Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Red Firecracker Plant
Russelia sarmentosa

Family: Scrophulariaceae (skrof-yoo-larr-ee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Russelia (russ-EL-ee-uh) (Info)
Species: sarmentosa (sar-men-TOH-suh) (Info)

2 vendors have this plant for sale.

10 members have or want this plant for trade.

View this plant in a garden

Tropicals and Tender Perennials

36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun
Sun to Partial Shade

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:
Mid Summer
Late Summer/Early Fall


Other details:
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping
This plant is resistant to deer

Soil pH requirements:
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

Patent Information:
Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:
By dividing the rootball

Seed Collecting:
Collect seedhead/pod when flowers fade; allow to dry
Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds
Remove fleshy coating on seeds before storing

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to view:

By JaxFlaGardener
Thumbnail #1 of Russelia sarmentosa by JaxFlaGardener

By Kaufmann
Thumbnail #2 of Russelia sarmentosa by Kaufmann

By Gina_Rose
Thumbnail #3 of Russelia sarmentosa by Gina_Rose

By Kaufmann
Thumbnail #4 of Russelia sarmentosa by Kaufmann

By Gina_Rose
Thumbnail #5 of Russelia sarmentosa by Gina_Rose

By sunkissed
Thumbnail #6 of Russelia sarmentosa by sunkissed

By sunkissed
Thumbnail #7 of Russelia sarmentosa by sunkissed

There are a total of 11 photos.
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5 positives
No neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive CostaRica On Sep 15, 2012, CostaRica from Guayabo de Bagaces, Guanacaste
Costa Rica (Zone 10b) wrote:

This grows wild in Costa Rica and it seems to prefer very dry conditions. Often seen growing out from under boulders.
I have recently collected some from where it was growing in our neighborhood on deserted lots and in ditches and repotted them. Now they are producing more blooms which seem to be smaller than I see on internet photos.
Personally, I do prefer R. equisetiformis which I also grow, both red and white, but all are attractive to hummingbirds which is why I grow them.

Positive Sandwichkatexan On Jun 23, 2012, Sandwichkatexan from Copperas Cove, TX wrote:

I have 5 of these. One in a large whiskey barrel and the other 4 in the ground . For some reason the ones in the ground dont seem to be growing and spreading as much as the one in the barrel . The ones in the ground only get about 3 feet but get very wide and the one in the barrel shoots up large stems to about five feet and is taking over the entire planter . All have come back for two seasons in my zone 8a climate. I am trying to figure out why the one in the barrel is taking off and the ones in the ground are just average. I amend my soil with humus and sometimes manure if I can find it properly composted . the barrel is filled with the awful clay soil that I dug up from behind the house and it seems to love it . I think this is one of those plants that likes to be ignored and not babied. The one in the barrel also flowers a lot more than the ones in the beds . Perhaps they dont like to be in a bed with other perennials ? Or maybe they dont like too much root competition . Maybe next year in spring I will dig them all out of the beds and put them in very large containers . I love them because the hummingbirds love to battle over the plants and they do their aerial acrobatics right by the front porch . Does anyone with experience with this plant know why the one in the container is doing so well? I thought I had done everything wrong with it but its the biggest . I gave it awful soil ignore the heck out of it and its just taking off. Also what could I do woth the ones in the ground to make them do what the one in the barrel is doing . I am a very experienced gardener but this plant is just leaving me baffled . It seems to like to be ignored and abused .

Positive sunkissed On Jan 25, 2011, sunkissed from Winter Springs, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

I've had this plant in my garden for four seasons, It is a wonderful sight in late summer all the way through the first hard freeze. It will completely freeze to to the ground if temperatures dip below 32, but grows back fuller each spring. It now has spread of about five feet and flower spikes can reach to almost six foot. The flower spikes have a pretty thick stem and they slightly bend but never needing to be staked. Hummers and butterflies love this plant. I did try to propagate from the woody stems and they were taking hold but forgot to protect them in the cold...will see if they come up...I hope so because I've been unable to find another one of this plants.
Update: I've been successful in propagating cut stems in potted soil now several times. Woody stems with fresh growth do the best. I've yet to figure out what a seed pod looks like on this plant, I've never seen one, unless it is real tiny inside the flowers. If someone can give me information on the seed of this plant I'd be happy. Just Dmail me.

Positive Gina_Rose On Dec 29, 2006, Gina_Rose from Hollywood, FL (Zone 10b) wrote:

This plant blooms repeatedly, or all year in mild climates.

It loves pruning! It will grow back quickly from a prune and will put on another glorious display of flowering. It tends to flower better on newer growth... you can differentiate new growth from old growth by looking at the leaves; the leaves on old growth get reddish/brownish. Newer growth is also darker green.

Positive Kaufmann On Oct 19, 2003, Kaufmann from GOD's Green Earth
United States (Zone 8b) wrote:

This plant is quite similar to the Russelia Equisetiformis with the exception that it has round leaves about the size of a dime. The shape is similar to a fountain. They produce beautiful red tubular blossoms in the mid to late summer which attract hummingbirds. They are fairly common in this part of Texas.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Palm Springs, California
Delray Beach, Florida
Hollywood, Florida
Jacksonville, Florida (2 reports)
Miami, Florida
Sarasota, Florida
Tampa, Florida
Umatilla, Florida
Winter Springs, Florida (2 reports)
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
New Orleans, Louisiana
Conway, South Carolina
Bulverde, Texas
Copperas Cove, Texas
New Braunfels, Texas
Odessa, Texas

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