Scientific: Eremophila maculata 'Valentine'
Common: red emu bush, sometimes referred to as spotted emu bush
Family: Myoporaceae
Origin: Inland Australia

Pronounciation: Air-e-mo-FI-la VAL-en-tine

Hardiness zones
8, 9, 14-24
USDA 9-11 (arid and semi arid regions are best)

Landscape Use: Informal accent and/or hedge plant landscape medians, foundation, winter accent for dry landscapes, hummingbird gardens

Form & Character: This is a compact Eremophila cultivar that has a nice, rounded informal shape. Foliage is dull green in summer and a purpish grey during the winter, lovely tough, dependable.

Growth Habit: Evergreen woody perennial, slow to grow after transplanting into the landscape. Once established, a moderate growth rate to 4 to 6 feet in height with somewhat greater spread, sparsely canopied when young to full with age.

Foliage/Texture: Alternate leaf arrangement, lanceolate, small, light to gray green leaves to 1.5 inches, sessile; medium fine texture.

Flowers & Fruits: Axillary and tubular on short curved peduncle which holds 1 inch long flowers upright, profuse, reddish, attracts hummingbirds; fruits are small, rounded and inconspicuous.

Seasonal Color: Colorful flowers in late winter and early spring.

Temperature: Cold hardy to 23oF. In contrast, can be damaged by extreme late summer heat episodes if daily high temperatures exceed 115F for multiple days.

Light: Full sun to partial shade.

Soil: Extremely salt and alkaline tolerant, but needs good drainage.

Watering: Tolerates some aridity. Moderate supplemental water needs in Phoenix during summer months.

Pruning: Red emu bush responds well to light shearing after flowering in early May as needed; mostly just leave it alone and control growth rate by regulating the amounts of supplemental water given throughout the year.

Propagation: Stem cuttings

Disease and pests: In Phoenix, fungal root rot can cause sudden plant failure during summer if soil is not well drained and if plants are regularly irrigated.

Additional comments: Eremophila is a genus with many salt tolerant species that have great landscaping potential in the Phoenix area. Eremophila maculata 'Valentine' or red emu bush is a wonderful, naturally-shapely, nice, medium-sized landscape shrub for transition areas within oasis design themes or tough landscape spots. It does most of it's growing in late summer and fall. Though it might look sparse when first planted, it fills out nicely within one year.

'Horticultural clods', those unsavvy, misguided persons with gas-powered hedge trimmers in hand but who lack any real horticultural knowledge, just love to shear this plant too (Hey, in reality they love to shear all plants)......Perhaps it's their way of reconnecting with their youth and fond memories of devouring grandma's yummy Valentine Day cupcakes.

A special note for all the Hort Clods: There's no horticulturally rational reason to shear this shrub into oblivion!