Hot new firecracker for your hummingbird celebrations

There was a new firecracker in town for the long Fourth of July celebration weekend, and The Garden Guy couldn’t be happier. It’s not the kind of firecracker to make noise (other than the sounds of hummingbird’s wings rushing in to feed). It’s not just for July Fourth, either, but the entire summer, too! The plant I am referring to is Estrellita Little Star, Proven Winners’ new Bouvardia, or firecracker bush.

Bouvardia is in the Rubiaceae family with other great firecrackers like the Manettia cordifolia, or firecracker vine, which is also incredible, but I have never seen it for sale. Bouvardia is related to ixora, firebush and Crossandra, which is also a firecracker flower. The Rubiaceae family also has coffee and the gardenia (I would like to visit with a taxonomist on that one).

Estrellita Little Star gets about 2 feet tall and as wide. The flowers will shock you with their glowing red/orange color that does seem to be nature’s version of a floral explosion. The flowers mature to a hot coral pink. The flower clusters just keep coming without deadheading or any exuberant maintenance on your part.

People are also reading…

I expect that most garden centers east of Texas don’t know the name Bouvardia, either, so it may take a little searching and possibly mail ordering to get the new plant. My biggest hope will be that everyone will give this plant a chance and learn to use it.

Estrellita Little Star is deciduous and cold-hardy in zones 8a to 10b. I expect it will most likely return from the ground in zone 8a like a lot of other flowers and shrubs do, such as Vermillionaire cuphea, Hamelia (firebush) and even Double Play Candy Corn spirea after it is cut back.

You will want to space yours 18 to 24 inches apart. It will need a good amount of sun and well-drained soil. I have shortchanged the sunlight a little at my house and will need to make a few pruning adjustments on a tree form Austin Pretty Limits oleander up above. But even with that I am deliriously happy about the blooms. I am also happy that although deer have eaten plants 10 feet away, the Estrellita Little Star has been left alone.

My combination has been totally wonderful (other than how I need to work in a little more sunlight). Around my tree form oleander, I have two Luscious Citrus Blend lantanas, three Colorblaze Lime Time coleus informally in the background and three ColorBlaze Torchlight coleus between the Estrellita Little Star Bouvardia. To be honest, I could never have guessed how the colors of the ColorBlaze Torchlight would have interacted with the vibrant red/orange of the Estrellita Little Star.

Let the fireworks recommence as soon as you can get your hands on our little star, Estrellita Little Star Bouvardia. The hummingbirds will thank you!

Follow Norman Winter on Facebook @NormanWinterTheGardenGuy.