Flame Anisacanthus, Hummingbird Bush, Desert Honeysuckle, Texas Firecracker

Anisacanthus wrightii
(syn Anisacanthus quadrifidu var. wrighti)

…for fiery blooms till frost

Design Tip: Use as a mid-sized hummock shape in the sunny perennial garden to have constant flame-colored blooms from mid-summer to frost. Its delicate leaves and stems enhance a wildscape planting, or will add contrast to large leafed plants in a formal composition.

Form: The Texas-native perennial appears as a small shrub of upright trunks draped with lax stems.

Size: The deciduous plant grows rapidly to 3 feet tall, 4 feet wide. In frost-free regions without winter dieback, it will attain a six-foot height.

Flowers: Hummingbirds and butterflies flock to the reddish-orange funneled flowers topped with a star-shaped font. Blooms are formed on new growths. Irrigation during arid spells increases bloom production from July through first frost.

Soil: It will live in poor to rich soils with adequate drainage.

Water:  Will survive prolonged droughts, but requires moderate irrigation to rise to cultivated worthiness.

Light Exposure: It will tolerate less than full sun, but the more the sun; the more blooms.

Hardiness: Hardy in USDA Zones 7-10, it will return from the roots after winter lows of 5°F.

Grooming: To develop the best form and bloom, it should be pruned close to the ground after first frost and be trimmed once or twice in spring with hedge clippers to create a denser structure with more terminal growths before mid summer bloom time.

Propagation: It is easy to propagate by seed as well as softwood or hardwood cuttings of current season's growth from mid-summer through fall, but often self-seeds to the point of weedy-ness.

Snippets: Native to southern Texas and northeastern Mexico, it is extremely heat tolerant with no apparent disease or insect problems and is reported to be deer resistant.

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 Cultivated, photographed and written by
Maggie Ross McNeely in Ft. Worth, Texas
All rights reserved