Firecracker Flower (Crossandra infundibuliformis) exuding sunshine and warmth!

Firecracker Flower (Crossandra infundibuliformis) –

Crossandra infundibuliformis 'Lutea' (Yellow Crossandra)It is such an interesting and fascinating shrub, that blooms almost unceasingly throughtout the year.

This lovely cultivar, Crossandra infundibuliformis ‘Lutea’ or Yellow Crossandra with deep rich yellow flowers, glowing above its lustrous deep green foliage is simply stunning to say the least.

Our outer garden borderThey exude such warmth and sunshine all year round in our tropical garden with their burst of bright and brilliant colors.

We’re thrilled that it can tolerate full sun. That at least gave us some leeway to plant this lovely bush in our outer garden plot which is blasted by the afternoon sun. Not many plants can survive in that blinding heat, there were many casualties!

Plant Profile, Culture and Propagation :

  • Botanical Name: Crossandra infundibuliformis (synonym: Crossandra undulifolia)
  • Common Name: Firecracker Flower, Firecracker Plant, Kanakambaram (in tamil), Crossandra (with name of flower color as prefix, such as Yellow, Red, Salmon or Orange)
  • Family name: Acanthaceae
  • Plant type: A tropical flowering perennial shrub, native to Southern India, Sri Lanka and Tropical Africa.
  • Light: Full sun to semi-shade.
  • Moisture: Regular watering moderately. Do not let soil dry out between waterings and maintain relatively high humidity. One way is to let your potted plant sit atop small stones laid on a tray of water. Or regular misting of their foliage is encouraged, never on their delicate blooms though.
  • Soil: Well-drained fairly fertile soil. Preferably equal parts of loam and peat moss, plus sand for good drainage.
  • Propagation: Propagation by tip or stem cuttings, taken when pruning plant in Spring or germination of seeds. It self-sows readily too.
  • Crossandra infundibuliformis 'Lutea' (Yellow Crossandra)Features: Crossandra infundibuliformis is a small evergreen ornamental shrub that is relatively low. It grows to a height of 1-3 feet, depending on the cultivar and spread as wide.
    Firecracker Flower as commonly named, grows vigorously in the Tropics where there is abundant rain, sun and humidity.
    Budding spike of Firecracker FlowerFoliage is dark green and glossy, with oval (some have ruffled) leaves, about 2-5 inches long. The flowers are unusually shaped with asymmetrical petals spreading to form a 3-5 lobed disk, arising from slender 0.75-1 inch long corolla tubes that sprout from 4-6 inch long four-sided spikes.
    Flower colors range from the common orange to salmon-orange or apricot, coral to red, yellow and even turquoise. Their fragile flowers are easily damaged by rain, otherwise can be quite long-lasting.
    These low ornamental shrubs are generous bloomers all year round, often beginning to bloom when only a few inches tall.
  • Usage: Crossandra infundibuliformis will make excellent container or tub plants for patios and decks. Popularly grown indoors as a flowering houseplant, especially the dwarf cultivar that grows not taller than 1.5 feet. Being compact and small, it would be ideal outdoors in landscape gardening or borders with a mixed crowd of annuals or perennials. Great shrub for hedges and fencing too.
    In India, the orange flowers of Kanakambaram or Firecraker Plant are favorites with the ladies, to adorn their hair or tied with jasmine flowers and offered in temples.
    It is most attractive to insect pollinators such as the butterflies and dragonflies. Sharing here an image of the fabulous Crimson Dropwing dragonfly and another of the Clouded Skipper, Lerema accius that visited our Firecracker Plants. :)

    Trithemis aurora (Crimson or Dawn Downwing) with wings spread out, resting on Crossandra 'Lutea' Lerema accius (Clouded Skipper) on light yellow Crossandra
  • Care: Firecracker Flower is quite an easy plant to maintain. Provide sufficient water, bright light and high humidity, as well as feed fortnightly with a balanced fertilizer, half the recommended strength, and it will be a happy bloomer throughout the year. It is sturdy and a survivor, so do trim often to keep it tidy, bushy and compact. It is least bothered by pests and diseases, though do check their leaves for spider mites and white flies occasionally to prevent infestation.
  • For temperate zones: Hardiness – USDA Zone 10a, 10b and 11. Locate in high light, preferably south window in winter and bright indirect light the rest of the year for best flowering. Summer outdoors in partial shade or full sun. Minimum winter temperature 55 degrees F and avoid drafts. More information at Dave’s Garden and here

These are some of the Crossandra infundibuliformis cultivars :

There is another plant Dichelostemma ida-maia, bearing the same common name (Firecracker Flower) as Crossandra infundibuliformis. Without doubt, the former with its stunning cluster of deep crimson tubular flowers and cuffed apple green, resembles the firecrackers perfectly, hence the common name. Just be sure, you’re buying your correct plant! :D

More Firecracker Flower (Crossandra) pictures grown in our garden and elsewhere:

Crossandra infundibuliformis 'Lutea'
Crossandra ‘Lutea’
- with bright deep rich yellow flowers
Crossandra infundibuliformis/undulifolia 'Lutea' (Yellow Crossandra)
Crossandra ‘Lutea’
- with bright deep rich yellow flowers
2-tone yellow Crossandra (Firecracker Flower), in our garden
Crossandra (cultivar unknown?)
- with 2-toned yellow flowers
Skipper butterfly on 2-tone yellow Crossandra, in our garden
Crossandra (cultivar unknown?)
- with 2-tone yellow flowers
Crossandra 'Tropic Flame' at a local nursery
Crossandra ‘Tropic Flame’
- with vibrant orange-salmon flowers
Crossandra 'Tropic Flame' at a local nursery
Crossandra ‘Tropic Flame’
- with vibrant orange-salmon flowers

Last edited: April 30 2009

Jacq's Signature

Tags: , , , , , , ,


28 Responses to “Firecracker Flower (Crossandra infundibuliformis) exuding sunshine and warmth!”

  1. Bret Goodwin Says:

    Where can I find seeds for purchase on the Crossandra. I’ve looked but cannot find.

    Your garden is beautiful!!

  2. Jacqueline Says:

    Hi Bret,
    Thanks for the compliment. I am sorry though that I’m unable to answer your enquiry about the seeds.

  3. Sam Monroe Says:

    Where can i purchase some crossandra plants

  4. Martie Says:

    I just purchased 2 beautiful plants yesterday at Home Depot (Jacksonville, FL). Mine are the “Orange Marmalade” crossandra.

  5. sudha Says:

    where can i buy yellow crossandra palnt

  6. sri Says:

    Hi!,
    Nice pictures. I have a small plant about 3 in. how long will it take to grow big and flower?
    Thank You
    sri

  7. Jacqueline Says:

    Thanks for the compliment, Sri.
    From our experience, this plant starts to flower even as a very young plant, less than 10″ tall and is a vigorous grower in good growing conditions.

  8. Marilyn Says:

    I have a large bed of crossandras that are seemingly unhappy. We have had abundant rain showers, I have fertilized with liquid MIracle Grow and with time released fertilizer and the plants are not blooming. The bloom shoots appear, but die before they flower. No apparent insects …. I’m baffled. Any ideas?? I live in Central Florida. Thanks.

  9. Ceci Cox Says:

    For those folks having difficulty finding this plant, I purchased mine at Trader Joe’s Market in San Jose, California. It has been blooming non-stop since I bought it in Oct. ’09. We live in zone 9 so I’m reluctant to transplant it outdoors, as our nights get down to well below 55ยบ. It is thriving near a south-east facing window. In spring I’ll try some rooted cuttings outdoors as an experiment. Good luck and Happy New Year 2010!

    Ceci Cox

  10. Padma Says:

    Hi Ceci,

    I also live in San Jose and am wondering whether you would be kind enough to share crossandra seeds (if you have any) or at least rooted cutting?

    thanks
    Padma

  11. Lakshmi Says:

    I would like if you can share crossandra seeds or cuttings with me.

  12. Jacqueline Says:

    Sorry, Lakshmi! We don’t do this!

  13. Crossandra fan Says:

    I bought 10 plants in Home depot last week. They are very pretty

  14. Jacqueline Says:

    All the best and happy gardening, Crossandra fan!

  15. Sheila Clark Says:

    I have bought some Crossandra Plants, the Tropical Flame Some from A garden center, and some from our local market.
    The ones from the garden center are doing fine but the ones from the local market are not so good,I have lost one and another one seems to be going the same way ie : The leaves are drooping and starting to curl up Could you tell me what could be wrong with these. Many Thanks Sheila

  16. cathy Says:

    Beautiful plant–can’t talk now I have to run to the nursery to get it. :)

  17. dinesh Says:

    flower photo is beutifull send me

  18. Dianne Says:

    I am wondering whether or not I should cut off the stock that the flowers bloomed along as nothing is coming from them anymore. There is another bloom on the plant which came out on a single stem – not like the previous blooms which bloomed all around a stock. Am wondering what to do with those stocks when they stop blooming. Mine is a houseplant – I live in Canada so would never put it out as it wouldn’t survive the winters.

  19. maggie Says:

    I have the same question as Dianne .

    I have lots of plants and hundreds of suckers from seeds but not much blooms on th e old plants.Also some of the leaves have gone pale green. Wonder if it is a disease? I live in the Caribbean.

  20. Jeanne Says:

    I have the same question as Maggie & Dianne. Do I cut off the stock after the flowers have bloomed? Do they sap energy from the rest of the plant once that stem has finished its blooming?

  21. Crossandra flowers | Letsbuildafutu Says:

    […] Firecracker Flower (Crossandra infundibuliformis) exuding sunshine …Apr 4, 2008 … Firecracker Flower (Crossandra infundibuliformis) – It is such an interesting and fascinating shrub, that blooms almost unceasingly throughtout … […]

  22. Virginia Says:

    How do I acquire the seeds from the buds once the flower dies?

  23. Jacqueline Says:

    Hi Virginia! Just allow the spent flower heads to remain on the plant until they turn into brown seed pods that contain the seeds.

  24. kati Says:

    I planted my new plants a month ago. All flowers are spent and seed have started. how do I get the plant to bloom again? Should I prune the spend flower heads or leeave on the plant for them?

  25. Jacqueline Says:

    Kati… if you don’t intend to harvest the seeds, you can prune the spent flower heads to encourage new branches which will result in more blooms.

  26. Dr T Shivashankar Says:

    I have found a new pest (in this area seen for the first time) feeding on the flower buds of Crossandra in Mandya district of Karnataka, INDIA. It appears to be a orange colored maggot belonging to Diptera. The incidence is almost 100% in all flowers. The symptom includes shrivelling and unfurling of flowers coupled with rotting at the base of the flower. Is there any one working on this pest for future management.

  27. Dorne Says:

    I am in the Dominican Republic, the Caribbean. Several friends and myself bought Crossandra plants, large ones. They were in full flower. We were told it liked shade and was a good house plant. The flowers eventually died and the plants would not re-bloom.
    Then a lady from Florida told us she grew it there. Put it in full sun she said. I was apprehensive but did it. YES ! blooms non stop and in the Dominican sun too, really hot. All over the internet it says shade… don’t believe it. They florish and flower in full sun.
    Dorne

  28. Jacqueline Says:

    You’re absolutely right, Dorne… this lovely shrub simply adores full sun! Thank you very much for sharing your experiences and success.
    Happy gardening!

Welcome! You are valuable to us and we love to hear from you. Leave us a comment or share your experiences. Also, please inform us if you find a broken link in any of our articles. Thank you.