what it was, but knowing the flowers were red, and disliking it’s constant need for watering (being potted is hard on both plant and owner) I moved it out to the garden. Still no idea what it was, despite asking around. Finally I recently stumbled upon it while browsing the web!

Latin name: Cestrum fasciculatum ("SES-trum fass-kik-yoo-LAH-tum")
Common name: Red Cestrum, Early Flowering Jessamine
Originally from: Mexico.
Blooms: Pretty much all the time. Flowers are deep red bunches of little tubes.
Light: Likes full sun to part shade
Water: Average.
Where to find in P. Garden: In the back of the red bed.

Nicely filled in.
It makes a gangly 10’ tall shrub, but to avoid excessive legginess one can prune all branches back to 4 to 6 buds. I didn’t know it would get this big but that’s OK. It’s a favorite of hummingbirds, but bees and butterflies like it too, and seems to flower all the time. Our specimen is looking a bit winter-ragged, but I'll update the photo later in the year so you can see it's progress. Update: new picture and it's looking much better!

UPDATE December 2015:
After 6 years in the ground and 4 years of drought, this plant grew to 10' tall but finally succumbed to the drought. It was pretty drought tolerant for a long time, but sadly it finally bit it.

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