Firecracker Vine Plant - How To Care For Firecracker Vines

Firecracker Vine Plant
(Image credit: Tom Meaker)

Whether you know it as Spanish firecracker vine, love vine, or fire plant, Ipomoea lobata is a summer to fall flowering plant with brilliant red blooms that somewhat resemble a firecracker. You may grow the firecracker vine plant in the ground or in a container.

What is a Spanish Firecracker Vine?

Related to many vigorous vining plants such as morning glory in the Ipomoea family, the firecracker vine is a showy, twining annual perfect for growing up a sturdy fence or trellis in a full sun area.

Also referred to as exotic love vine, this plant was originally called Mina lobata and retains this name with many gardeners. Banana shaped blooms grow together on one side of the branches, earning it the common name of Spanish flag too. Don’t confuse the Ipomoea firecracker vine with Russelia equisetiformis, which is also called firecracker plant.

This plant is frost tender and bloom time often depends on where it is growing. It will bloom in any location when enough warmth is given. In the warmer parts of the U.S., blooms may begin in spring and don’t stop until late summer. This creates a long range of bloom times. Blooms are tubular and grow in clusters.

How to Care for Firecracker Vines

Plant the vine into a full sun location when temperatures warm in your area. Rich, well-draining soil is recommended. Work in finished compost to make the soil more fertile if needed.

Water regularly until the plant is established, usually a few weeks for firecracker vine. Once established, the plant is somewhat drought tolerant but performs best with regular watering and consistent moisture. It can take occasional wet soil.

This plant attracts bees and hummingbirds and is a great addition to a pollinator garden. Fertilize regularly for the best show of blooms.

Firecracker vine care may include pruning for a later display of blooms. If plants are thick and heavy, prune back in early to midsummer so the autumn blooms have time to develop. Unless you have the time to prune regularly, avoid growing this vine on a weak structure.

Becca Badgett

Becca Badgett was a regular contributor to Gardening Know How for ten years. Co-author of the book How to Grow an EMERGENCY Garden, Becca specializes in succulent and cactus gardening.