Orange Carpet Hummingbird Trumpet
This plant is related to Fuchsia as is evident in the trumpet shape of the flower and the attraction of hummingbirds to the plant. Orange Carpet is covered with a mass of small orange flowers for three plus weeks in July and sporadically through September. Most evaluators reported decreased flowering in each year of the three-year cycle with more foliage than flower by the third year.
Foliage interest – color/texture
Orange Carpet is fine-textured with tiny, grey-green leaves. Foliage is pubescent with slight textural twisting of the leaves. No fall color. Plant decline over three year trial presented as a gradual decline in foliage quality. Foliage was healthy the entire first season; slight browning on the edges coincided with flowering in July of the second year, and leaves were so browned out in the third year plants were cut back.
Habit and growth rate observations
Orange Carpet is a mounding plant with arching or relaxed stems typically growing 8 to 12 inches tall by 14 to 18 inches wide. Often described as a groundcover, it can also grow more upright and resemble a small shrub. The full habit and cascading nature makes it useful over a rock wall until mid-season when the dull, brown foliage and sprawling habit takes over.
Site preference – soil & light
Native to the western United States, Orange Carpet Hummingbird Trumpet prefers average, well-drained soils in full to part sun.
Successes and possible drawbacks – how to overcome them
Hot orange color is attractive against grey-green foliage and attracts hummingbirds. Poor mid-season foliage quality and sprawling habit detracts from overall success. An early summer pruning may alleviate the floppy habit, and cutting the plant to the ground after flowering helps with the unsightly foliage.
Notes from growers/retailers
Growers reported that this is an easy plant to grow though flower production was lower than expected.
This plant looks especially good planted with blue-toned foliage to complement the orange flowers. It pairs well with Juniperus squamata ‘Blue Star’.
Parting SHOT – the overall evaluation results were Fair**
Some evaluators recommended it for the home garden and described it as a fun plant for a hot, dry to average spot in the garden. Others felt it was a huge disappointment and could not wait to take it out of the garden once the evaluation period was over.