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Now In Bloom

The vibrant Valentine emu bush (Eremophila maculata, ‘Valentine’) presents an abundance of showy blossoms January through March.; Photo courtesy Civano Growers

By John Roark

“I consider this dense, evergreen shrub to be one of those ‘bomb-proof’ landscape choices thanks to both its heat tolerance and the way it stands up to colder temperatures,” says landscape architect Mary Estes. From January through March, the Valentine emu (Eremophila maculata ‘Valentine’) is ablaze in red flower buds that open to form brilliant hot-pink blossoms. The dark olive-green leaves develop an attractive reddish hue in the winter.

While many gardeners choose to shear Valentine emu to shape in late spring after the shrub’s flowering period has ended, Estes prefers its natural spiky form. As such, she advises planting it in a sunny location with enough room for it to achieve its full growth potential. “When planning your garden, consider that the Valentine emu is a fantastic complement to desert spoon (Dasylirion wheeleri) or other gray-green-leafed shrub varieties,” she notes.

For more information, see Sources.

For more tailored gardens, the Valentine emu bush can be sheared to shape, but its natural form makes it suitable for desert landscapes as well.


TYPE: Shrub
SIZE: 5’H by 5’W
BLOOMS: Red to hot pink tubular flowers, winter to early spring
WATER NEEDS: Low to moderate
ELEVATION: Low and medium
ATTRACTS: Hummingbirds
SOIL: Well-drained
LIGHT: Full sun


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