HOW TO GROW CROSSANDRA INFUNDIBLLIFORMIS (firecracker flower)

55 deg F/13 deg C

This species is often given the incorrect name C. undullfolia. It comes from the Fast Indies and is notable for long-lasting flowers produced from spring to autumn. In its natural habit it forms a large shrub, but retains a neat, compact shape when grown as a pot plant. The foliage is spear-shaped, shiny, deep green and slightly waved along the edges. The flowers, formed generously even on small and young plants, are an attractive salmon-orange. The lobed flowers. 2.5cm (I in) or more in diameter. are borne on spikes 10cm (4in) long. Excellent plants can be grown in 15 cm (5in) pots, but they like a rich compost such as John Innes potting compost No 3. This species is not successful in chilly homes or where temperatures fluctuate

widely, and the winter minimum must be rigidly observed.

In winter, water must be applied cautiously, and the compost only just prevented from drying out completely. In summer-and all the time active growth is being made – water can be given freely, particularly during the period of flowering. In summer, the plants should be given a shaded position and moved to full light during winter. Propagation can be effected from cuttings taken in spring. and also from seed sown at the same time. If the seed is reasonably fresh it is not difficult to germinate it on a window-sill. A temperature of 17 deg C (63 deg F) is required. Crossandras have few pest or disease troubles. Low temperature and an excessively dry atmosphere are the commonest cause of deterioration.

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