Firespike, Odontonema strictum, is an evergreen, perennial, herbaceous shrub. This means that this shrub remains green year round, has a life cycle of longer than two years and multiple soft stems. This plant is considered tropical and does best in USDA hardiness zones 8B through 11.
Blooms and Leaves:
Firespike shrubs range in height from 2′ to 4′ and will get up to 3′ in width. These shrubs bloom during the spring and winter with spikes and tiny tubular flowers that are crimson in color. The leaves on the Firespike are dark green, glossy and grow to lengths of 8″.
Caring for Firespike shrubs includes knowing when and where to plant them. These shrubs can be planted anytime of the year. They are considered tropical so they will need some protection in the winter. They do best in part sun/part shade areas and will bloom best in more shady areas. The soil that this shrub grows in can be loam, sand, slightly alkaline or acidic. Watering is not a big deal as they only require moderate watering and can tolerate some drought conditions and high heat conditions. Pruning can take place in the winter and they should be cut back to the ground to clean them up.
Firespike shrubs can be propagated by cutting or by dividing them. Plant the new shrubs 2′ to 3′ feet apart. This can be done at any time of the year.
Firespike shrubs, with their glossy, dark green foliage and tolerance for shade are often a perfect house plant, but this does not mean they can not be used in a landscape. They would be perfect for a container or in a spot in the landscape where they are sheltered, such as a shrub border. They can also be used in specialty gardens such as hummingbird and butterfly gardens as well as mass plantings and cut flowers.
When considering what plants to put in the landscape, there are nearly always those shady areas where you just can think of anything showy to put there. This area is perfect for the Firespike because they thrive in the shade and will provide beauty and interest with their fiery red tubular flowers that hummingbirds love. But, luckily, this is not the only spot these plants are perfect for. They might be just what you are looking for to finish off that perfect landscape plan.
University of Florida