Scientific: Justicia spicigera (also known as J. ghiesbreghtiana)
Common: Firecracker plant, Mexican honeysuckle, desert honeysuckle
Family: Acanthaceae
Origin: Mexico

Pronounciation: Jus-TIS-ee-a spi-sa-JER-a

Hardiness zones:
Sunset 12-24
USDA 9-11

Landscape Use: Accent shrub, informal hedge, foundation plantings, large scale ground cover, habitat gardens, great for oasis design themes.

Form & Character: Rounded, bright and cheerful in flower, sometimes open and sparse if under watered or leggy if overwatered.

Growth Habit: Evergreen, mostly herbaceous perennial shrub, Slow to establish, moderate to 3 to 5 feet in height with equal to greater spread.

Foliage/texture: Opposite, light green scabrous ovate leaves to 2 inches long, veins prnounced, stems pubescent; medium texture.

Flowers & fruits: Orange tubular flowers in terminal clusters; fruit inconspicuous.

Seasonal color: Flowers sporadically during warm season.

Temperature: Heat loving, tolerant to 26oF

Light: Full sun to partial shade, avoid western summer sun. Full shade causes dispersed rank growth.

Soil: Firecracker plant does not tolerate caliche soil and is sensitive to high levels of salt in soil. Soil must be well drained.

Watering: Will tolerate some drought, but looks substantially better with regular ample water....overwatering inhibits flowering.

Pruning: Easily manipulated, best to lightly head back during late winter.

Propagation: Easy by vegetative stem cuttings.

Disease and pests: White flies, root rot, ....and more white flies.

Additional comments: Hummingbirds frequent firecracker plant intensely when in flower. Firecracker plant is a an oasis or mesic shrub substitute for chuparosa (J. californica) when hummingbirds are wanted in the landscape. In Phoenix, fertilize once a year in the late winter with a complete fertilizer plus micronutrients to the improve the overall appearance of this plant.