Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Firecracker Plant - Russelia equisetofprmos

I know it has been so long since I wrote something on my blog that you may have thought I'd given up! But no I have had so many thing I wanted to write....I have just been so busy! But as I was putting plants into my greenhouse I thought I'd tell you about one of my favorite plants of old.

When I lived in Florida I had a plant I really liked that put on a spectacular show when it bloomed. It would die back in a really cold winter but would come back each spring and bloom like crazy in the summer. It is called a firecracker Plant or Russelia equisetofprmos and is considered a tropical/tender perennial where I lived in central Florida. It really has an explosive impact in your garden. Its narrow, soft leaves give it a fine texture in the landscape, making it a great contrast to broad-leaf plants. Firecracker plant typically blooms year-round with a profusion of red, tubular flowers in a warm climate. Firecracker plant can reach three to four feet tall and six or more feet wide, so be sure to give it room to sprawl. However, it is a tender plant, so be sure to cover it when cold weather strikes. Or you can let it freeze back and see if it rebounds in the spring. This plant is relatively pest-free, somewhat drought tolerant, and even attracts butterflies and hummingbirds—what more could you ask for?

I found this plant again after I move to Charleston after spending 5 years in Georgia. My plants would come back every year after our somewhat colder winters than I had in Florida but it would take almost all summer to get to any size and would finally bloom just about the time the warm growing season was over. So after several years of this I finally dug it up one fall and over wintered it in a protected place then planted it outdoors again. That got better results but still nothing like I had in Florida. So then I though maybe it was the difference in my soil. My Florida soil if you could call it that was sand. Not just sandy but sand and my soil here is clay. So this year after over wintering my Firecracker plant in my mini greenhouse I put them in hanging baskets and hung them near my hummingbird feeders. This turned out to be a good idea. The plant bloomed better and my family of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds loved the plant. So I will continue with this idea next year.I should have taken a photo earlier in the year when my plant was in full bloom, but you get the idea. (Also some photos of this plant were pre-digital camera.)