Take one look at a crossandra and you will see why it has become known as the “Firecracker Flower”, the bright orange blooms bursting out above the dark green glossy foliage like a firework display. Even when not in bloom crossandras are attractive with their shiny leaves.
One great thing about this indoor plant is its ability to flower over a long period. The first buds should start to put in an appearance around March or early April and continue well into the autumn. The orange petals emerge from a green flower spike, starting at the bottom, continuing up the spike. When all the petals have died, cut the flower spike off and this will help to encourage new ones to form.
Crossandras come under the category of flowering houseplants and will thrive for many years in the house with the correct care. They enjoy a well-lit position but avoid a windowsill that receives direct summer sun.
Keep the compost moist allowing the pot to drain freely after watering. Add a high potash fertiliser to the water about once a fortnight during the flowering period. During winter reduce watering a little without letting the compost dry completely. An occassional feed with a high nitrogen fertiliser in late winter and early spring will encourage growth which in turn will lead to extra flowers.
Mist-spraying is important as Crossandras need moist air around them. Grouping them with other plants is beneficial as this naturally helps to increase air humidity.
Remove the plant from its pot in spring before flowering starts and repot in a slightly larger pot if there is alot of root visible. Otherwise, remove a little of the old compost and replace the plant in a clean pot of the same size and top up with fresh compost. A houseplant or multipurpose compost will be fine.