Winter hardy to USDA Zones 9-11. In St. Louis, grow in pots or hanging baskets which should be overwintered indoors. Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soils in full sun. Tolerates a wide range of soil moisture. Established plants tolerate some dry soils, but are best in medium moisture soils. Also grows well in moist soils at the periphery of ponds or water gardens. Site in locations sheltered from strong winds. Cascading stems may root where they touch the ground, either accidentally or by design, and new plants can be potted up when this occurs. Overwinter as a houseplant in a warm sun room (if well sited, it may continue to bloom throughout winter) or force into dormancy by cutting stems back hard and storing in a dark, cool, dry corner of a basement or frost free garage. Stems of overwintered houseplants may be pruned or cut back to the soil level in spring in advance of placing pots outdoors.
Russelia equisetiformis, commonly called coral plant, coral fountain or firecracker plant, is native to Mexico. It is a deciduous, asparagus-like, many-branched, tropical subshrub (to 4’ tall) with trailing rush-like 4-angled stems and bright red tubular firecracker-like flowers (to 1.25” long) in drooping terminal cymes. Blooms freely from late spring to frost. Needle-like medium green leaves (to 1/2” long). Flowers are attractive to hummingbirds. Synonymous with R. juncea.
Genus name honors Dr. Alexander Russell (c. 1715-1768), physician to the English Factory at Aleppo.
Specific epithet means like the genus Equisetum (horsetail).
No serious insect or disease problems.
In the St. Louis area, these plants grow well in hanging baskets, containers or sunk to the rim in garden areas. Containers may be set in the ground to cascade over walls or sunk in damp soils at the edge of ponds or water gardens. Stems may also be tied to a trellis up against a wall. Container plants are an excellent addition to a bird garden or rock garden.