Ixora is a tropical to semi-tropical evergreen shrub that is suitable for landscapes in USDA zones 9 and above. The plant is often grown as an annual in temperate and cooler climates. Ixora shrubs are known for their large corymbs of bright florets. The large flower clusters come in red, orange, yellow, and pink, and it’s also known as jungle flame and flame of the woods. Minimal maintenance is needed when growing an Ixora bush. Learn how to grow Ixora as part of your tropical or summer garden.
About Ixora Shrubs
If you don’t live in Florida or any other warm weather state, you may not know about Ixora shrubs. The plant can be used in other zones as an annual or as a container plant that gets moved indoors when cold temperatures threaten.
The plant has glossy leathery leaves that are oval shaped and stiff. The plant is similar in appearance to and related to the gardenia. Blooms are clusters of four petaled florets which can last four to six weeks on the stem. Flowers are most prolific in summer but can also appear at other times of the year.
How to Grow Ixora
The best floral displays are produced by Ixora grown in full sun situations. Well-drained soil and moderate to slightly acidic pH is crucial to growing an Ixora bush. The plant develops chlorosis when installed in alkaline soils.
Keep the soil evenly moist and prune the plant when it gets unruly. Ixora responds well to shearing and makes an excellent low hedge with its 4 to 6 foot (1-2 m.) height. Propagation of the shrub is through stem cuttings which can be rooted with the help of a rooting hormone.
The flowers also occasionally produce a dark purple to black berry with seeds that are sometimes viable. Clean the pulp off the seed and soak it overnight. Plant in a 2 inch (5 cm.) pot filled with good seed starter mix. Moisten the mixture and fasten a plastic bag over the pot. Place in a warm location with moderate light. Keep the pot moist and move it to bright light as soon as the seed has germinated.
Care of Ixora Plant
Ixora plant care is negligible, which makes it useful as part of the low maintenance landscape. Annual spring pruning and fertilizing will enhance the plant’s health.
Some diseases that are common are fungal but can be minimized by suspending overhead watering. Water only the root zone to prevent the foliage from getting wet.
Use a 2 to 3 inch (5-8 cm.) layer of mulch around the root zone to prevent competitive weeds, enhance water retention, and add organic nutrients to the soil.
Care of Ixora plants in containers requires re-potting every two to three years. Bring the shrubs indoors if any frost is predicted. The plants are extremely tender and will succumb to freezing temperatures.