Crossandra Firecracker flower
You have only to look at a Crossandra to realise how it got its common name of “Firecracker flower”, the orange flowers seem to burst out from the upright green flower spikes.
Crossandras ought to be more popular than they are really considering they are a long-lived plant, they are very attractive and have a long flowering season. Plants are usually available from late spring although Crossandras can be raised from spring-sown seed and they should flower during their first season. The plants are compact and quite slow growing.
The flower spikes are borne above dark green glossy foliage which requires moist air so remember to mist the plants regularly. Placing the pots on trays of damp pebbles will also help to increase the humidity around the plant. Also, as I very often mention, grouping your house-plants together is very beneficial. The flowering season extends from spring right through to autumn so Crossandras definitely rate high in the “flower power” category.
Aim to keep your plant in a warm position with a good light source, avoiding the strongest midday summer sun. Because Crossandras stay fairly compact, they do make great window-sill plants for east or west-facing windows. Move them to a lighter window-sill during winter.
Aim to keep the compost moist but, as with most flowering house-plants, ease of with the watering a little during winter.
Crossandras purchased in a 9 or 10cm. pot will probably be quite happy for a couple of years before they require a larger pot. Feed about every 3-4 weeks during the flowering period with a good house-plant fertiliser and remove the flowers as they fade for a continual display.
The “Firecrackear flower” may not exactly go off with a bang but it may just ignite a spark of originality in your window displays!