Maybe. I can't decide. I saw Metrosideros collina 'Springfire' (aka as Ohia Lehua in Hawaii) on a recent shopping expedition with friends and backtracked to take a closer look at it. Would I have looked at it twice if it wasn't for those wonderful orange-red flowers? Possibly not, although there's nothing wrong with the gray-green foliage.
I DO still have a lot of space to fill in the front garden. It's drought tolerant. It's suited to my zone (USDA 10b, Sunset 23/24). It can handle placement in full to partial sun so it would work in the area alongside Leucadendron 'Wilson's Wonder' and provide that plant with a very nice color echo. The biggest issue is its projected size. Monrovia projects growth to 6-8 feet (1.8-2.4 m) tall and 3-4 feet wide, which is already pushing things a bit for the placement I envision, and, complicating matters, San Marcos Growers says that, left unpruned, it it can grow to 15-25 feet (4.5-7.6 m) tall and 6-8 feet wide, which is way too big.
But look at that flower:
Even the buds, which Flora Grubb's site describes as "kitten toes," are wonderful. Can I resist? Too bad Santa is already done with his shopping.
All material © 2012-2014 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party