Firecracker Plant (Russelia equisetiformis) is a multi-branched, tropical subshrub, able to grow up to about 1 – 1.5 m tall and with a spread of 2 – 4 m wide. Leaves are reduced to small scale-like leaflets, bright green, ovate to elliptic, measuring about 8 – 15 mm long by 6 – 9 mm wide with trailing rush-like 4-angled stems. The slender, red, tubular flowers appear in the summer and hang on the plant like little firecrackers opening from spring to autumn. Fruit is a dry, brown capsule, oval or globose in shape and measuring about 3 – 6 mm wide. Seeds are small, light brown and oval in shape. It is often used in the landscape as a groundcover or unclipped hedge or even in containers or in large hanging baskets and is lovely when cascading over a wall.
Species: R. equisetiformis
Scientific Name: Russelia equisetiformis
Synonyms: Russelia juncea
Common Names: Fountainbush, Firecracker plant, Coral plant, Coral fountain, Coralblow and Fountain plant.
How to grow and maintain Firecracker Plant (Russelia equisetiformis):
It thrives best in bright light to full sun. Firecracker plants require lots of light to bloom. Move it outdoors for the summer and set it in the sunniest spot you can provide.
It prefers to grow in a rich, organic, moist but well-drained soil. Use any good potting mix with little-added perlite or sand for quick drainage.
It prefers average room humidity.
It grows best in average room temperatures 65°F- 75°F / 18°C – 24°C. It won’t tolerate freezing temperatures.
Water regularly and moderately. Keep the soil evenly moist but not soggy. Allow the top inch of the soil to dry out between each watering. Water sparingly in winter.
Fertilize every two weeks in spring through fall with a balanced liquid fertilizer diluted by half. During winter, feed monthly.
It can be propagated by stem cuttings. Take stem tip cuttings 8-10cm long from the plant in spring, dip the cut ends in hormone rooting powder and plant the cuttings in moist soil.
Pests and Diseases:
It has no serious pest or disease problems. However, coral bush is prone to soil-borne fungal pathogens in poorly drained soil.