Crossandra (Firecracker Flower or Orange Marmalade) plant is very decorative, compact flowering shrub, easy to grow and care for, as long as it has sufficient water and humidity. They are excellent plants for growing in planters which can be brought indoors in the winter months and grown as an indoor plant.
Crossandra starts to flower when only a few months old and the flowering season lasts from March to October. The blooms are borne on top of green flowering spikes. The leaves of Crossandra are thick and glossy and slightly resemble the leaves of the coffee plant. In its native environment it is a vigorous and enthusiastic grower and its flowers are harvested for decorating women’s hair.
The disadvantage of Crossandra is its need for moist air – it will probably not survive unless frequently misted and surrounded by other plants. Remove dead blooms to prolong the flowering season. Shoots of evergreen species should be trimmed after the flowering period.
Crossandra makes a nice house plant that blooms year round if fertilized on a regular basis and placed in very bright light. Feed every 2 weeks with a soluble, house plant fertilizer that has been diluted by 50%.
Secret of success
Temperature: Average warmth, minimum 55°F in winter.
Light: Bright light; avoid direct sun in summer.
Water: Keep compost moist at all times ( it is a good idea to set the planter on top of a tray filled with moistened stones). Reduce watering in winter.
Planting: Seeds should be sown in early spring when temperatures average 60°F.
Repotting: Repot, if necessary, in spring.
Propagation: Take stem cuttings in summer. Use a rooting hormone and provide bottom heat.