Russelia equisetiformis is a small evergreen shrub native to Central America. It has thin, green, fleshy, very branched stems, which grow a prostrate growth, covered with small lanceolate leaflets, bright green; when the climate is mild it is covered with a myriad of small tubular flowers of bright orange color, the flowering begins in February and lasts until autumn, it is not infrequent that the plant is in bloom throughout the year. For a more compact vegetation and abundant blooms it is advisable to prune the plant in early spring, shortening the twigs by one third of their total length. R. campechiana has lilac flowers.
There russelia equisetiformis prefers very bright locations, possibly in full sun or partial shade. It fears the cold and in autumn it should be sheltered indoors, not bearing temperatures below 10 ° C. In spring and summer it can be placed outside, taking care to place it in a place sheltered from the wind, and to shade it in the hottest periods of the year. Direct exposure to the sun's rays could cause the leaves to yellow or even burn them.
The species of Russelia equisetiformis need abundant and regular watering, especially in the vegetative periods, from February to October, avoid letting the soil excessively dry; It is important to keep it always rather humid. These are large plants that can withstand even brief periods of drought. Every 15-20 days, add fertilizer for flowering plants to the irrigation water.
Needs loose, well-drained soils, very rich in organic matter. An optimal compote can be prepared by mixing balanced soil, humus and sand, without forgetting to place a layer of expanded clay or perlite on the bottom of the pot, to increase drainage. The fertilizer must be administered to the plant every two weeks, but reducing the doses compared to what is noted on the fertilizer packages.
If you want to get more vigorous and flower-rich plants, pruning will certainly be a necessary operation. The best time to make it is winter. It is also important to eliminate dry or manually damaged leaves to avoid the onset of fungal diseases and the development of parasites.
The reproduction of the plant can take place by seed, but usually it tends to multiply the Russelias by cuttings, in spring. If the plants grow excessively you can also proceed with the propagation by division of the tufts, taking care to leave vigorous roots in each portion practiced, the individual parts resulting from the division are immediately placed in a single container and watered abundantly. In any case, the most appreciated method to obtain new species is the cutting. Thanks to this technique, it will be possible to obtain identical plants to the mother at virtually no cost. Always use clean and well sharpened work tools to prevent plant tissues from fraying and giving rise to diseases.
Russelia equisetiformis: Pests and diseases
the Russelias fear aphids, cochineal and root rot very much.