The Firecracker plant (Russelia equisetiformis), also known as the Coral plant or Fountain plant, is a warm weather subshrub well-known for its inch-long bright red flowers that resemble small firecrackers. The Firecracker plant, fast-growing and relatively easy to cultivate, is often grown in baskets indoors and in window boxes and patio containers outdoors. It also works very well as a specimen plant in the landscape, especially in raised beds. For outdoor perennial growth, it is limited to USDA Hardiness Zones 9 to 12. In cooler climates it should be grown as a houseplant.
The Firecracker plant grows to a height of about four feet. Its long, thin, wiry stems rise straight up from the ground before falling over in a weeping-type growth habit. The attractive green stems have tiny, scale-like leaves, but they remain essentially invisible. The tubular red firecracker-like flowers emerge on the ends of the stems in 12-inch sprays. Under the right conditions, the Firecracker plant will bloom straight through the year.
The Firecracker plant is typically available in containers from full-service garden centers and large commercial nurseries, especially in warmer regions. The plant can also be propagated from vegetative cuttings or by division. It is adaptable to most well-drained, rich soils. For a good potting soil, add equal parts loam and peat moss to a healthy measure of sand.
This plant requires significant direct sunlight each day, at least four hours but preferably more. If planting outdoors, select a site that is exposed to full daily sun for prolific, year-round blooming. Water your outdoor Firecracker plant regularly as it establishes itself in the landscape. Once established, it is very tolerant to drought and only requires periodic watering during hot, dry periods. Indoor Firecracker plants should be watered regularly, but only when the soil has been allowed to become somewhat dry.