in Tucson, Phoenix,
Arizona and California

Gardening in Tucson, Phoenix, Arizona and California

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Justicia californica: Beloperone / Chuparosa

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Form: A shrub with a casual, unkempt appearance.
Leaf retention: Drought-deciduous. May die to ground in freezing weather.
Growth rate: Moderate to fast depending on water.
Mature Size: 3-5' high and wide.
Flowers: Red, orange, or yellow, to 1.5" long, tubular, small flared upper lip, narrow three-lobed lower lip, edible.
Bloom: Winter into spring.
Fruit: Seed capsule.
Leaves: Green, ovate to heart-shaped, often dropped during drought.
Stems: No thorns. Blue-green, thick like a succulent, arching, sprawling. May get woody at bottom with age.
Roots: Spreads by rhizomes.
Wildlife: Attracts hummingbirds and birds.
Toxic / Danger: No.
Origin: California, Arizona, Mexico.

Cultivation and Uses
USDA hardiness zones: 8-10.
Heat tolerant: Yes.
Drought tolerant: Four to six weeks depending on extent of root system. Found in the wild next to dry washes.
Sun: Full sun to part shade.
Water once established: Once a month to weekly depending on appearance. Withstands temporary flooding.
Soil: Well drained, dry, pH 6.6-8.5 (neutral to alkaline).
First Year Care: Water every one or two days to establish extensive root system. Taper off water starting six weeks prior to first freeze date in fall. Do not irrigate in winter where freezing temperatures are possible.
Prune: After spring bloom, remove damaged or diseased stems and shape.
Litter: Low.
Propagation: Seed.
Uses: Ornamental, hummingbird garden. Flowers used in salads.

Another common name is Hummingbird Bush. Small birds bite off flowers and eat the nectar-filled bases.

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Justicia californica: Beloperone / Chuparosa - flower

Justicia californica: Beloperone / Chuparosa - flowers

Justicia californica: Beloperone / Chuparosa - with hummingbird

Justicia californica: Beloperone / Chuparosa