Russelia Species, Red Firecracker Plant

Russelia sarmentosa

Family: Plantaginaceae
Genus: Russelia (russ-EL-ee-uh) (Info)
Species: sarmentosa (sar-men-TOH-suh) (Info)
Synonym:Russelia americana
Synonym:Russelia chiapensis
Synonym:Russelia colombiana
Synonym:Russelia flammea
Synonym:Russelia flavoviridis
View this plant in a garden


Tropicals and Tender Perennials

Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Sun to Partial Shade



This plant is resistant to deer

Foliage Color:



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)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:


Bloom Characteristics:

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

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Mid Summer

Late Summer/Early Fall

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

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


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

Palm Springs, California

Brooksville, Florida

Delray Beach, Florida

Hollywood, Florida

Jacksonville, Florida(2 reports)

Miami, Florida

Milton, Florida

Sarasota, Florida

Tampa, 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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Gardeners' Notes:


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.


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 babi... read more


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 d... read more


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.


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.