Native Garden

Ernest Righetti High School


California Fuchsia - Epilobium 'Bowman's #1

Category: Perennial
Family: Onagraceae (Evening-primroses)
Origin: California (USA)
Flower Color: Orange Red
Bloomtime: Summer/Fall

Epilobium (Zauschneria) 'Bowman's #1' (Bowman's California Fuchsia) - An upright herbaceous perennial/subshrub to 2 feet tall by equal width with narrow olive-green foliage and bright red-orange flared tubular flowers from early summer until first frost. Best in full sun in a well-drained soil and, while drought tolerant, looks best with occasional to infrequent irrigation in summer but only if soil drains well. In heavier soils that don't drain well be careful not to overwater as these plants do not like wet heavy soil in summer – better not water them at all in these conditions. Hardy to 5-10° F. There are two Bowman cultivars with #1, an upright plant, being particularly attractive to hummingbirds and Bowman #2 being a prostrate plant. They were both selected by legendary plantsman Ed Carman in the San Jose garden of Bob Bowman's parents. Bob Bowman, who actively hybridized other California Fuchsia at UC Davis, speculated that these selections were hybrids between a Zauschneria septentrionalis from along the Trinity River and a Zauschneria cana from south of Big Sur. This plant was one of the highest rated California Fuchsia in Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden's "Horticultural Trials for California Epilobium". We were fortunate to have participated in this trial that rated 30 named cultivars and 2 unnamed clones through 2 seasons of growth from 2003 to 2004 and resulted in a report entitled "Horticultural Trials for California Epilobium" published in October 2005. As with others of its kind this plant is brittle and breaks easily so use care in its placement. The name Epilobium is considered current but this group of sub-shrubs used to be called Zauschneria and are so different from the other Epilobium, herbaceous plants often called Fireweeds, that many California native plant enthusiast and even the experts often still refer to them as Zauschneria. This former name was given the genus by the Czechoslovakian naturalist Karel (Charles) Borivoj Presl in 1831 to honor his fellow Czech, Johann Baptista Josef Zauschner (1737–1799), a professor of medicine and amateur botanist. The name Epilobium comes from the Greek word 'epi' meaning "upon" and 'lobium' meaning "a pod" in reference to the flowers being superior, meaning that they sit above the developing seed capsules.  This description is based on our research and observations made of this plant as it grows in our nursery, in the nursery garden and in other gardens that we have visited. We will also incorporate comments received from others and always appreciate getting feedback of any kind from those who have some additional information about this plant, in particular if this information is contrary to what we have written or if they have additional cultural tips that would aid others in growing Epilobium (Zauschneria) 'Bowman's #1'.

San Marcos GROWERS

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