How To Grow and Care for Ixora (Ixora coccinea)

Ixora plants are the perfect addition to any tropical garden planting scheme, producing striking red flowers against bright green leaves.

However, they need certain conditions to thrive, as they are used to the balmy areas of Southern parts of India, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh. 

But that doesn’t mean you can’t grow them in colder areas, but you will have to treat them a little differently than most shrubs.

Let’s take a look.

At A Glance: What You Should Know About Ixora

Ixora coccinea goes by several common names. You may know it as pendkuli, jungle flame, jungle geranium, or flame of the woods.

This particular shrub hails from the coffee plant family, Rubiaceae. In warmer climates, this plant is a beautiful evergreen, usually reaching between 4 and 6 feet high, though some plants have reached as tall as 12 feet.

If you’re looking for something smaller, there are dwarf cultivars to choose from, too, and these stay under 3 feet tall more often than not.

But the real star of this plant is the flowers.

Ixora Flowers

In balmy areas, brilliant red flowers appear in globular clusters almost year-round, and these groups of flowers can reach nearly 13cm wide, making for a spectacular display. 

There are other colors available too, depending on the cultivar, and these include yellow, pink, and orange. 

How To Grow Ixora

If you know someone who already has an Ixora plant, and they are willing to give you a cutting, you’re in luck! The best way to propagate this plant is to take stem cuttings during the summer.

Forget about trying to grow them from seed – it’s tricky to do at the best of times, and you’re more likely to fail than succeed. 

You need rich, well-draining soil to grow this plant well, and one thing they absolutely will not tolerate is alkaline soil, so keep this in mind. The pH should be between neutral and slightly acidic for best results.

As they hail from balmy areas, Ixora plants like the atmosphere to be on the humid side, and you will need to give them plenty of water during dry spells. 

They will grow in partial shade, but you will get the absolute best out of these plants in full sunlight, where they will produce the most flowers possible.

If you live somewhere where the sun gets particularly fierce, it’s helpful to give them some shade during the afternoon, as this gives them a respite from the harsh rays. 

When you’re wanting to grow them outside all year round, they will survive in USDA zones 9B, 10, and 11. It’s worth noting that zone 9B isn’t a complete guarantee, however.

Ixora is a tropical plant that needs some humidity in order to survive, and while it will withstand a little drought, it won’t cope with prolonged dry spells. 

It’s also worth remembering that this plant hasn’t adapted to salty soil or the harsh conditions that coastal areas can throw at a plant, so you might want to keep it in a pot in sheltered conditions if this sounds like your area.

How To Grow Ixora In Cold Areas

If your environment doesn’t match the native conditions that Ixora plants are used to, don’t scratch this plant off your list just yet. 

If you keep Ixora in a container rather than in the ground, you will be able to bring the plant indoors over the winter, eliminating the need to get a new one each year. 

When you do bring it indoors, you will need to give it as much light as possible, some humidity, and keep it out of drafts.

How To Get The Best Out Of Ixora Plants

Growing Ixora requires some patience, as they aren’t the fastest growing plant out there. To increase the amount of show-stopping flowers this plant can produce, cut off spent flower heads as soon as they fade.

This will help the plant produce more flowers. You can also prune the plant so that the growth becomes denser, but avoid overdoing it, as this can discourage the plant from flowering.

Ixora plants have a good level of resistance to both pests and disease, but that doesn’t mean they are completely invulnerable. 

The best cure is prevention, so give them plenty of space for air to circulate around the plant, and only water the base of the plant, which stops mold from developing.

Aphids can also be a problem. One of the best ways to stop aphids is to companion plant – planting flowers like marigolds nearby, which masks the smell of the Ixora plant. 

What To Use Ixora Plants For

In warmer climates, this plant is a great hedge or privacy screen. In cooler areas, Ixora plants work perfectly as a potted plant. Wherever you choose to plant them, they attract lots of pollinators.

Other Things To Consider When Growing Ixora

Growth Habit

Ixora is a fairly slow-growing plant, so if you’re in a hurry, it’s best to buy an established plant.

Toxicity

Ixora is classified as non-toxic, so it’s perfect for gardens that have pets or children.

Your Climate

Before planting Ixora in the ground, make sure that it can survive in your area year-round. If there is any doubt, plant it in a container instead.

Final Thoughts

Ixora is a beautiful plant that doesn’t require a lot of attention, and will provide your garden with plenty of color. 

The only thing you need to be mindful of is its intolerance of cold temperatures, so keep it in a container if you live somewhere cold, and overwinter it indoors.

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