Crossandra infundibuliformis is commonly called Kanakambaram, firecracker flower and firecracker plant. Growing Crossandra from seed or cuttings is simple but the care of the plant requires knowledge.
The dark green, glossy, textured foliage of the Crossandra plant is every bit as attractive as the scores of flower bracts which range in color from coral to tangerine.
The Orange Marmalade Crossandra is the most popular bright orange cultivar. There are several other colors but I never seem to see them for sale anywhere.
The flowers form on 4-sided spikes covered in green bracts which occur at the tips of the growing stems. The fan-shaped, 5-petaled blooms overlap each other on these short stalks making for a rich color show.
Crossandra plants are slow growing, a desirable characteristic in a houseplant. In time, they can reach 3 feet tall when grown in containers.
When properly cared for, they are nearly everblooming and look spectacular when planted in terra-cotta-colored pots. You might not want to grow them in clay pots though, because they can never be allowed to dry out.
Start seeds by sowing several in a small pot. Prick the seedlings out into their own (still small) pots when they are about 2 inches tall.
Use the same growing mix you will be using to grow the mature plants.
Shift the plants, as they grow, into larger pots. Do not overpot them or the roots will likely rot from staying too wet.
Tip cuttings can also be rooted at any time during the growing season.
Crossandra infundibuliformis is a member of the Acanthus plant family. These are tender perennials with simple, opposite leaves bearing spikes of 1 or 2-lipped bracted flowers.
Another lovable member of the Acanthus clan is
the shrimp plant.
Crossandra hails from India and and Sri Lanka and requires warm temperatures (50-75 degrees F.) and high humidity to flourish.
Watering is the most critical aspect of Crossandra plant care. Never let the soil completely dry.
Keep the root system moist--but not soggy--at all times. Do not allow the plant to stand in water.
Pot the plant in a 50/50 mixture of potting soil and peat based potting mix.
Give this beautiful houseplant 4 hours of direct sun per day in the winter. Filter the light in the summer with sheer curtains or move the plant into a less intense exposure (if it spends the winters in a south facing window, move it to a west or east facing window for summer).
Feed it with a bloom-boosting fertilizer year round. Monthly in summer, bi-monthly in winter.