Eremophila maculata v. brevifolia 'Valentine'
Flowering is in progress on my Emu 'Valentine' Bush. Normally, flowering starts in January, and it is in its full glory by Valentine's Day. By now, I'm used to early, late, and unexpected blooms on my plants. This year has been a strange year that way.
The tubular flowers of the Emu Bush are a draw for hummingbirds. Today I saw three hovering around my specimen. Eremophila is drought resistant, and doesn't take much supplemental water. This plant does not like constantly wet soil. It can take a full southern exposure here in Arizona. It is endemic to Australia, and it loves our desert climate.
There are over 200 Eremophila species and almost a thousand cultivars. Their forms, foliage and flowers vary tremendously, and the colors almost endless. 'Valentine' is one of the most popular cultivars in our region and is used extensively in public areas and along roadway medians, as well as in private gardens.This past January, we had unseasonably warm weather, followed by a sudden, rare three-day hard freeze. That seemed to throw plants into confusion; some had odd growth spurts, cacti bloomed early, late and more or less profusely than normal. The Emu Bush was untouched by the frost but had a late (and profuse) flowering period in February and March, and now, this early show of flowers.