Buy red or pink Firecracker flower corms here. Dichelostemma ida-maia is a hardy perennial plant that blooms in late summer. The tubular crimson flowers are attractive to humming birds.
Dichelostemma ida-maia is an upright plant growing to 18 inches in height at maturity. The corms from which it grows will first produce a clump of strappy foliage.
From the center of these leaves, a sturdy flower stem topped with an explosion of as many as 40 flowers will emerge to adorn the late summer garden.
The flower buds point toward the sky but become pendant as they grow to their full 1.5 inch length and open into red or pink tubes.
The petals are sharply reflexed at the tips, curling back to reveal their pale green undersides and allowing the yellow anthers to come into view.
Erect flower buds with green tips and pendant mature blooms will appear on the plant at the same time causing the plant to live up to its common name.
The flowers are followed by seed capsules containing viable black seeds.
Plant the largest corms you can obtain. Beware of bulbs that seem too much of a bargain. They may be undersized. Undersized bulbs may take as long as 2 years to bloom whereas a larger bulb will bloom in its first season.
Prepare the soil. Dig to make it loose and friable to a depth of 12 inches. Add organic matter if necessary.
Plant the corms 2 inches deep and 4 inches apart in a full sun location.
Dichelostemma is tolerant of salt water and drought. Keep in mind that the plant is more drought tolerant during its dormant stage than when it is in active growth.
It can be grown in a xeric landscape but will perform best if given supplemental water during extended dry spells.
To propagate the plant, either divide the corms or sow the seeds.
Let the seed pods darken and dry on the plant before you harvest them. Then split the pods open and collect the seeds. Winter sow them indoors. Of course, the seeds will take much longer to produce blooming plants than the corms would.
Dichelostemma ida-maia grows in the woodlands of Northern California and the cooler parts of the west coast of the United States (parts of Utah, Oregon and Washington).
It will give its best garden performance in USDA zones 5-9.If you have difficulty finding cultural information on this plant, it may be because it was once classified as a member of the Brodiaea species which are commonly known as Cluster Lilies.
The Firecracker plant (Russelia equisetiformis) forms a mound of cascading stems with needle-like green leaves tipped by tubular (most often)red flowers. It looks a lot like a sparkler going off. Hence the common name. This waterfall of vegetation is also sometimes called the fountain plant.
The brilliant blooms of the Mexican Firebush plant will draw hummingbirds into your garden like a flame draws moths. The tubular flowers form in clusters at the branch tips throughout the growing season. They are usually red or orange (occasionally yellow) and followed in the fall by dark blue berries which provide winter interest.