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Pseudomiltemia filisepala - "Yellow Fuchsia" (Omiltemia)

You probably don't know anyone who has Pseudomiltemia filisepala.  Nicknamed the "Yellow Fuchsia", this rare shrub is not a Fuchsia, but rather a relative of Gardenias and coffee (Rubiaceae family).  It is a highly attractive shrub from mountain cloud forests of southern Mexico, where it is rare.  It blooms mostly in winter & spring, with Fuchsia-like blossoms that are fuzzy and dangle gracefully from beneath the leaves.  The plant comes from a relatively cool climate and is untested in hot conditions.  It is very rare in cultivation, and almost never seen for sale.

Pseudomiltemia filisepala - "Yellow Fuchsia" (Omiltemia)

Pseudomiltemia (recently changed from Omiltemia) is closely related to my Deppea splendens.  It is an upright, evergreen bush that grows 6 to 8 feet tall here in San Francisco, although you can prune it to any size you need.  Even without blooms it's an attractive plant, with glossy, ribbed leaves that grow in whorls of 3.  The yellow blossoms are about 2 inches long, and sometimes have a reddish flush, as you can see above.  The heaviest show of flowers is in spring, but blooms can appear other times of the year too.

It happens to grow well in conditions favored by typical Fuchsias - mild temperatures with cool nights.  I don't know anyone growing it in a warm climate, but i suspect it might not be happy if temperatures regularly climb above 85 F (29C) and nights are warm (above 65F / 18C).  I don't think it can handle more than a brief frost.  It's best to protect it from freezing temperatures.  It enjoys part shade, and probably will need protection from strong afternoon sun.  It grows well in a pot in a standard, well-draining soil mix that is kept evenly moist, but not soggy.  Over about 40-45% humidity is best for this cloud forest plant.  In the right conditions, it is easy to grow.

 

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