September 26, 2012

Firecracker Fern, Russelia equisetiformis

Firecracker Fern, sometimes called Coral Plant came to me from Janie in Texas. Its Spanish name is aretes de la cocineta (cook's earrings). I thought it was tender and kept it in the greenhouse through a couple of winters.

Russellia equisetiformis with 1 inch firecracker blooms.

Last year I planted it with some Ghost Plant at the end of a flower bed. It kind of sulked there. I brought it inside again and this time I put what was left of it with more Graptopetalum in a flue tile between some Esperanza and Pride of Barbados, where it thrived.

Leftover flue tile that Gary dragged home from helping with some
Atlanta landscaping when he was in college, one of my treasures.
 
 
Potted up for winter and under mist for today.
 
Planting Graptopetalum with Firecracker Fern is not an original idea. I saw it in a blog somewhere, great wads of Russelia and Ghost Plant together on a slope. I'm putting an extra little plant in every flower pot this fall. Once I tried it, I noticed that plants seem to like companions.
 

A big piece broke off, now in a pot to root.
 
I'm not sure about rooting such a big piece. I'm curious about why instructions always say something like, 'take 3-4 inch pieces' and dust with rooting hormone before sticking. Is 3-4" the ideal size, or is it the very smallest for optimum growth when there is not an abundance of pieces to root?
 
I learned propagation from Miss Billie who always broke off huge, truly huge pieces of lush growth saying, "Here, stick this in the ground, it will root." Did Miss Billie whisper some incantation over those big limbs or was I just lucky?
 
One more thing: I read on a reliable source that cuttings of R. equisetiformis should be taken in spring. It didn't break in the spring. I take my pieces where they fall.
 
 
 

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