Correa ‘Cardinal Bells’ is a compact shrub reaching a height of 1 metre with a similar spread.
It is reported to be a hybrid developed by Mole Station Native Nursery near Tenterfield. The exact parentage of the hybrid is unverified.
Correa spp. fall into the subgroup of Rutaceae that have simple and opposite leaves, along with 4-petaled flowers. In this cultivar, leaves are bright to dark green with very light-grey-green hairy undersides, up to 50 mm long by 15 mm wide.
Correa spp. often have mostly solitary flowers or up to 10 flowers arranged in cymes. In this cultivar, the eye-catching, large, tubular flowers are orange/red and appear in large numbers, to 40 mm long and 10 mm wide, in the leaf axils, in the cooler months.
This is a very nice and generally hardy plant. It is best planted in a semi-shaded spot with good drainage.
The occasional tip pruning will allow the plant to have denser foliage and a rounded shape with more flowers. The flowers bring a splash of colour to the garden in the cooler months.
Correa ‘Autumn Blaze’ is another cultivar from the same botanical stable. An interesting low-growing hedge could be created using alternate plants of C. ‘Autumn Blaze’ and C. ‘Cardinal Bells’. This would be an ideal hedge as the border for a path. Perhaps as a flowering replacement for the ubiquitous European box plants. It is also an excellent pot plant on a balcony or verandah.
Must be cultivated from cuttings to retain ‘true to type’ forms.
Authors’ notes: There is no information available on the parents of this attractive cultivar but by the shape of the leaves, we think that a form of C. pulchella played a part in its development.
As with all the Correas the flowers, of this cultivar, are rich in nectar consequently the blooms are a magnet for honeyeaters.
Correa is a genus of 11 species, endemic to Australia, in all states except the Northern Territory. NSW currently has 5 species.
Correa – named after Jose Correia de Serra (1750-1823), a Portugese abbot, scientist, politician and polymath who was friends with both Joseph Banks and Thomas Jefferson.
‘Cardinal Bells’ – likely named for the grand appearance of the tubular flowers.
Moree Champion article – New England Gardening – Going Native with pots https://www.moreechampion.com.au/story/5062619/native-look-at-potplants/
Farmgate Natives – Correa ‘Cardinal Bells’ sales page https://www.farmgatenatives.com.au/small-shrubs.html