This striking plant, also known as Crossandra undulifolia, is a small shrub from the rain forests of southern India and Sri Lanka. Its shiny, dark green leaves with wavy edges are held in opposite pairs and are 2V2-5in/6.5-13cm long.
From spring to late fall, the flowers—in shades of yellow, orange, and red—rise in twos and threes from upright tufts of green bracts. Each has a tube-shaped base, but flares out into a lobed disc up to PTinAlcm wide. Even young specimens will flower readily, but after about two years they tend to lose their vigor and should be replaced.
The form ‘Mona Walhead’ has salmon pink blooms; those of Crossandra pangens are yellow. Crossandras are good for groups, since they flourish best when surrounded by other plants and enjoy humid conditions.
Check for red spider mites; regular misting will help to discourage this pest.
A reluctance to flower may mean that the plant is in too much shade. Move to a brighter place and pinch off some leaf growth to stimulate flower buds.
Falling leaves and a drooping appearance may indicate that the plant is standing in a cold draft; move it to a warmer place.
ORIGIN India; Sri Lanka.
HEIGHT To 15in/38cm.
POTTING MIX Soil-based, with added peat moss.
REPOTTING Repot each spring, in a pot one size larger. Ensure good drainage as waterlogging can be fatal to the plant.
PROPAGATION Take 2-3-in/5-7.5-cm-long tip cuttings in spring and root them in a heated propagator.
KEEPING PLANTS Stand the plant outdoors in the sun in summer.
Crossandra Infundibuliformis Acanthaceae Firecracker Flower PLANT CARE
- Bright filtered light; avoid direct sunlight.
- Stable year-round temperatures no lower than 65°F/18°C.
- From spring to fall water thoroughly, allowing the soil to almost dry out before adding more; water sparingly in winter. Water should be tepid.
- Stand the plant on a tray of moist pebbles for extra humidity, and mist regularly.
- In spring and summer, feed every 2 weeks with a high-potash liquid fertilizer.