Indigenous to the arid wilds along rocky slopes and desert washes, the Chuparosa is a native plant of southern Arizona. Technically known as Justica californica, here you find great architectural beauty for low maintenance Phoenix and Scottsdale landscaping.
The common name, Chuparosa, is Spanish for hummingbird and they are instantly drawn to the tubular red blooms as soon as flowering begins in May. The color show continues until fall, giving you great interest alone and heightened by the continual presence of hummingbirds throughout the spring and summer seasons.
Most of the year, Justica is leafless, making it very open, airy and architectural in form. Even in full foliage in early spring, the plant is never dense. It will mature to 5-6 feet high and up to 12 feet wide over time.
Thanks to its native chosen environment in the wild, well chosen placement in the planting areas of your Arizona yard that have good drainage will no doubt be much to the delight of the Chuparosa. It is wise to remember that even desert natives that are purchased from a nursery will need watering attention during the acclimation period that always takes place for the first year planted in your ground soil.
As with all plants in a well maintained landscape, even xeriscape plants will be far more of an asset to your home under periodic watering. This is best achieved with deep root drip irrigation that allows every bit of precious fresh water to be used by the plant and not lost to evaporation or draining beyond the root zone.
Full sun is the best exposure for optimum flowering with Justica californica, though it tolerates light shade. It’s marvelously heat tolerant throughout our summers, and even thrives in reflected heat from pavements. There’s not much concern about winter hardiness as the plants are evergreen to 20° F. Should temperatures dip below that point, the portions of the Chuparosa above the soil line will die. Not to worry though, as your xeriscaping hummingbird magnet will quickly restore it’s growth again once the weather warms again.
To get optimum growth and vigor, plan on fertilizing and pruning in late winter. The overall natural shape of the Chuparosa is somewhat rounded, though loosely structured. It is best planted in sandy soil with only one watering a week from mid-spring through fall. In winter, as with many plants used in Phoenix or Scottsdale xeriscaping landscaping, less moisture is necessary.