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Ixora—How to Grow Ixora Plants

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Ixora—How to Grow Ixora Plants Photo © Jon VanZile
Ixora are not especially popular houseplants, but a well-grown specimen will definitely attract attention. There are about 400 species of ixora worldwide, but only one is commonly grown in most temperate and subtropical regions. These plants are small shrubs that feature large clusters of red, yellow, white or orange flowers that emerge like puffballs from the evergreen leaves in the summer. There is, however, a drawback: keeping an ixora happy and blooming inside is a challenge even for an experienced gardener.

Growing Conditions:

Light: Bright light, but avoid direct sunlight in summer.
Water: Keep soil continuously moist, but reduce watering in the winter. Very high humidity is preferred.
Temperature: Above 60ºF is preferred even in winter. Avoid cold drafts if temperature drops lower.
Soil: These acid-loving plants thrive in rich, moist, peat-based soil.
Fertilizer: Feed in spring with slow-release pellets or weekly during growing season with liquid fertilizer.

Propagation:

Take cuttings in the spring. Rooting ixora is difficult, and you might need rooting hormone and bottom heat for success.

Varieties:

There are about 400 species of ixora, but only the I. coccinea is commonly grown. In subtropical regions, they are used as a common hedge material and only occasionally appear in garden centers in more temperate areas.

Grower's Tips:

Ixora is fussy, tempermental plant. Even slight exposure to cold or moving the plant can cause it drop its leaves. Additionally, they need good air flow to avoid black sooty mold, which will dull their shiny leaves and eventually affect the plant's growth. Ideally, these are greenhouse or conservatory plants, where their blooms are a definite conversation piece. Beware, also, of aggressively trimming ixora. The best ixora are allowed to grow slightly wild so they reward their owners with a profusion of blooms.
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