Firecracker Plant Care

Botanical Name: Russelia equisetiformis 

Firecracker plant puts on an explosive display of bright flowers, trailing over a hanging basket or tall container. In this guide, you'll discover growing, pruning, watering, and more care tips to keep your plant beautiful year-round.

Firecracker Plant, russelia equisetiformisThis vibrant shrub makes a stunning container plant. Photo ©Vrabelpeter1

Get to Know Your Plant

Firecracker plant is a weeping shrub bursting with long sprays of orange-red flowers that lend its name. Other common names include coral plant and coral fountain plant.

The narrow, tubular flowers are about 1 in (2.5 cm) long and cover the plant from late spring till fall. Actually, it can flower any time of year, given enough warmth and light. You'll get the most blooms by putting it in full sun. Moving it outdoors for the summer is ideal. It's attractive to passersby as well as to butterflies and hummingbirds.

Native to Mexico, this beauty loves warm sunshine year-round. It's frost-tender. In fact, it doesn't do well in cold temperatures, so be sure to bring it back indoors when the temperature drops in autumn.

How big does Firecracker Plant get? Mature plants will trail up to 6 ft (1.8 m). 

Russelia equisetiformis may be hard to find in garden centers, but you'll find it for sale online, especially in the spring and summer months. Many colors are available: red, yellow, orange, white and pink. Some popular named varieties include 'Salmon Pink', 'Yellow Gold' and 'Tangerine Falls'.

Show it off. Display your firecracker plant in a large hanging basket and allow it to cascade, showing off the fine-textured foliage covered with bright flower clusters. Give it some space, too. This spectacular, many-branching shrub can spread as wide as it is tall.

Prune it back. By pruning off stems that have already flowered, you'll get more flowers! Cut off spent flower stems at the base anytime. To keep your plant a manageable size, prune it back hard in early spring.

Bring it in. This shrub is an evergreen perennial that's frost-tender. Unless you live in a year-round warm climate, expect to overwinter it indoors. Keep it in a warm, sunny location. Reduce watering because growth will slow down in winter.

Firecracker Plant Care Tips

firecracker plant, coral plant, coral fountain, russelia equisetiformis

Light: 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.

Water: Water thoroughly, allowing the top of the soil to dry out between waterings. Mature plants are drought-tolerant, so it's a good idea to keep them on the dry side.

Humidity: Average room (around 40% relative humidity)

Temperature: Average room temperatures 65-75°F/18-24°C. If you move your plant outside for the warm months, don't worry -- it can take the heat. It's hardy in USDA Zones 9b-11. However, it won't tolerate freezing temperatures.

Soil: All-purpose potting mix with a little added perlite or horticultural sand for quick drainage. 

Fertilizer: Feed every 2 weeks spring through fall with a balanced water-soluble fertilizer diluted by half. In winter, feed monthly.

Propagation: Take stem tip cuttings in spring.

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