Bassia scoparia

Bassia flowers

A bushy, leafy annual, grown for its ornamental features and fine bright green leaves that turn fiery bronze in autumn. A highly attractive foliage plant that brings height and shape to the annual border. Nicknamed firebush or burning bush due to the fiery colour of its autumn leaves.

Family: Amaranthaceae (Goose foot family)
Botanical Name: Bassia (Syn. Kochia)
Species: scoparia
Common Names: Summer Cypress, fire bush, burning bush

Foliage: Deciduous, small narrow pointed, branching, green leaves, that turn red/maroon in the autumn.

Flowers: Small green, insignificant flowers.

Soil: Moist but well-drained, fertile soil (chalk, clay, sand or loam). Any pH.

Conditions: Best in full sun, but will tollerate some shade. Plant in a north, east, west or south facing aspect.

Habit: Bushy neat, upright habit .

Type: Usually grown as half-hardy annual in UK.

Origin: Europe, Asia, Australia and Africa.

Hardiness: Hardy to Half-Hardy.

Planting and Growing Bassia

Easy to grow from seed. Grow in a warm, sunny position, in a fairly light and free-draining soil. Tollerates poor soils.

Makes a good temporary low hedge or edging and stands up well to trimming and clipping.

It can be planted singly or in small or large groups in flower beds and borders. Also useful in large containers.

Taking Care of Bassia

Stake in windy areas.

Pruning

No pruning required.

Pests and Diseases

Generally pest and disease free.

Propagating Bassia

Sow seed under glass in March. Pot-on and hardened off before planting out in May, once all risk of frost has past.

Alternatively, sow outside in April, then gradually thin to 2ft (60cm) apart once large enought to handle. The seedlings will also transplant readily.

Do not over-water young seedlings. Bassia will self seed freely if conditions are good.

Popular Varieties of Bassia

Bassia scoparia trichophylla (burning bush) has light green foliage that turns to a bronzy scarlet in autumn. Height to 3ft (90cm), spread 2ft (60cm). Interesting cultivars include:

  • 'Acapulco Silver' has light green leaves splashed with silver.
  • 'Childsii' is a more compact form that retains its fresh green colouring over the season.