Phygelius (Phygelius X Rectus ‘Devil’s Tears’)

Plant: Table of Contents

Phygelius (Phygelius x rectus ‘Devil’s Tears’)

In the world of horticulture, one can find an astounding variety of plants, each with its unique characteristics and uses. One such plant that has been gaining attention for its vibrant blooms and easy-to-care-for nature is the Phygelius x rectus ‘Devil’s Tears.’ Also known as devil’s tears, this beautiful hybrid plant has stolen the hearts of many gardeners and plant enthusiasts alike.

In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the intricacies of the Phygelius x rectus ‘Devil’s Tears,’ exploring its culture, uses, care requirements, diseases, pests, and much more. Whether you are a seasoned gardener or a beginner looking to add a pop of color to your garden, this guide will equip you with all the essential knowledge needed to cultivate and maintain this stunning plant.

Key Takeaways: Phygelius (Phygelius x rectus ‘Devil’s Tears’)

Before we embark on our journey of understanding the Phygelius x rectus ‘Devil’s Tears’ in detail, let’s take a quick look at the key takeaways:

  • Plant Name: Phygelius (Phygelius x rectus ‘Devil’s Tears’)
  • Synonyms: Devil’s Tears plant, Phygelius x rectus Devil’s Tears, Devil’s Tears hybrid
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Hardiness Zone: 7-10
  • Sunlight: Full sun to partial shade
  • Water Needs: Moderate
  • Soil Type: Well-draining, fertile soil
  • Flower Colors: Red, pink, yellow
  • Uses: Garden beds, borders, containers
  • Pruning: Regular deadheading to encourage continuous blooming
  • Propagation: Division or stem cuttings
  • Common Diseases: Powdery mildew, leaf spot
  • Common Pests: Aphids, spider mites
  • Special Features: Wildlife attractant, drought tolerant

Now that we have a glimpse of what the Phygelius x rectus ‘Devil’s Tears’ has to offer, let’s dive deeper into its world and uncover the nuances of its care, maintenance, and much more.

What is Phygelius (Phygelius x rectus ‘Devil’s Tears’)?

The Phygelius x rectus ‘Devil’s Tears’ is a striking perennial plant that belongs to the family Scrophulariaceae. Originating from South Africa, this hybrid plant is renowned for its elegant tubular flowers that come in shades of red, pink, and yellow. The name “Phygelius” is derived from the Greek word “phyge,” which means “flee,” referencing the fruits that are known to explosively disperse their seeds when ripe.

This hybrid cultivar, often referred to simply as “Devil’s Tears,” has garnered popularity for its prolific blooming nature and its ability to attract hummingbirds and butterflies, making it a desirable addition to wildlife gardens. With its compact growth habit and vibrant flower clusters, the Phygelius x rectus ‘Devil’s Tears’ has become a favorite choice for garden beds, borders, and container gardening.

Now, let’s explore the various aspects of cultivating and caring for this alluring plant, starting with its culture and uses.



The Phygelius x rectus ‘Devil’s Tears’ offers a myriad of uses in the garden, thanks to its attractive features and versatile nature. Here are some common uses of this captivating plant:

  • Garden Beds: The vibrant, tubular flowers of the Phygelius x rectus ‘Devil’s Tears’ make it a wonderful addition to garden beds, where it can be used to create visually appealing displays. Whether planted as a focal point or incorporated into mixed perennial borders, this plant adds a touch of elegance to any garden setting.

  • Container Gardening: Due to its compact growth habit, the Phygelius x rectus ‘Devil’s Tears’ thrives in containers, making it an ideal choice for patio gardens, balconies, and urban spaces. Its colorful blooms and lush foliage create a stunning contrast and can brighten up any outdoor area in need of a floral boost.

  • Wildlife Gardens: With its nectar-rich flowers, the Phygelius x rectus ‘Devil’s Tears’ acts as a magnet for pollinators, particularly hummingbirds and butterflies. By including this plant in wildlife-friendly gardens, enthusiasts can contribute to supporting local biodiversity and creating a thriving ecosystem within their outdoor spaces.

  • Cut Flowers: The long, tubular blooms of the Phygelius x rectus ‘Devil’s Tears’ make for striking cut flowers, adding a pop of color to floral arrangements. Whether used in bouquets or as single stems, the flowers of this plant can enhance indoor spaces with their vibrant hues and unique form.

Now that we have an understanding of the diverse uses of the Phygelius x rectus ‘Devil’s Tears,’ let’s delve into the specific care requirements needed to ensure the successful growth and flourishing of this enchanting plant.


Proper watering is essential for the health and vitality of the Phygelius x rectus ‘Devil’s Tears.’ While this plant is known to have moderate water needs, it’s important to provide consistent moisture, especially during the hot summer months. Here are some key points to consider when watering the Phygelius x rectus ‘Devil’s Tears’:

  • Establishment: During the initial establishment period after planting, the Phygelius x rectus ‘Devil’s Tears’ should be watered regularly to help it develop a strong root system. Adequate watering during this phase sets the foundation for the plant’s long-term health and growth.

  • Summer Watering: In regions experiencing hot and dry summers, it’s crucial to provide supplemental watering to the Phygelius x rectus ‘Devil’s Tears’ to prevent drought stress. A deep watering once or twice a week, depending on the local climate and soil conditions, can help keep the plant thriving.

  • Soil Moisture: While the Phygelius x rectus ‘Devil’s Tears’ prefers moist soil, it’s important to ensure that the planting site offers good drainage. Excessively wet or waterlogged soil can lead to root rot and other moisture-related issues, so be mindful of the soil’s moisture levels and adjust watering practices accordingly.

  • Mulching: Applying a layer of organic mulch around the base of the Phygelius x rectus ‘Devil’s Tears’ can help conserve soil moisture, regulate soil temperature, and reduce weed competition. Mulching also plays a role in minimizing water evaporation from the soil surface, thus supporting the plant’s hydration needs.

By paying attention to the watering requirements of the Phygelius x rectus ‘Devil’s Tears’ and providing adequate moisture, gardeners can promote healthy growth and abundant flowering throughout the growing season.


The Phygelius x rectus ‘Devil’s Tears’ thrives in locations that receive ample sunlight, making it an excellent choice for sunny garden spots or partially shaded areas. Understanding the plant’s sunlight preferences is crucial for optimizing its growth and ensuring the development of vibrant blooms. Here’s what to know about providing the right amount of sunlight for this captivating plant:

  • Full Sun: In regions with mild climates, the Phygelius x rectus ‘Devil’s Tears’ flourishes in full sun, defined as at least six to eight hours of direct sunlight per day. When planted in sunny locations, the plant benefits from increased flower production, sturdy stems, and overall robust growth.

  • Partial Shade: While the Phygelius x rectus ‘Devil’s Tears’ appreciates full sun, it also demonstrates good tolerance to partial shade. In hotter regions or during the peak of summer, providing light afternoon shade can help protect the plant from excessive heat and sun exposure, reducing the risk of stress and sunburn.

  • Sun Exposure: When selecting a planting site for the Phygelius x rectus ‘Devil’s Tears,’ it’s important to consider the intensity and duration of sunlight throughout the day. Assessing the sun exposure in different areas of the garden can help determine the most suitable location for accommodating the plant’s sunlight requirements.

  • Indoor Cultivation: For individuals interested in growing the Phygelius x rectus ‘Devil’s Tears’ indoors, it’s essential to provide bright, indirect light. Placing the plant near a south-facing window or under grow lights can help mimic ideal sunlight conditions and support its growth in indoor settings.

By ensuring that the Phygelius x rectus ‘Devil’s Tears’ receives the right balance of sunlight, whether outdoors or indoors, enthusiasts can witness the plant thriving and producing an abundance of charming flowers.


Fertilizing the Phygelius x rectus ‘Devil’s Tears’ plays a vital role in supplying essential nutrients for robust growth, flowering, and overall plant vigor. By choosing the right fertilization approach and timing, gardeners can support the long-term health and beauty of this captivating perennial. Here’s how to effectively fertilize the Phygelius x rectus ‘Devil’s Tears’:

  • Timing: The best time to apply fertilizer to the Phygelius x rectus ‘Devil’s Tears’ is in early spring, just as new growth begins to emerge. A slow-release balanced fertilizer can be incorporated into the soil or applied as a top-dressing around the base of the plant to provide a steady supply of nutrients throughout the growing season.

  • Annual Feeding: Providing an annual feeding in spring can help replenish the soil’s nutrient content and support the Phygelius x rectus ‘Devil’s Tears’ as it enters its active growth phase. Choosing a fertilizer with a balanced NPK ratio, such as 10-10-10 or 20-20-20, ensures that the plant receives adequate doses of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.

  • Organic Options: For gardeners preferring organic fertilization, compost, well-aged manure, or organic plant food blends can serve as effective alternatives. Organic fertilizers contribute to improving soil structure, enhancing microbial activity, and promoting long-term soil fertility while nourishing the Phygelius x rectus ‘Devil’s Tears.’

  • Avoid Overfeeding: It’s important to exercise caution when fertilizing the Phygelius x rectus ‘Devil’s Tears’ and refrain from overfeeding. Excessive fertilizer application can lead to nutrient imbalances, salt buildup in the soil, and potential damage to the plant’s delicate root system, so it’s crucial to follow recommended dosage rates and frequency.

By incorporating a well-balanced fertilizer regimen into the care routine of the Phygelius x rectus ‘Devil’s Tears,’ growers can ensure that the plant receives the necessary nutrients for robust growth, prolific flowering, and overall vitality.


The soil in which the Phygelius x rectus ‘Devil’s Tears’ is cultivated plays a significant role in influencing its growth, flowering, and long-term well-being. Understanding the plant’s soil preferences and providing suitable growing conditions are essential for maintaining healthy and vigorous specimens. Here’s what to consider when addressing the soil needs of this captivating perennial:

  • Well-Draining Soil: The Phygelius x rectus ‘Devil’s Tears’ thrives in well-draining soil that allows excess water to flow away from the root zone, preventing waterlogged conditions. Amending heavy clay soils with organic matter, such as compost or peat moss, can improve drainage and create a hospitable environment for the plant.

  • Fertile Soil: Rich, fertile soil supports the robust growth and abundant flowering of the Phygelius x rectus ‘Devil’s Tears.’ Incorporating organic amendments, such as well-rotted compost or aged manure, contributes to enhancing soil fertility, increasing beneficial microbial activity, and providing a steady supply of essential nutrients.

  • Soil pH: The Phygelius x rectus ‘Devil’s Tears’ prefers slightly acidic to neutral soil with a pH range of 6.0 to 7.0. Conducting a soil test can help determine the existing pH levels and guide the necessary adjustments through the incorporation of lime to raise pH or elemental sulfur to lower pH, ensuring an optimal growing environment for the plant.

  • Container Cultivation: When growing the Phygelius x rectus ‘Devil’s Tears’ in containers, selecting a high-quality potting mix designed for flowering perennials can provide the necessary drainage, aeration, and nutrient retention needed for successful container gardening. Adding perlite or coarse sand to the mix can further improve soil structure and prevent compaction.

By addressing the soil requirements of the Phygelius x rectus ‘Devil’s Tears’ and creating a conducive growing medium, gardeners can establish an environment that supports the plant’s health, vigor, and capacity for abundant flowering.


Pruning the Phygelius x rectus ‘Devil’s Tears’ is an integral aspect of its maintenance, contributing to continuous blooming, shaping the plant’s growth, and sustaining its overall health and appearance. By employing proper pruning techniques and timing, gardeners can promote a well-manicured and floriferous display of this captivating perennial. Here’s a guide to mastering the art of pruning the Phygelius x rectus ‘Devil’s Tears’:

  • Deadheading: Regular deadheading, which involves the removal of spent flowers, is essential for encouraging the Phygelius x rectus ‘Devil’s Tears’ to produce new blooms continuously. By snipping off faded flowers, either individually or by trimming back the entire flower cluster, gardeners can stimulate the plant to invest energy into generating fresh blossoms.

  • Stem Pruning: Periodic stem pruning can help manage the growth and shape of the Phygelius x rectus ‘Devil’s Tears,’ particularly in regions with extended growing seasons. Trimming back unruly or overly long stems can promote a more compact and bushy growth habit, enhancing the plant’s overall appearance and preventing it from becoming leggy.

  • Renewal Pruning: Every few years, rejuvenation or renewal pruning may be performed to revitalize older, woody stems and encourage the emergence of new growth. This involves cutting back a portion of the plant’s older branches to ground level, allowing fresh shoots to develop and rejuvenate the Phygelius x rectus ‘Devil’s Tears’ for prolonged vigor and flowering.

  • Seasonal Pruning: In regions with colder climates, pruning the Phygelius x rectus ‘Devil’s Tears’ in late winter or early spring, before new growth emerges, can help remove any winter damage, tidy up the plant’s silhouette, and prepare it for the upcoming growing season. Trimming away dead or damaged stems promotes overall plant health and vigor.

By mastering the art of pruning and incorporating appropriate pruning practices into the care routine of the Phygelius x rectus ‘Devil’s Tears,’ gardeners can ensure that the plant maintains a neat and tidy appearance while continuously producing a profusion of charming flowers.


The propagation of the Phygelius x rectus ‘Devil’s Tears’ allows enthusiasts to expand their collection of this stunning plant and share its beauty with fellow gardeners. Whether through division or stem cuttings, propagating the Phygelius x rectus ‘Devil’s Tears’ can be an exciting and rewarding endeavor. Here’s a comprehensive overview of the propagation techniques for this captivating perennial:


  1. Timing: The best time to divide the Phygelius x rectus ‘Devil’s Tears’ is in early spring, just as new growth begins to emerge. This allows the divided sections to establish themselves during the active growing season, fostering robust growth and subsequent flowering.

  2. Plant Preparation: To prepare the plant for division, gently dig around the base of the Phygelius x rectus ‘Devil’s Tears’ to unearth the entire root ball. Carefully lift the plant from the ground and shake off excess soil to reveal the individual stems and root structure.

  3. Division Process: Using a sharp, clean garden knife or a sharp spade, carefully divide the root ball into sections, ensuring that each division contains a portion of the plant’s crown, stems, and an adequate root system. Aim to create divisions with multiple healthy stems to enhance their growth potential.

  4. Planting Divisions: Once divided, the sections can be replanted in prepared garden beds or containers filled with well-draining soil. It’s important to provide ample moisture and gentle care to the divided plants to support their transition and establishment in their new growing environment.

Stem Cuttings

  1. Cutting Preparation: Select healthy, non-flowering stems from the Phygelius x rectus ‘Devil’s Tears’ to use for propagating stem cuttings. Each cutting should measure around 4-6 inches in length and be taken from the tip of the stem, just below a node.

  2. Rooting Medium: Preparing a well-draining rooting medium, such as a mix of perlite and peat moss, can provide a suitable environment for the development of the stem cuttings. Ensure that the medium is moist but not waterlogged before inserting the cuttings.

  3. Planting Cuttings: Make a clean, angled cut just below a leaf node on the selected stem cuttings. Remove any lower leaves to expose the nodes, which are the points from which roots will emerge. Insert the prepared cuttings into the rooting medium, ensuring that at least two nodes are buried beneath the surface.

  4. Rooting Environment: Place the planted cuttings in a warm, brightly lit location with indirect sunlight. Enclosing the cuttings in a transparent cover or using a propagation dome can help maintain high humidity levels around the plants, supporting the rooting process.

  5. Root Development: Over the course of several weeks, monitor the cuttings for signs of new root development, which is indicated by emerging roots at the nodes. Once the cuttings have established a healthy root system, they can be carefully transplanted into individual containers or the garden.

By mastering the art of division and stem cutting propagation, enthusiasts can expand their collection of the Phygelius x rectus ‘Devil’s Tears’ and share the joy of cultivating this charming plant with fellow gardening enthusiasts.

Container Popularity

The Phygelius x rectus ‘Devil’s Tears’ has gained popularity among container garden enthusiasts, owing to its stunning visual appeal, adaptable growth habit, and effortless maintenance. Whether grown in individual containers or incorporated into mixed container arrangements, the plant adds a touch of elegance to outdoor spaces. Here’s why the Phygelius x rectus ‘Devil’s Tears’ is a favored choice for container gardening:

  • Compact Growth: The compact growth habit of the Phygelius x rectus ‘Devil’s Tears’ makes it well-suited for container cultivation. Its bushy form and upright stems lend themselves to creating pleasing container displays, whether planted alone or combined with complementary companions.

  • Vibrant Blooms: With its vibrant tubular flowers in shades of red, pink, and yellow, the Phygelius x rectus ‘Devil’s Tears’ brings a burst of color to container gardens. The eye-catching blooms serve as a focal point and add a cheerful, welcoming ambiance to outdoor living spaces.

  • Wildlife Attractant: The nectar-rich blooms of the Phygelius x rectus ‘Devil’s Tears’ act as a magnet for pollinators, including hummingbirds and butterflies. Container gardens featuring this plant can contribute to supporting local wildlife and creating a thriving ecosystem within urban and suburban settings.

  • Versatile Displays: Whether situated on patios, decks, or balconies, the

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Peter Taylors

Expert botanist who loves plants. His expertise spans taxonomy, plant ecology, and ethnobotany. An advocate for plant conservation, he mentors and educates future botanists, leaving a lasting impact on the field.