The Ixora is a popular warm climate landscaping plant. Also known as Flame of the Woods, Jungle Flame, or Jungle Geranium, the Ixora is a fairly small shrub that produces clusters of small brilliant flowers for most of the year. Ixora can only be grown in tropical or sub-tropical areas of the country or indoors as a potted plant. This article will offer tips on how to grow your very own Ixora.
The Ixora comes from a genus of over 400 species but only a few are commonly cultivated. The plant is a dense multi-branched shrub that average 4-6 feet at full height and may be wider than it is tall. It is an evergreen plant with a rounded form. Its glossy, oblong leaves are carried in opposite pairs or whorled around long stems. The flowers come in yellow, pink, red, and orange and form 2-5 inch diameter clusters at the end of the stems. The dwarf varieties are very popular and usually stay under 3 feet in height.
For the best results, plant the Ixora where it will receive direct sunlight for most of the day. The more sun the better as the Ixora will be denser, more compact and produce more flowers. The plants like a well-drained, moist, acidic soil that is high in organic materials. To prepare the soil add some organic compost and peat moss and mix thoroughly. The Ixora is intolerant of alkaline soils that will cause the leaves to become chlorotic or a sickly yellow color. Use mulch to keep the soil moist and keep away from concrete and stucco runoff areas. The key to the Ixora is sun and acidic soil so find make sure you find the right spot.
Maintaining the Ixora is quite simple. They drink lots in the summer and need water regularly but only need water sparingly in the winter. The plants are hardy in USDA Zones 9-11 but if temperatures drop below 40 -degrees F, leaves and stems will be damaged. Light freezes may kill the plant to the ground but it should sprout back to life in the spring. When the forecast calls for cold temperatures cover the plants to reduce the damage. The soil around the plant should be kept moist, so mulch thoroughly. Fertilize the plant monthly in the summer with a high nitrogen fertilizer to aid in the formation of new flower buds. Prune the plant at will as the tight, compact shrub is heavily branched and tolerates hard pruning. This is why the Ixora is such a popular choice for formal hedges.
As you can tell, growing Ixora is not complicated at all. Finding a nice sunny spot will probably be the most difficult task. Once it gets going, the Ixora is a wonderful plant to follow as it is always producing new flowers and looks delightful in any flower garden.