I am always on the lookout for new plants to the desert plant palette. Growers experiment with new varieties of more common plants in an attempt to find new colors, sizes, and more desirable characteristics.
This past fall, I was invited to visit Civano Nursery Farm, located in Sahuarita, 20 miles outside of Tucson. The main reason for the visit was to introduce me to their new Tecoma shrub hybrid called ‘Red Hot.’ This new plant is closely related to yellow and orange bells, which are both ones that I like to use when designing.
At the time of my visit, ‘Red Hot’ was not yet available to the public but was being grown throughout the Southwest as a test plant.
I met with Jackie Lyle, their Brand Development Manager, who plays an integral part in the introduction of new plants to the Southwest region.
Our tour began in the greenhouses where we explored their state-of-the-art automated systems and massive amounts of plants in all stages of growth. I was in heaven!
I have never worked in a nursery or for a grower, so it was fun to see how they propagate plants from cuttings.
While touring the greenhouses, I got my first view of ‘Red Hot’ Tecoma. Instantly, I could see why there is so much excitement about this new variety. The foliage has the characteristic color of most Tecomas, but the leaves were somewhat smaller than yellow bells and more compact.
The vibrant red blooms are simply stunning and sure to draw hummingbirds to drink the nectar from their flowers.
‘Civano Select’ are plants created by the grower, which have slightly different characteristics than the more common species that they are a welcome addition to the desert plant palette. I was thrilled to view several of their ‘Select’ plants during our tour.
As you can imagine, this is a bustling nursery, and there were shipments of plants headed out to job sites and other nurseries.
Whoever is getting these ‘Red Hot’ shrubs are in for a treat!
And, guess who came home with her own ‘Red Hot’ shrubs? Me!
I am honored to receive two of these new shrubs, so I can share with you how they do in my Phoenix area garden. They are doing very well along the south-facing side of my house underneath the window by my kitchen eating area where I see them every day.
Oh, and of course, I also brought home other plants – autumn sage (Salvia greggii), Mt. Lemmon marigold (Tagetes lemmonii), ‘Mr. Liko’ pink gaura (Gaura lindheimeri ‘Mr. Liko’). Getting free plants is like Christmas to this horticulturist!
The great news is that ‘Red Hot’ Tecoma is now available at many local nurseries.
Want to see if this is the right shrub for your garden? Here are the stats:
‘Red Hot’ Tecoma
Size: 4 feet tall and wide
Exposure: Full sun, reflected sun
Bloom Season: Spring through Fall
Cold Hardiness: 15 degrees
I will share the progress of my new ‘Red Hot’ shrubs and I encourage you to add this vibrant beauty to your garden!