Justicia Species, Firecracker Plant, Mexican Honeysuckle, Orange Plume Flower

Justicia spicigera

Family: Acanthaceae (ah-kanth-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Justicia (jus-TEE-see-ah) (Info)
Species: spicigera (spik-EE-ger-uh) (Info)
Synonym:Jacobinia atramentaria
Synonym:Jacobinia spicigera
Synonym:Justicia atramentaria
Synonym:Justicia liebmanii
Synonym:Justicia scarlatina


Tropicals and Tender Perennials

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade



Foliage Color:



4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)


4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)


USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

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)

Where to Grow:

Grow outdoors year-round in hardiness zone



Bloom Color:


Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Blooms all year

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From softwood cuttings

By simple layering

Seed Collecting:

Bag seedheads to capture ripening seed

Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds

Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Chandler, Arizona

Mesa, Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona(2 reports)

Tucson, Arizona(2 reports)

Eureka, California

Rancho Palos Verdes, California

Vista, California(9 reports)

Delray Beach, Florida

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Fort Pierce, Florida

Hollywood, Florida

Jacksonville, Florida

Lake Worth, Florida

Pompano Beach, Florida

Port Saint Lucie, Florida

Riverview, Florida

Saint Petersburg, Florida

Umatilla, Florida

West Palm Beach, Florida

Zephyrhills, Florida(2 reports)

Douglas, Georgia

Mcdonough, Georgia

Lake Charles, Louisiana

Marrero, Louisiana

New Orleans, Louisiana

Opelousas, Louisiana

Youngsville, Louisiana

Las Vegas, Nevada

Albuquerque, New Mexico

La Luz, New Mexico

Conway, South Carolina

Angleton, Texas

Aransas Pass, Texas

Austin, Texas(3 reports)

Brownsville, Texas

Burleson, Texas

Conroe, Texas

Desoto, Texas

Edinburg, Texas

Fort Worth, Texas

Galveston, Texas

Hallettsville, Texas

Hargill, Texas

Harlingen, Texas

Houston, Texas(2 reports)

Kerrville, Texas

Lake Jackson, Texas

League City, Texas

Liberty Hill, Texas(2 reports)

Los Fresnos, Texas

Missouri City, Texas

Nome, Texas

Richmond, Texas

San Antonio, Texas(2 reports)

San Benito, Texas

Schertz, Texas

Spring, Texas

Valley Mills, Texas

Victoria, Texas

Weatherford, Texas

Willis, Texas

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Sep 9, 2020, DDruff from Mesa, AZ (Zone 9a) wrote:

Weak and fragile in the high desert of the Phoenix area, these cant take the summer heat even in full afternoon shade. They tend to recover in fall but grow so slowly it is a losing battle to nurture a decently sized mature plant.


On Mar 23, 2015, vossner from East Texas,
United States (Zone 8a) wrote:

Easy plant, showy. Mine is planted in amended clay soil, full sun. I watered regularly when newly planted but once established it seems to fend for itself.


On Oct 17, 2011, erinbee from Las Vegas, NV wrote:

Justicia spicigera grows well in my garden in Las Vegas, NV, (eastern Mojave Desert). But for most of this blooming season, I have noticed that it won't flower if too much shade. It is planted in a couple of different areas under trees, however, the trees have increased foliage and canopy. I am hoping this is the problem with its lack of blooming. Yesterday (10/16/2011) I divided one of my clumps and replanted a large portion of this plant in a more sunny area, with late afternoon shade. Fingers crossed this gets it blooming again!


On Dec 13, 2006, Kylie2x from Millsap, TX wrote:

I think this is a very under rated plant. I am a z7 and we grow this plant in areas that are designed for little watering but it also preforms beautifully in areas were trop's are grown with lots of water..This is the 3rd year to have them .I have taken cuttings that are in the house and are beginnging to bloom.


On May 18, 2005, txboy65 from Austin, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

I received this plant from a friend in Houston several years ago. It is in a raised bed near the street and blooms all of the time. This Winter wasn't terribly cold, but there were several days where there was sleet and a bit of snow. It never died back. It even made it through a hail storm recently and just lost the flowers. I am looking forward to growing more of these and spreading them around the yard. The flowers are an amazing color of orange!


On Aug 12, 2003, htop from San Antonio, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

San Antonio, Texas
This plant is native to Mexico and naturalized in a few parts of south Texas. It is an excellent xeriscape plant and has grown in my mother's yard for 60 years with little care and water. I have grown this plant for 20 years in the hottest and driest part of my yard. It has been a "pass along" plant for generations and is now becoming available (although not readily) in garden centers. It has light to medium green, simple, velvety, ovate, slender, 3in long leaves, somewhat floppy branches and a mounding shape. The tubular flower clusters (to 1.5 inches) are a beautiful bright orange and appear on the terminal branches and bloom profusely from about June to the first freeze in my area. During mild winters, it will not be damaged and sometimes blooms off and on.... read more