Fuchsia heath (Epacris longiflora)
Photo - Linda Ross
If you go for a bushwalk this weekend (weather permitting) in one of the coastal National Parks around Sydney & Central Coast, chances are you will see one of these.
The Blue Mountains member of the family E. pulchella can be spotted now on bushwalks along creeks within the Blue Mountains National Park.
Native Fuchsia is a fairly straggly looking shrub, growing to the modest height of 1m. Its small, hard, pointy leaves run up and down the stems, similar to Westringia. This unassuming plant goes unnoticed until it bursts into flower, producing masses of tubular red blooms with white lips throughout the year, although the peak time is June-October.
Epacris longiflora thrives on the sandstone topography of the Sydney basin and loves growing in coastal areas where you can guarantee wind protection.
In fact we thinks it even more tolerant than that - in Linda's coastal garden it thrives in rich chocolate soil, 100m from the beach. When it’s happy it flowers most of the year, Flowers are pendulous red tubes, tipped with white. Each arching stem can carry up to 100 flowers. Epacris prefers light shade and damp soil and attracts small honeyeaters such as eastern spinebills.
Prefers a well drained, slightly sandy soil but will respond badly to extremely dry periods. Can handle full sun but prefers to have a bit of shade. Use only native fertilisers and give a light prune after each flowering period.
Native Fuchsia can often be found hanging over rocks in the wild, so it makes a great addition to native rockery gardens. This interesting native looks excellent when planted on mass with Correas.
Gently weed around plants as they do not like the extra humidity and moisture of weeds growing around their base.