Russelia equisetiformis: Fountain bush

Family: Plantaginaceae
Common name: Fountain bush, Firecracker plants, Coralblows, Coral plant, Coral fountain, Fountain plant

Russelia or Fountain bush is a beautiful ornamental plant for your garden, with their beautiful, drooping branches filled with bright, red flowers. The plants only grow to a height of 1-1.5 meters, with heavily-branched stems which cover a width of 2-4 meters.

Fountain bush leaves are tiny, oval-shaped, and bright green, about 1-1.5 cms long and .5 cm wide. The stems grow erect initially, but droop as they grow longer, giving the plant a fountain-like appearance.

Flowers are borne at the tip of the stem – long, tubular, red flowers that are about 2-3 cms long. Fountain bush flowers always grow in clusters, each branch having 30 to 50 flowers and each individual stem having 1-3 flowers.

Leaves are almost inconspicuous at the end of the stem, but a few scale-like leaves might be present. Flowers having elongated corolla tubes and dark red sepals. Sepals and styles persists after the flowers falls off, later developing into small, brown fruits 3-5mm in diameter. These fruits contain tiny brown seeds.

Due to their good spread, a single plant can cover a pot or a large area of the garden with beautiful flowers. They attract birds, bees, butterflies and ants that help pollinate the flowers. Fountain bush plants also look beautiful in hanging baskets, pots and window ledges.

There are some cultivars with white and pink flowers as well, all of them blooming throughout the year in warm, tropical weather. Fountain bush plants need very little maintenance and care, thriving and blooming in most growing conditions. They are drought-tolerant and can survive in partial shade.

These plants are also called firecracker plants just like Crossandra Infundibuliformis; and Russelia flowers look more like firecrackers than Crossandra flowers.

Fountain bush plants do not take to cold weather, and must be brought inside the house for winters. They have escaped from cultivation, and is considered an invasive weed in some countries, though most gardeners love them as ornamental plants. Russelia plants can be pruned well to keep them from becoming leggy and long.

Propagation is through stem cuttings or seeds. The plant is capable of rooting at the nodes when their long stems trail along the ground.

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