How would like gorgeous red, tubular flowers blooming at Christmas time and lasting past Valentine’s Day, all packaged up in an attractive, low-maintenance shrub? Believe it or not, such a shrub exists. Let me introduce you to ‘Valentine Bush‘ (Eremophila maculata ‘Valentine’).
My first experience with this colorful shrub occurred in 2000 when I was offered two free Valentine shrubs to test out on the golf course where I was working. Never one to pass up free plants, I was more than happy to try these new shrubs out.
Nowadays, you will find Valentine in both commercial and residential landscapes. An interesting fact that many may not know is that many of the arid-adapted plants that thrive here are native to Australia, including the species Eremophila.
USES: Valentine provides much need color in the landscape during the winter months and will bloom through early spring. Red is often a color missing in the desert plant color palette which this shrub provides. Valentine grows at a moderate rate and will reach a mature size of 3-4 feet high and 4 feet wide.
I pair it with groundcovers such as blackfoot daisy (Melampodium leucanthum) or trailing rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), and perennials such as Parry’s penstemon (Penstemon parryi) and desert marigold (Baileya multiradiata).
You will probably not believe this, especially coming from me – the person who rants and raves about beautiful shrubs that have been incorrectly pruned by being sheared, but here it is: Valentine shrubs should be sheared. That’s right, I said they should be sheared.
Believe it or not, there are some types of shrubs where shearing is the best way to prune them, and this is true for Valentine. They should be pruned ONCE a year, once they have finished blooming in the spring. DO NOT prune later in the year as this will remove the branches that will produce the flowers later in the year.