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Correa (Correa species)

Correa are commonly called the native fuchsias. This is a reference to the bell-like, tubular flower that hangs like an exotic fuchsia bloom. The greatest natural diversity occurs in south Australia. They are also endemic to Tasmania, Victoria and New South Wales

The nectar-filled flowers attract birds, bees and other insects and some species have scented foliage.

Blooms are prolific throughout the cooler months of the year, but in ideal conditions some selections flower almost year-round. Flowers come in white, green, pink, red, burgundy, orange and bicoloured forms with contrasting petal tips.

Shade and good drainage provide ideal growing conditions. Growth habits vary from small, mounded plants through to large, multi-branched shrubs. In low growing selections the width of plants typically exceeds their height.

There are many varieties of correas. Check with staff at your local hardware or garden centre to find a correa that will thrive in your region. Some to consider are:

  • Groundcovers and low shrubs to 1m high Correa pulchella, Just A Touch, Dusky Bells, Pink Pantha, Canberra Bells, Adorabell, Anabell, Jezabell, Peter Sutton, Catie Bec.
  • Multi-branched shrubs up to 2m high Correa reflexa, Correa alba, Federation Belle, Vanilla Ice, Dinner Bells.

Growing conditions

Climate Correa are intolerant of high humidity, so planting is best limited to temperate and Mediterranean regions. Once established they tolerate dry conditions and coastal exposure and are ideal for understorey planting in these situations. They cope with cold and light frost. Unfortunately, gardeners in the tropics and subtropics do not have long term success with Correa.

Aspect Correa are ideal for gardeners who battle with shade. Some species like Correa pulchella and Correa alba tolerate full sun, but semi-shade is preferred by other selections. Small growing cultivars are ideal for pots and courtyards. In more established gardens you can use them to fill in shady gaps where other plants might struggle to survive.

Soil Good drainage is essential, but other than that, they are undemanding. Correa tolerate a wide range of soil pH levels and nutrient poor soil. They are waterwise once established, tolerating sandy soil and coastal planting. Like all plants however, growth and flowering are enhanced by improving the soil prior to planting. Incorporate your own home-made compost, and/or Seasol Garden Soil or Seasol Super Compost into the soil prior to planting.

General Care

Watering Young plants require regular watering until they are well-established. Also, a regular application of Seasol will help reduce transplant shock and aid plant establishment. Mulch to control weeds and conserve soil moisture. Where the soil is moisture repellent, apply Seasol Super Soil Wetter & Conditioner. Once established correa are drought tolerant in all, but very extended dry periods.

Feeding and mulching You can boost growth of young plants with liquid PowerFeed All Purpose including Natives or PowerFeed PRO SERIES Plant Food All Purpose including Natives. Once established, correa benefit from seasonal application of a granular fertilizer during the year. Apply Powerfeed with Troforte Plant Food All Purpose including Natives during the growing season and after pruning. Mulch plants with a coarse mulch to keep the roots cool, suppress competing weeds and retain soil moisture when it is dry.

Pruning Tip prune young plants during the first few months of growth to encourage branching and a dense habit. Lightly prune back after flowering or at other times as required to maintain plant shape. Some gardeners trim taller growing plants into hedges.

Watch for Correa are largely pest and disease free, but occasionally suffer from scale infestation. Two to three applications of EarthCare Enviro Pest Oil insect spray applied at fortnightly intervals to control outbreaks.