Quick Guide to the Firecracker Plant
The firecracker plant is an unusual flowering plant whose flowers look like fireworks bursting from the shrubby foliage. In fact, this plant got its name from the way the blooms blast up and out in all different directions from the base plant. This plant is more of a shrub because of its size, but it can be grown in pots, in the ground, indoors or out.
Firecracker Plant Facts
Firecracker plants are annuals, which means that they seed, bloom and die annually. As a result, they need to be replanted each year if they do not reseed themselves. Luckily, firecracker plants usually do their own reseeding and continue to grow year after year.
The firecracker is a bushy shrub with small dusty green leaves and tiny colored flowers that burst from the bush in a showy display. The flowers are usually red, but they can also be a light yellow shade that looks lovely next to the woody green leaves. This is more of a tropical plant that does well in the southern part of the United States, known as zones 9, 10 and 11. Of course, that does not mean firecrackers cannot be grown in cooler climates. This plant will grow in the house, and it does fine outside as long as it is planted after the last danger of frost passes.
Planting a Firecracker Plant
Firecracker plants like to be in full sun to partial shade, so take this into consideration when deciding where to place your firecracker. Whether choosing an indoor or outdoor location, be sure the plants will get full sun exposure for a good part of the day. Some shade is okay, but the majority of time should be spent in direct sunlight.
Firecrackers are a pretty hardy plant, but they still need a good potting soil to be sure they receive all of the nutrients they need. If planting firecracker plants in pots, any potting soil should work just fine. When planting outside, try mixing some potting soil and peat with the natural soil for optimum outdoor planting conditions.
Growing a Firecracker Plant
Firecracker plants are tropical, but not rain forest tropical. These plants need good soil drainage, so be sure the area around outside plantings drains well and is not prone to flooding. If your firecrackers are planted in pots, there should be drainage holes so they do not become waterlogged.
Firecrackers require regular watering, but use caution not to overdo it. Test the soil to make sure it is not too dry or too wet, and then begin a watering schedule based on your particular plant. As with most plants, some fertilizer is a good idea to keep them healthy and happy. A regular feeding treating every 2 weeks is the general rule for firecracker plants. Some growers recommend weekly feeding in the summer when the plant is in bloom. Again, let your plant be your guide.
Firecracker plants make great ground cover, because they spread out nicely and bloom continually from late spring through early fall. Most firecrackers will grow to a height of approximately 2-feet, but some specimens can reach heights of 4 or 5-feet when the conditions are just right.
Another reason many gardeners enjoy firecracker plants is that this flowering bush attracts butterflies, bees and many types of birds, including hummingbirds, which are a garden favorite. Their ease of care make them a very good choice for even beginning gardeners as well.