How To Grow Flame Acanthus

Hummingbird bush, Anisacanthus quadrifidus var. wrightii, is a local plant that’s rapidly gaining recognition exterior of its native habitat of the west central Texas Edwards Plateau, and for a great cause. Not solely do these bushy vegetation produce stunning blooms, however the tubular flowers are recognized to draw hummingbirds. 

They’re additionally the host plant of two butterfly species: the Crimson Patch and Texan Crescent butterflies. Including a butterfly or moth host plant to your backyard is not going to solely find yourself feeding butterflies however profit all the ecosystem. For that reason, they make a incredible addition to a pollinator-friendly butterfly and hummingbird backyard. 

Hummingbird bush begins new progress within the early spring and usually blooms from mid-summer into the autumn. Their vibrant flowers are normally pink or red-orange, which is the rationale it’s typically referred to as flame acanthus. Not solely can hummingbird bush present a pop of coloration to your flower beds, however it will also be grown in massive pots and hanging baskets. 

Hummingbird bush is a low-maintenance plant that isn’t in any respect choosy about soil sorts. Present it with sufficient solar, water, and well-draining soil, and also you’ll be including an exquisite plant to your backyard that hummingbirds love, in addition to offering a habitat for useful bugs and pollinators. 

Fast Care Information

Frequent Title Hummingbird Bush, Flame Acanthus, Wright’s Desert Honeysuckle, Texas Firecracker, Mexican Flame, Wright’s Mexican Flame
Scientific Title Anisacanthus quadrifidus var. wrightii
Household Acanthaceae
Top & Unfold 2 ft tall and three ft large
Gentle Full solar however will tolerate partial shade
Soil Impartial well-draining soil; can tolerate heavy clay soils with ample drainage
Water Low water wants, extremely drought tolerant
Pests & Ailments No recognized pest or illness points

All About Hummingbird Bush

Hummingbird bush is a drought-resistant plant that’s cherished by hummingbirds.

Anisacanthus quadrifidus var. Wrightii, or hummingbird bush, is thought by many frequent names and is named Flame Acanthus, Wright’s Desert Honeysuckle, Texas Firecracker, Mexican Flame, and Wright’s Mexican Flame. Hummingbirds love this plant, a member of the Acanthus household and native to South Central Texas.

“Wright” refers to American botanist Charles Wright who collected samples of the plant within the mid-Nineteenth century. It’s typically discovered on rocky slopes, scrubland, on the Edwards Plateau, and in Mexican pinyon forests. 

This native plant selection is from South Central Texas, West Central Texas, and components of Mexico. It grows as a perennial in its native habitat and will be grown as such in USDA hardiness zones 7 and above. In colder climates, it may be grown as an annual. 

Hummingbird bush vegetation are extraordinarily drought resistant. This has helped them survive within the rising situations of southern Texas and Mexico. Nevertheless, it’s considerably frost-tender and dies again in areas that commonly obtain frosts. It thrives in full solar and shade, making a horny shade plant.

Hummingbird bush is one among many widespread pollinator vegetation.

Hummingbird bush is a profuse bloomer with lengthy bloom durations throughout which it produces candy nectar that pulls hummingbirds to your backyard like a hummingbird magnet. The trumpet-shaped flowers bloom from mid-summer to fall and are surrounded by grayish-green or bright-green foliage. 

In late fall, the pollinated flowers produce capsules which have distinctive buildings connected to the seeds. These small hook-like outgrowths are referred to as retinaculums. When the capsule dries, it breaks open, and the retinaculums fling the seeds away, serving to the plant to unfold. The seeds are additionally the favourite snack of songbirds. 

Hummingbird Bush Care

This low-maintenance plant within the Acanthus household is straightforward to take care of, particularly since it isn’t choosy about soil sorts. Learn on to learn to present it with the correct quantities of solar, water, and pruning, and it’ll reward you with blooms that appear like lengthy tongues all summer time lengthy! 

Solar and Temperature

Close-up of an Anisacanthus quadrifidus var. Wrightii in a sunny garden, against the backdrop of a gray house wall. The bush has beautiful tubular bright orange flowers and shiny, green, lanceolate leaves.
Hummingbird vegetation want not less than 6 to eight hours of daylight per day to thrive.

Hummingbird vegetation desire full solar, though they’ll tolerate partial shade. In partial shade situations, nonetheless, your vegetation might solely produce just a few flowers within the backyard. To satisfy the total solar necessities, you’ll want to plant in a location that receives not less than 6 to eight hours of daylight per day. 

When rising this plant as a perennial, keep in mind that you’ll wish to measure the daylight hours through the winter since this will likely be when the world receives the least quantity of daylight. 

Sure buildings can also solely shade the world within the winter when the solar is lowest within the sky. That is essential, particularly in areas the place you’ll be rising this shrub as a perennial. Make certain that your website for the hummingbird bush receives some winter daylight too!

Hummingbird bush will be grown as a perennial in USDA hardiness zones 7 and above. In colder climates, resembling zones 6 and under, you’ll probably be rising this plant as an annual. In these areas, there’s not a lot want to think about the winter daylight because the foliage of the vegetation dies on the first frost. 

This drought-tolerant native plant thrives in dry climates and hotter temperatures, even as much as 95 levels Fahrenheit (35 levels Celsius)! It might probably survive the late summer time in full solar droughts of the southern US simply and attracts hummingbirds all the time.

Water and Humidity

Close-up of an Anisacanthus quadrifidus var. Wrightii covered with raindrops, on a green background. The plant has beautiful elongated tubular flowers of bright orange-red color with protruding long stamens from the centers.
Hummingbird bush is drought tolerant as soon as established and infrequently wants water.

Hummingbird bush is extraordinarily drought tolerant as soon as established and infrequently wants water exterior of the rainfall that it’s going to obtain naturally. It could, nonetheless, be vital to supply supplemental water in periods of maximum drought when the temperatures rise within the top of late summer time. This may encourage flowering that hummingbirds love.

In any other case, it ought to be tremendous with out supplemental water, although younger vegetation may have greater than mature ones. Its pure habitat consists of areas of Texas that may be humid, however general this host plant doesn’t want particular humidity ranges to outlive and can just do as effectively in dry climates.

When watering, it’s greatest to water within the early morning earlier than the warmth of the day units in to restrict water loss as a consequence of evaporation.

Water on the base of the plant and keep away from wetting the foliage and flowers. It’s not essential to maintain this plant on drip irrigation as it can want water sometimes. A soaker hose positioned on the base of the plant throughout prolonged durations of drought will likely be adequate. 


Close-up of an Anisacanthus quadrifidus var. Wrightii in a large clay pot against a blurred background of pebbles in a garden. The bush is young, has strong stems covered with lanceolate dark green leaves and small clusters of tubular orange-red flowers.
Hummingbird vegetation can develop in varied soil sorts, preferring impartial pH and well-draining soil.

Hummingbird vegetation have the flexibility to outlive and thrive in varied soil sorts. They don’t seem to be choosy about soil sorts. Nevertheless, they gained’t tolerate poorly drained soil. They will even survive in heavy clay soils, offered that the soil is well-draining. 

There isn’t a particular pH vary required for hummingbird bushes, however the shrub does desire impartial soil. In areas with poorly drained soil, you might wish to amend the planting website with both perlite or sand to assist improve drainage. 

These native vegetation are used to rising in dry, sandy, rocky soil. Keep away from planting a shrub in a low-lying space of your backyard or close to a downspout, as they don’t wish to be left in standing water. 

For those who’re rising your hummingbird bush in a big pot, you’ll want to present it with a well-draining potting combine. Most potting mixes are made to retain moisture, so you might wish to amend with perlite or sand to extend the drainage. Place the pot open air and take away the drip tray to permit water to run off freely. 


Close-up of a Swallowtail butterfly sipping nectar from an Anisacanthus quadrifidus var. Wrightii in a sunny garden. The butterfly is large, has large black wings with yellow markings and long tails on the hind wings. The bush has beautiful small tubular red flowers and green lanceolate leaves.
Hummingbird vegetation don’t want extra fertilizers, however you should use compost to spice up progress in early spring.

Apart from being a shrub that hummingbirds love, one other good thing about including this low-maintenance hummingbird plant to your panorama is that it doesn’t require any supplemental fertilizers. 

You could top-dress your shrub with compost at the start of the rising season in early spring if you happen to’d like to provide your plant a lift. Make certain to not overdo it, although. Natural matter can improve moisture retention within the soil, which is the other of what this plant needs. 


Close-up of an Anisacanthus quadrifidus var. Wrightii in the garden, against a blurry brown background. The bush has tall, erect stems covered with small lanceolate leaves and clusters of elongated trifoliate flowers with protruding long stamens from the centers.
Prune flame acanthus in late fall to advertise new progress within the spring.

Flame acanthus will want pruning every so often with a purpose to produce wholesome progress. Nevertheless, there are some issues to learn about pruning this plant with a purpose to make it profitable. Pruning on the fallacious time or over-pruning can result in injury that the plant might have a tough time recovering from, and it might cease producing flowers. 

To advertise new progress within the spring, it’s greatest to prune again the stem suggestions after the late fall. This perennial doesn’t must be reduce to the bottom.

The plant will lie dormant within the winter, which is the most effective time of 12 months to carry out this upkeep. Prune solely the information because the tubular flowers of flame acanthus develop from final 12 months’s stems.  

This may also give you a chance to form the plant providing you with a fuller shrub. For those who’re rising this plant as an annual, then the one pruning you’ll probably do will likely be to take away lifeless branches and take away just a few flowers which might be spent to encourage flowering.


Close-up of an Anisacanthus quadrifidus var. Wrightii on a blurred green background. The flower is small, narrow, tubular, red-orange in color with elongated oval petals, slightly hairy on the outer side.
Flame acanthus shrubs will be propagated via softwood cuttings by inserting stem suggestions into water or soil.

The flame acanthus shrub will be propagated by softwood cuttings. Take a 6-inch reducing slightly below a leaf node. Take away the decrease foliage and place the stem tip right into a glass of water or straight into the soil. Rooting hormone can be utilized however isn’t vital. 

Water commonly, and flame acanthus grows roots over the following few weeks. Then you have got younger vegetation. This plant will also be propagated by seed and spreads itself by seed very simply.

As talked about above, the pollinated flowers die again and switch into seed pods with distinctive buildings connected on the finish of each season. 

These pods dry up and burst, spreading the seed round with small hook-like outgrowths. To plant them extra deliberately, collect the seed pods after flowers fade and so they’ve dried, however earlier than they burst. Seeds will be sown indoors in early spring or straight open air as soon as all hazard of frost has handed. 


Close-up of an Anisacanthus quadrifidus var. Wrightii in a sunny garden against a blurred background. The shrub produces magnificent clusters of orange tubular flowers and green lanceolate leaves.
These vegetation will be grown in pots or hanging baskets however might must be repotted if the leaves flip yellow.

Hummingbird vegetation will be grown in massive pots or hanging baskets to draw hummingbirds. It’s a good suggestion to control their general well being and look to provide clues as to while you would possibly have to re-pot this plant.

For those who discover the leaves turning yellow or brown and the plant begins to wilt, this can be an indication that it has outgrown its container. 

Roots of Wright’s honeysuckle can also start to poke out of the drainage holes. Choose a bigger pot and replant it within the new container, being positive to take care of the identical soil degree on the base of the plant. This helps you appeal to much more hummingbirds to the backyard.

For those who’re rising this plant as an annual, then you’ll not have to re-pot throughout such a brief rising interval.


One other profit to rising these native vegetation inside their native habitat is that they’re naturally immune to most pests and illnesses. Some rising issues can come up while you develop Wright’s honeysuckle, nonetheless, when care necessities usually are not met. 

Rising Issues

Close-up of a large bee collecting nectar from the flowers of Anisacanthus quadrifidus var. Wrightii in a sunny garden. The bee is large, with a fluffy yellow-black striped body. The bush is large, has small tubular red flowers, collected in clusters.
Overwatering is the commonest rising drawback with hummingbird bushes.

The most typical rising issues happen when your hummingbird bush is receiving an excessive amount of water. This will end result from poorly drained soils or being planted in an space that receives massive quantities of constant moisture (close to a downspout or low-lying space of your backyard).

It will also be the results of, effectively, watering it an excessive amount of! You probably gained’t have to water this plant in any respect apart from the rain that it receives.

An overwatered hummingbird bush could have leaves that flip yellow and drop off, and the plant general will wilt. The plant may also look boring and unhealthy. For those who discover these indicators and the bottom round your plant is constantly moist, you might be coping with an overwatering subject. 

The simplest strategy to keep away from this subject is to permit the soil to dry out between waterings. For those who occur to dwell in an space that receives common rainfall, then it’s much more essential to supply it with well-drained soil because the quantity of water that it receives will likely be exterior of your management.

You possibly can amend the planting website with perlite, sand, and even small pebbles since this plant prefers rocky, dry soil. 


There aren’t any recognized pest points on Anisacanthus quadrifidus vegetation. Hummingbird bush can also be thought of to be deer resistant. Its foliage makes it unappealing to deer. 


Wright’s anisacanthus has no recognized main illness points. 

Continuously Requested Questions

Q: What’s a hummingbird’s favourite bush?

A: Brightly coloured tubular flowers have a tendency to provide probably the most nectar and appeal to hummingbirds, making Wright’s anisacanthus one among their favourite vegetation.  

Q: The place is the most effective place to plant a hummingbird bush?

A: In a full solar location with well-draining soil. Numerous soil sorts work. 

Q: How large does a hummingbird bush get?

A: This bushy shrub grows about 2 ft tall and three ft large. 

Q: Are hummingbird bushes perennials?

A: It’s a perennial in its native habitat. In colder climates, it may be grown as an annual. 

Q: Do you trim again hummingbird bush?

A: Sure, it may be thinned and formed each one to 2 years. Watch out to not prune greater than ⅓ of the plant without delay as this may disrupt its capacity to bloom. 

Q: Why is my hummingbird bush not blooming?

A: As talked about above, a heavy prune may stop Anisacanthus quadrifidus var wrightii from blooming in your backyard. An absence of tube-shaped blooms will also be attributable to a chilly snap or a freeze inflicting injury to the stem suggestions. 

Q: Is the hummingbird bush poisonous?

A: Different types of hummingbird bush could also be poisonous, so at all times you’ll want to verify the variability, however Annisacanthus quadrifidus var. Wrightii is just not thought of to be poisonous. 

Q: Are hummingbird bushes deer resistant?

A: Sure. Not solely does this profuse bloomer appeal to hummingbirds and bees to the backyard, however it’s also deer resistant and immune to most pests. 

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