Kochia–commonly called summer cypress or burning bush–is a summer annual grown for its feathery, soft, dense foliage. It is often grown as an accent in a bed or border or as a quick-growing summer hedge.
Kochia is bright green when young and through the summer; it turns red as it matures and can be bright red in autumn. Kochia is grown for its foliage; its green summer flowers are insignificant.
Kochia will reseed itself, especially in mild-winter regions. The profusion of volunteers can become a nuisance if not controlled.
Kochia genus is synonymous with the genus Bassia.
Get to Know Kochia
- Plant type: Annual
- Growing zones and range: All zones as an annual
- Hardiness: Half hardy, frost will end Kochia’s growing season
- Height and width: 36 inches tall and wide
- Foliage: Feathery, alternate leaves are hairy, 1 to 2 in. long, narrow, pointed and attached directly to the stems.
- Flowers: Small, green flowers and seeds are produced in narrow heads at the leaf axils.
- Bloom time: Summer, blooms are insignificant
- Uses: Colorful accent, fast-growing temporary hedge
- Common name: Fireweed, burning bush or summer cypress
- Botanical name: Kochia scoparia (syn. Bassia scoparia)
- Family name: Chenopodiaceae
- Origin: Eurasia
Where to Plant Kochia
- Plant Kochia in full sun.
- Gros Kochia in average, well-drained soil.
- Kochia can be used as a formal accent in a border and makes a good low-growing temporary hedge.
- Kochia is a good choice for containers mixed with low-growing or trailing plants.
- Kochia foliage can be used in cut flower arrangements.
When to Plant Kochia
- Kochia should be seeded as early as the soil temperature reaches 50°F and anytime thereafter throughout the growing season.
- Set out transplants after all danger of frost has passed.
Planting and Spacing Kochia
- Space Kochia 24 inches apart or as close as 8 inches apart for a hedge.
How to Water and Feed Kochia
- Water Kochia moderately until it becomes estalished; it grows well in hot-summer regions.
- Apply an all-purpose fertilizer early in the season.
- Growth is slow early in the season but increases with warm weather.
- In mild winter regions, Kochia reseeds itself, some time in profusion.
- Kochia can be sheared to any desired shape or height.
Kochia Pests and Diseases
- Kochia is pest and disease free.
- Seed germinate in 10 to 15 days at 50°F (10°C).
- Soak seeds for 24 hours before sowoing.
Kochia Varieties to Grow
- Kochia scoparia, summer cypress, burning bush. Grows to 36 inches tall; feathery leaves are bright green during summer, bright red in fall.
- K. s. trichophylla, burning bush. Foliage turns scarlet to maroon at first frost.