Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Firecracker Fern

Fern, Fire Cracker Russelia equisetiformis  (2017)
3ft x 3ft Needs moderately rich, well-drained soils; not a true fern; attracts hummingbirds; prune spent flower stalks

It produces new growth from the roots and spreads to about 3′ wide. When young, the plants have small, almost round leaves tucked in tightly along the thin green stems. As the plant matures, these leaves become insignificant, most of them dropping off, leaving the stem to conduct photosynthesis and feed the plant.

Shearing back the stems once flowers are spent will encourage more blooming, and a heavier shearing in late winter, back to about six inches or all the way to the ground if there was complete winter dieback, will thoroughly reinvigorate this aggressive grower.

Notes: Purchased my first fern in 2017 and my second in 2018.  In its first year, the firecracker fern did not grow much.  I remember last year (2018), it was one of the last plants to bud with tiny green shoots appearing in mid-march.  March 2019, I see no sign of it, but with that late freeze, I am hoping that it is still hanging on, and I will see some shoots in the next few weeks.

The 2017 purchase grew a little last year, and actually bloomed for a little bit.  But it has yet to get more than a foot in size.

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