How to Plant, Grow, and Care for Firecracker Plants

In case you’re on the lookout for a plant that brings a ton of enjoyable to the backyard and likewise makes a colourful potted plant, look no additional than the firecracker plant. Also called coral fountain or fountain plant, the firecracker plant provides an ideal textural component to the backyard, and pollinators find it irresistible!

Firecracker Vegetation Overview

Plant Sort

Perennial Evergreen


R. equisetiformis

Native Space

Mexico and Guatemala


Full solar to partial shade


Sandy, Loamy, Clay, Chalk, Nicely-Draining

Bloom Colours

Orange, Pink, White, Pink


Spider Mites, Caterpillars, Mealybugs, Thrips

About Firecracker Plant

On the sides of a trail, firecracker plants burst with life, their crimson blossoms adding a splash of color to the scene. Towering trees form a lush backdrop, creating a tranquil ambiance that beckons travelers to explore nature's beauty.
Firecracker plant attracts pollinators and may be grown in numerous kinds.

Develop this versatile plant as a shrub, hanging plant, floor cowl, espalier, or spilling over a balcony or rock wall. It has a beautiful weeping development behavior that creates a refined drama wherever you develop it. As a winner of the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Backyard Benefit, this can be a particular plant that’s sure to attract consideration from onlookers and hummingbirds.


A firecracker plant displays a burst of crimson red flowers, illuminating the scene with its intense hue. The slender green stems of the plant support the fiery red blossoms, creating a striking contrast of colors.
The firecracker plant is understood for its versatile flowering shrubs with year-round blooming.

The firecracker plant is a member of the Plantiginaceae household, also referred to as the Plantain household. This household of vegetation is massive and numerous, together with vegetation akin to snapdragon, speedwell, and beardtongue. 

The flowers of vegetation within the Plantiginaceae household may be single or develop in clusters and sometimes have each female and male reproductive components. There are roughly 94 genera within the species and 1,900 species throughout the genera. 

Firecracker plant is of the genus Russelia, named for Scottish naturalist Alexander Russell. Most species are flowering shrubs that tolerate a variety of soil varieties and publicity from full solar to almost full shade. These vegetation are perennial evergreens of their native zones. They bloom year-round in some instances, ans have lengthy blooming durations and a quick dormancy in others.

The species R. equestiformis will get its identify from the looks of its branches and comes from the Latin ‘like Equestium,’ that means horsetail rush. It’s generally used as a decorative and is especially widespread amongst hummingbirds.


Against a blurred backdrop of slender stems, the firecracker flower stands out as a captivating focal point. Its red petals elegantly curling outward, captured in a unique perspective, upside down.
Firecracker plant produces plentiful scarlet flowers in a protracted blooming season, resembling fireworks.

The flowers are the principle occasion for the firecracker plant. They’re bountiful and have an prolonged blooming season lasting three seasons, from spring via fall. The flowers are sometimes scarlet, though some cultivars produce flowers in shades of pink, orange, yellow, and white. 

The nickname firecracker plant comes from the looks and bounty of flowers this gorgeous plant produces. The flowers seem in free clusters alongside gently weeping branches, giving the impact of a firework in its full show. The person flowers are about 1” lengthy and tubular and draw quite a lot of hummingbirds and butterflies to the backyard. 


Firecracker plant leaves bask in the sun's rays, displaying their lush green hues with a captivating gleam. Among these leaves, the plant boasts striking orange flowers, adding a brilliant burst of color to its surroundings.
Firecracker plant’s delicate, fernlike foliage turns into reasonably dense because the plant grows massive over time.

The leaves of the firecracker plant are small and delicate in look. The foliage typically has a fernlike look, bringing textural curiosity to the backyard. The lengthy, arching, branched stems are dense, however the leaves are delicate, so the foliage as a complete is just reasonably lush till the plant will get moderately massive, which it’s going to do in time. 

The leaves are finely ovate with no seen venation and are organized on stems reverse one another. These leaves vary from 2-4” lengthy, are shiny inexperienced, and stay evergreen, with no change to foliage within the fall. 


Firecracker vegetation may be propagated by seed, however this isn’t essentially the most environment friendly methodology, because the seeds take a very long time to germinate. As soon as seeds germinate, anticipate the plant to take a number of years to supply flowers. The 2 more practical strategies of propagation are cuttings and plant division.


A cluster of gray pots showcase vibrant firecracker plants in full bloom, their orange blossoms adding a burst of color. Bathed in sunlight, this picturesque arrangement creates a harmonious blend of earthy tones and vivid hues.
Propagating firecracker vegetation entails rooting cuttings, which takes about 2-3 weeks.

That is the best and sometimes the simplest method to propagate firecracker vegetation. It takes about 2-3 weeks for cuttings to root

  1. Select a stem with leaves close to the highest and take a 6” slicing just under a node.
  2. Strip the leaves from the underside 1” of the slicing and dip the top into rooting hormone to expedite the rooting course of.
  3. Place the slicing, reduce finish down, into moist potting soil, leaving about half of the slicing half buried above the soil.
  4. Place your pot containing the slicing in a heat location that will get shiny, oblique daylight.
  5. Preserve the soil moist however not soggy for 2-3 weeks whereas roots develop. You possibly can place the bag inside a plastic bag to assist the soil retain moisture. You can even use a plastic dome, which serves the identical function and gained’t collapse onto your younger slicing.
  6. It should take 2-3 weeks for roots to kind, however wait till you see some new development earlier than transplanting your new vegetation.


A bush of firecracker plants lines one side of the sidewalk. Its pink flowers create a burst of color against the urban backdrop. The blurred background shows glimpses of the grassy expanse beyond the bush.
Propagate firecracker vegetation via spring root division for optimum development earlier than winter dormancy.

Firecracker vegetation can be propagated by root division. Do that within the spring, together with transplanting or scaling down the guardian plant. This may give the division the longest interval of development earlier than it enters dormancy within the following winter. 

  1. Water the plant nicely the day earlier than you may be making your divisions. This may soften the roots and make them extra versatile and fewer weak to emphasize.
  2. Take away the plant from its container or expose a portion of the roots if planted within the floor.
  3. Use a pointy software to chop parts of the foundation ball. A Hori Hori knife may be very helpful for this course of.
  4. Plant your divisions in particular person pots with recent potting combine and water completely.


Unopened red firecracker flowers, their vibrant petals held tightly in buds, hinting at the imminent burst of color. The long, slender green stems of the firecracker flowers, stand tall with a graceful posture.
Plant firecracker vegetation on the finish of winter for ideally suited development in pollinator gardens.

The perfect time to plant firecracker vegetation is throughout their winter dormancy. Nearing the top of winter is finest, leaving a couple of weeks earlier than the plant re-enters its rising section. Think about the area you select properly; this isn’t a neat and tidy plant. The character of the plant makes it nicely suited to a cottage backyard or pollinator backyard.

Think about the ultimate dimension of the plant, which may be as much as 6’ tall and 5’ broad at maturity. The plant may be saved to about 3’x3’ and nonetheless be engaging, however slicing it again farther than this isn’t suggested. This plant wants room to unfold out to look its finest. 


A display of red firecracker flowers with delicate, elongated petals is beautifully arranged in a spacious brown pot. Cascading elegantly towards the ground, the slender green stems support the blossoms.
Firecracker vegetation thrive in containers for non-subtropical or tropical climates.

Firecracker vegetation do fairly nicely in containers, which is nice information for anybody outdoors a subtropical or tropical local weather zone. The roots are hardy to 24°F, however the remainder of the plant will die again beneath freezing, so rising this plant in a pot permits the gardener to maneuver it indoors throughout the colder months. 

This plant is nicely suited to hanging pots due to its weeping nature. It can be grown in a typical pot and prefers to be barely root-bound.

Holding the roots pot-bound will stress the plant barely, which causes it to bloom extra profusely within the spring. Guarantee your container has correct drainage, as firecracker vegetation don’t like soggy roots and are pretty resilient in low moisture circumstances.


A pot is adorned with a profusion of pink blooms from the firecracker plant, forming a delightful floral canopy. In the garden backdrop, a lush array of diverse green plants sets the stage.
The firecracker plant thrives finest in full solar or partial shade.

In case you are rising your firecracker plant indoors, give it as a lot mild as potential. Inserting your plant in a south-facing window will lead to the perfect development and flowering.

It may possibly survive in partial solar however will flower much less. Taking your plant outdoor in late spring will lead to denser foliage. Enable your plant a while to adapt to out of doors life by initially putting it in partial shade earlier than shifting it to full solar. 

Outdoor, this plant can tolerate numerous daylight circumstances, from full solar to partial shade. Of their native habitat, these vegetation sometimes develop within the full daylight of open fields and on the forest edge in partial shade.


A cluster of firecracker stems and flowers dangle gracefully, their attention turned towards the solid concrete below. These delicate blooms boast a soft, creamy yellow hue, adding a touch of warmth and serenity to the scene.
Firecracker vegetation thrive in well-drained, amended soil with a large pH tolerance.

For potted firecracker vegetation, customary potting soil will suffice. Amending the soil with perlite or coarse sand will assist preserve correct drainage and hold the soil from compacting. Heavy or compacted soil will inhibit root growth. 

Ideally, the perfect soil circumstances for firecracker vegetation outdoor are wealthy, natural, and well-drained. They tolerate a variety of soil varieties, together with loam, clay, and sand, although soil that compacts simply needs to be amended to make it extra hospitable for root growth. 

Firecracker vegetation are not choosy about soil pH and may tolerate a variety of acidic to alkaline soil varieties. Amending the highest layer of your soil with compost or different natural materials will give your vegetation a wholesome begin.


Amidst a vibrant, blurred backdrop of lush greenery, petite red firecracker blossoms dangle delicately from their slender, verdant stems. Glistening water droplets cling to the intricate petals and stems, adding a sparkling touch of nature's adornment.
Water firecracker vegetation deeply as soon as per week for root growth.

When first planted, your firecracker plant have to be repeatedly watered till established. For younger vegetation, water as soon as per week, deeply, to encourage root growth and institution. You might must water extra regularly within the sizzling summer time, however typically, permit the soil floor to dry out between waterings.

As soon as mature, your firecracker plant will probably be drought-tolerant and solely want occasional watering throughout extended dry climate. When watering, water deeply, guaranteeing the whole root system will get a superb soaking. 

As a result of container vegetation have considerably much less soil to carry moisture for his or her roots to soak up, vegetation in pots are prone to want extra frequent watering. The temperature and time of yr issue within the frequency of watering a potted firecracker plant. Usually, the highest 1” of the soil needs to be dry between waterings, however the soil across the roots shouldn’t be allowed to dry out utterly. 

Local weather and Temperature

A display of firecracker plants in full bloom, showcasing a burst of colors in a garden setting. Creamy yellow blossoms of firecracker plants add a touch of elegance to the lush green foliage around them.
Firecracker vegetation want humidity round 40% indoors to forestall leaf drying.

A variety of temperatures is just not an issue for this plant so long as freezing climate is prevented. These vegetation like a whole lot of warmth, however they’ll additionally surprisingly tolerate cooler climate. They really do want a interval of cooler temperatures throughout their dormancy.

Firecracker vegetation carry out finest after they have a cool autumn and winter dormancy. This era will encourage the setting of buds and make for a greater spring bloom. Whereas these vegetation are presupposed to be root hardy to 24°F, the foliage will start to endure beneath 41°F and die off in freezing climate. 

This can be a tropical plant, so it wants a little bit of humidity to keep up wholesome foliage. Firecracker vegetation can survive indoors if the humidity degree stays round 40%; decrease than this, you will note leaves start to dry out and fall off. You possibly can complement humidity with a pebble tray or humidifier or by misting your plant each few days.


A hand gently cradling a mound of rich brown soil, fingers spread softly against the earth. The ground beneath showcases the same luscious soil, adorned with patches of vibrant green grass and fallen green leaves.
Firecracker vegetation require common feeding and balanced fertilizer for optimum development and blooming.

As a result of it’s a heavy bloomer, the firecracker plant can be a heavy feeder. It wants a good quantity of vitamins to supply the utmost quantity of flowers. Because of this, amend the soil earlier than planting and add a layer of compost annually to scale back the quantity of fertilizing wanted to maintain it blooming. 

Use a balanced fertilizer to feed your firecracker plant to keep up optimum foliage development, density, and blooming energy. Feed your firecracker plant each two weeks throughout the energetic rising/blooming season.

When the plant stops blooming within the fall, cut back fertilizing to as soon as monthly. The plant can’t use as many vitamins throughout dormancy, and extra vitamins will harm the roots.

Upkeep and Care

A firecracker plant in a white pot, their leaves' glossy surfaces catching the sunlight. Each ovate leaf is a testament to nature's intricate design. Adjacent, a contrasting large black pot stands prominently.
Firecracker vegetation require average pruning for balanced kind and performance.

Firecracker vegetation want a average quantity of labor to steadiness kind and performance. Due to the irregular development of branches, this can by no means be a neatly manicured plant. To aim to coach this plant into a really organized and neatly balanced form could be an train in futility.

Nevertheless, pruning is advisable on the finish of the blooming season, because the plant blooms on new development within the spring. Prune and reduce the plant again by about half whereas it’s dormant. This may encourage branching within the spring and make for a greater blooming season.

Deadheading will make the plant bloom extra, however the dimension and sheer amount of the flowers make this an arduous course of. Somewhat than deadheading, give the plant a lightweight crown pruning when blooming begins to gradual to encourage extra flowers later within the season. You can even periodically prune away crossing branches to permit air circulation to the plant’s inside and preserve a extra balanced look. 


Salmon Pink

A Salmon Pink plant gracefully slants to catch the sunlight. Delicate pink blooms burst forth, adding a touch of nature's artistry to the scene. In the background, a blurred canvas of green grass sets the perfect backdrop.
The Salmon Pink selection has a weeping behavior, rising round 5’ tall.
botanical identify

Russelia equisetiformis ‘Salmon Pink’
solar necessities

Full solar to partial shade

hardiness zones


The ‘Salmon Pink’ selection is a bigger cultivar that grows to about 5’ tall. It additionally has a pronounced weeping behavior. The sleek branches will drape properly as they develop longer, making this a pleasant hanging plant, floor, or sprawling shrub.

This selection produces flowers which can be coral or salmon coloured, giving an additional pop to the backyard. A hummingbird favourite

Lemon Falls

Amidst the tranquil setting of slender trees, lemon falls plant grace the scene with their weeping growth, adorned with creamy yellow flowers. The intricate stems, incredibly fine yet sturdy, dangle elegantly beneath the weight of the blossoms.
The Lemon Falls cultivar is a medium-sized shrub with creamy yellow flowers.
botanical identify

Russelia equisetiformis lutea
solar necessities

Full solar to partial shade

hardiness zones


‘Lemon Falls’ is a medium-sized selection, rising as tall as 4’ at maturity. This makes it well-suited to be used as a small shrub.

The unfold will sometimes be shut to five’. This cultivar produces loads of creamy, pale yellow flowers and appears superb when paired with a range that produces pink flowers for distinction.

Tangerine Falls

Amidst the verdant expanse and the winding canal, a harmonious symphony of nature unfolds. The tangerine falls plants, with their striking orange blooms, and the central canal together create a serene oasis.
This selection is a fascinating firecracker plant with multi-shaded flowers.
botanical identify

Russelia equisetiformis ‘Tangerine Falls’
solar necessities

Full solar to partial shade

hardiness zones


‘Tangerine Falls’ is perhaps my favourite number of firecracker vegetation. It’s a mid-sized plant with a sprawling behavior that makes it nice for a dangling basket or trailing over a rock wall.

The flowers kind dense clusters, and shades fluctuate on a single plant, from barely apricot to almost coral. The mixture of shades provides depth and curiosity to this enchanting plant.

St. Elmo’s Firecracker

Delicate pink St. Elmo's firecracker flowers dangle gracefully from slender stems, adding a touch of elegance to the scene. Their vibrant color catches the eye against a soft, blurred background of a sea of identical blossoms and foliage.
St. Elmo’s Firecracker has massive, feathery crimson flowers and inexperienced foliage.
botanical identify

Russelia equitiformis ‘St. Elmo’s Firecracker’
solar necessities

Full solar to partial shade

hardiness zones


With such a enjoyable identify, this can be a completely satisfied and cheerful hybrid selection with beautiful crimson flowers contrasting fantastically with the positive, inexperienced foliage. It’s on the bigger aspect with much less density to the foliage, giving it a feathery look. It’s extra tolerant of cool climate than some varieties, however the foliage will nonetheless die again in freezing climate.

Pests and Ailments

Firecracker plants adorn the crown of a sturdy concrete wall. Unfortunately, the lush foliage of the firecracker plants has turned a somber gray due to the impact of diseases. The background showcases a blue sky and verdant trees.
In case your firecracker plant seems unhealthy, pests and ailments is perhaps inflicting it.

Firecracker plant is usually proof against pest and illness issues. Listen in case your in any other case wholesome plant appears to be like lower than completely satisfied to find out the underlying subject.

Any time you discover an infestation or illness, isolate your potted plant for remedy to forestall unfold. This isn’t potential for in-ground vegetation, however expedient remedy can stem the unfold. Most pests and ailments discover their approach into our gardens on new vegetation, so completely examine them earlier than planting within the backyard.

Spider Mites

Against a green blurred background, a close-up of a brown spider mite positioned delicately on its intricate web. The web, adorned with particles of dirt, tells a story of resilience and adaptation in its miniature world.
Spider mites harm vegetation via sap-sucking, recognized by positive webbing.

These tiny mites have traits much like spiders, together with the positive webbing that they spin beneath leaves and between stems of vegetation. They harm vegetation by piercing leaves with their mouthparts and sucking sap and vitamins from the plant. They’re tiny, so figuring out them is finest accomplished by finding their webbing. 

To eradicate spider mites, give the plant an intensive hosing off a number of occasions per week for a couple of weeks. This may knock down a major quantity of the inhabitants. Different remedy choices embody insecticidal soaps or horticultural oils. Use these measures with warning and examine for the presence of pollinators first.


Against a backdrop of softly blurred greenery, a close-up of a green caterpillar with black and yellow spots reveals its intricate features. As it crawls along a green stem, its captivating appearance harmonizes with the surrounding environment.
Caterpillars can harm vegetation, however some grow to be butterflies, making preservation worthwhile.

More often than not, whenever you see caterpillars on vegetation, the intuition is to run them off as shortly as potential. Caterpillars can decimate the foliage of a smaller plant in a really quick time. Nevertheless, many caterpillars are butterfly larvae, so I all the time discover it simpler to deal with the harm to protect the butterfly.

The firecracker plant has a particular relationship with the frequent buckeye butterfly. The frequent buckeye lays its eggs on the plant, and when the larvae hatch, they feed on its flowers and foliage.

If you’d like extra butterflies, let the caterpillars feed in your plant. You possibly can all the time plant extra!


A close-up of a mealybug with a powdery white body rests on a vibrant green leaf. Its small size and distinct body texture are noticeable. The delicate structure of its numerous tiny legs is highlighted.
Mealybugs hurt vegetation by draining sap and leaving sticky honeydew that draws mould.

These white, waxy little beasts are by no means useful; for a lot of gardeners, they’re a supply of nice loss. Mealybugs are small white bugs with a waxy coating that makes them seem fuzzy. They feed on the sap of vegetation, depleting the plant of vitamins, stunting its development, and abandoning a nasty, sticky mess. 

The sticky excrement left behind by these pests is known as honeydew. It’s sugary and attracts ants, which aren’t terribly dangerous to out of doors vegetation. Nevertheless, it additionally offers an ideal surroundings for sooty mould to develop, which interferes with photosynthesis. These guys have gotten to go!

Deal with by spraying the plant with a hose, knocking off as many mealybugs as potential. Then, deal with with neem oil or a chemical insecticide. You might must deal with once more in 7-14 days to catch any hatching eggs.


A detailed close-up of a brown thrip insect showcases its features as it rests on a vibrant green leaf. The brown thrip reveals its delicate wings and segmented body that is easily discernible.
These small sap-feeding bugs harm vegetation, inflicting stunted development.

Thrips are tiny flying bugs that additionally feed on the sap of vegetation and depart a sticky mess behind. They are going to deprive the plant of vitamins and may trigger shriveling or stunted development. Deal with them as you’ll mealybugs by spraying down the plant and making use of an insecticide.

Root Rot

A close-up of a plant's root system affected by black root rot disease. The roots appear discolored and damaged, with visible signs of decay and deterioration, highlighting the impact of the fungal infection.
Because of extreme moisture, root rot causes decay and nutrient transport points.

Root rot is normally the results of poor drainage or overwatering. Firecracker plant likes moisture, however it gained’t tolerate moist roots. When the roots stay moist for prolonged durations, the roots start to decay and break down and may not transport water and vitamins to the foliage. 

This lack of water and vitamins manifests in yellowing foliage, notably close to the plant’s crown, and in the end, complete plant loss of life. Whereas there’s no treatment for root rot, you may catch it early and alter your habits quick. If potted, repot your plant, letting the roots dry out and treating with fungicide earlier than repotting in new soil. 

Poor drainage contributes to root rot, although that is much less prone to happen with in-ground vegetation. You possibly can try and amend the soil and enhance drainage, however that’s normally not a long-term answer. Relocating the plant to a greater website will lead to quicker enchancment.

Closing Ideas

With a reputation like firecracker, you realize this can be a enjoyable and thrilling plant. Including certainly one of these beautiful shrubs to the backyard will enhance the colour and textural curiosity tremendously. Its easygoing nature and resistance to pests and ailments make this an ideal addition to the backyard or houseplant assortment.

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