Occasionally, you are brought up in your stride by the sight of a breathtaking, but unknown plant. One unusual tree, which certainly has the power to do this, is Embothrium coccineum. Commonly known as the Chilean Flame Bush, it seems to be alight with orange-red, flame-coloured flowers when in bloom.
The flowers are clusters of long tubes, which makes them show up all the more. A tree covered with flowers can give the impression that the branches are writhing flames. The leaves are a leathery dark green, which offsets the red flowers very well.
There is a problem in that the tree is not totally hardy, so it does best in mild areas near the coast, where winters are less severe. However, it is still worth trying to grow in sheltered positions further inland.
The best time for planting an Embothrium Coccineum is in the spring to give it a chance to become established before having to face a winter. In areas of milder climate, it can be planted any time between autumn and spring.
Keep the tree watered until it has become established and never allow the soil around it to dry out completely. No training or pruning is necessary, apart from removing any damaged or dead branches.
This is a tree for a sunny position, although it will appreciate the protection of other trees around it. Despite coming from the border between Chile and Argentina, it is not totally hardy and should be given a sheltered position. Plant in deep, loamy, not too rich, well-drained soil and avoid animal manure.
The Chilean Flame Bush can grow to a height of 50ft (16m) and spread around 20ft (6m).
Plants are usually raised from seed. Although the plants often sucker, they rarely transplant successfully.