in Tucson, Phoenix,
Arizona and California

Gardening in Tucson, Phoenix, Arizona and California

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Justicia spicigera: Mohintli / Mexican honeysuckle

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Form: A shrub with herbaceous stems that become woody from the bottom up with age.
Leaf retention: Evergreen but dies to the ground in hard freezes.
Growth rate: Moderate.
Mature Size: 3' high and 4' wide.
Flowers: Bright orange, narrowly tubular, lower lip curled back tightly, 1-1/2" long.
Bloom: Mid-winter to mid-fall in regions without freezes.
Fruit: Not significant.
Leaves: Green, velvety surface, oval with pointed tip, to 3" long.
Stems: No thorns, soft.
Wildlife: Attracts hummingbirds and butterflies. Caterpillar food plant for the Texan Crescent butterfly. Deer resistant.
Toxic / Danger: No.
Origin: Mexico, Central America.

Cultivation and Uses
USDA hardiness zones: 8-11. Damaged at 25°F.
Heat tolerant: Yes.
Drought tolerant: Yes.
Sun: Full sun to light shade. Too much shade reduces blooms and causes the plant to become leggy.
Water after becoming established: Once or twice a month. Although not needed for survival, weekly watering in hot, dry seasons of the year improves its appearance and blooming.
Soil: Well drained, tolerant, pH 6.6-8.5 (neutral to alkaline).
Mulch: No.
Planting: Can be grown in large containers.
First Year Care: Water lightly every day to establish an extensive root system. Yellow leaves can indicate either over-watering or under-watering.
Prune: Remove frost-damaged parts when danger of frost is past. Remove older, woody stems. Trim to a more compact form if becoming leggy.
Litter: Low.
Propagation: Stem cuttings; layering (bending a stem over, burying its top in the ground, and fastening it down so that it will root).
Uses: Ornamental, hummingbird garden.

The butterfly in the picture is a Gulf Fritillary.

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Justicia spicigera: Mohintli / Mexican honeysuckle - flowers

Justicia spicigera: Mohintli / Mexican honeysuckle - with butterfly

Justicia spicigera: Mohintli / Mexican honeysuckle