Phygelius 'Blaphy' NEW SENSATION

Common Name: Cape fuchsia 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Scrophulariaceae
Zone: 8 to 10
Height: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Spread: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Bloom Time: June to September
Bloom Description: Reddish-purple
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Annual
Flower: Showy


Where winter hardy, this plant is best grown in moist, organically rich, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Deadhead spent flowers to prolong bloom. This is a suckering subshrub that will spread in optimum growing conditions if not restrained. Low-growing branches may root where they touch the ground. This hybrid basically behaves like an evergreen to semi-evergreen sub-shrub in mild climates (Zones 8-9), an herbaceous perennial in cooler climates (Zone 7), or an annual in cold climates (north of Zone 7). It may survive some mild winters in the St. Louis area (Zone 6), but should be sited in a protected location and mulched. Geographically, it grows best in Mediterranean-like climates on the West Coast. It typically grows poorly in the deep South where it greatly dislikes the hot and humid summer conditions.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Phygelius is a genus of woody-based sub-shrubs consisting of two species, namely P. aequalis (long tubular flowers hanging from one side of the stem) and P. capensis (long tubular flowers evenly spaced around the stem), both of which are native to South Africa. When these two species are crossed, the resulting hybrid cultivar is often but not always designated as x rectus. Of the various hybrids for sale in commerce today, the parentage is likely to be a cross of the two species, or a cross of one species with an existing hybrid or a hybrid mutation. Hybrids in general typically grow to 2-3’ tall and feature a long summer to fall bloom of pendant tubular flowers in terminal spikes.

Genus name probably comes from the Greek word phyge meaning flight or avoidance "in consequence of its having so long escaped the research of botanists", according to W.J. Hooker (1855).

‘Blaphy’, commonly sold under the trade name of NEW SENSATION, is a shrubby, woody-based perennial that will grow to 2-3’ tall. It is particularly noted for its upright habit, burgundy stems and reddish-purple flowers which encircle the stems rather than hang from only one side. Phygelius capensis was crossed with Phygelius aequalis ‘Sensation’ resulting in a P. x rectus hybrid which became the female parent of a subsequent cross with P. aequalis ‘Sensation’ as the male parent. ‘Blaphy’ was chosen from the resulting seedlings. ‘Blaphy’ features opposite, simple, ovate to ovate lanceolate, soft green leaves (to 3” long) with serrate margins. Pendant, tubular, rose-purple flowers (each to 5/8” long) appear in pyramidal panicles. Flowers bloom from late spring to fall (June – September). U.S. Plant Patent PP13,464 was issued on January 7, 2003.

The NEW SENSATION trade name is based upon the fact that this plant is an improvement on the original P. aequalis ‘Sensation’ cultivar which is a parent.


No known serious insect or disease problems.


Sunny borders. Containers.