Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Firespike (Odontonema strictum) is a great plant for light shade. In Louisiana, Zone 8, it is herbaceous (dies to ground in winter, comes back in spring) and blooms in late summer. Usually this plant would be loaded with flowers, but mine only has one flower. The problem? Too much shade! I planted a few of these under the eave of my house, but that spot turned out to be too shady. I need to move it where it will get some morning sun.

Here is a close up of the flower spike. Hummingbirds love Firespikes! My first encounter with Firespikes was at LSU (I went to LSU for graduate school for horticulture). One day I decided to take a break from thesis writing and walk around the horticulture building. The entire building has landscaping around it and its a mixture of native and tropical plants. Because of their showy red flowers, the Firespikes stood out from the surrounding plants. They look great in mass plantings!

That evening I got a handful of Firespike cuttings. They are very easy to root! Now, 2 years later, they are just now starting to bloom. Hopefully next summer they will bloom while the hummingbirds are here to enjoy them.

1 comment:

  1. This is one of my very favorites and they are blooming like crazy all around the yard. We had such a horrible freeze in January, I had worried that these would up and die. I know now that they are good down to 21 degrees. That's my kind of tropical!!! BTW: I root about 2 or 3 new ones each year to boost the population. I think they are native to the Gulf Coast of Mexico, but not certain of this.
    David/ Tropical Texana