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How to Grow Flame of the Woods — Ixora

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Ixora is a tropical shrub grown for its vibrantly colored, scented flowers. Ixora has shiny, leathery green leaves and four-lobed tubular flowers that can be red, yellow, orange, pink, or white.

Ixora grows best outdoors in a warm, humid climate. It can be planted in a shrub border or grown as a free-standing specimen. Where temperatures drop below 59°F (15°C), Ixora should be grown as a houseplant.

Ixora is a genus of about 400 species of evergreen shrubs and small trees. Ixora is native to tropical woodland and mountains worldwide.

Get to know Ixora

  • Plant type: Bulbous perennials
  • Growing zones and range: Zones 14-15
  • Hardiness: Tender; where temperatures drop below 59°F (15°C) grow Ixora as a houseplant
  • Height and width: 6 to 8 feet (2-2.5m) tall, 3 to 6 feet (1-2m) wide
  • Foliage: Whorled leaves are simple and entire
  • Flowers: Large, vibrantly colored, sented 4-petaled, salverform leaves in terminal panicles
  • Bloom time: Summer
  • Uses: Shrub border, freestanding specimen, houseplant
  • Common name: Flame of the woods
  • Botanical name: Ixora
  • Family name: Rubiaceae
  • Origin: Tropical woodland worldwide
Flame of the woods, Ixora coccinea
Flame of the woods, Ixora coccinea

Where to plant Ixora

  • Light outdoors: Plant Ixora in a spot that is shaded from midday sun.
  • Light indoors: Grow Ixora in bright filtered or indirect light.
  • Soil outdoors: Plant Ixora in fertile, moist, but well-drained soil.
  • Soil indoors. Grow Ixora in a soilless potting mix wiht added leas mold and grit.

When to plant Ixora

  • Set container grown Ixora outdoors in spring.

Planting and spacing Ixora

  • Space Ixora 3 to 6 feet (1-2m) apart.

How to water and feed Ixora

  • Water Ixora freely during the growing season; water sparingly in winter.
  • Fertilize Ixora with a blanced slow-release fertilizer.

Ixora care

  • Prune Ixora after flowering to keep it compact and shaped.

Growing Ixora as a houseplant

  • Ixora coccinea can be grown as a houseplant.
  • Place Ixora in a room with warm temperature, high humidity, and direct light.
  • Grow in average, soilless potting medium and keep it evenly moist when te plant is growing and flowering. At other times, allow the medium to dry out slightly begween waterings.
  • Fertilize twice monthly during sprng and summer and monthly in fall and winter.
  • After Ixora flowers, it can be pruned to keep it compact.

Ixora pests and diseases

  • Aphids and scale insects may attack Ixora.
  • Iron deficiency, Xanthomonas spot, and fungal leaf spots can occur.

Ixora propagation

  • Root semi-ripe cuttings in summer with bottom heat.

Ixora varieties to grow

  • Ixora chinensis. Bushy, grounded shrub to 6 feet tall and often as wide; ovate, semi-lustrous mid- to deep green leaves; bears flattened cymes of red, orange, pink, or white flowers in summer.
  • I. coccinea, flame of the woods. Bushy , rounded shrub with oblong glossy mid to deep green leaves; produces loose cymes of red, orange, pink, or yellow flwoers. Several cultivars: ‘Fraseri’ has salmon-red flowers.

Written by Stephen Albert

Stephen Albert is a horticulturist, master gardener, and certified nurseryman who has taught at the University of California for more than 25 years. He holds graduate degrees from the University of California and the University of Iowa. His books include Vegetable Garden Grower’s Guide, Vegetable Garden Almanac & Planner, Tomato Grower’s Answer Book, and Kitchen Garden Grower’s Guide. His Vegetable Garden Grower’s Masterclass is available online. has more than 10 million visitors each year.

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