Wright's Texas Firecracker
Item #: 5119
Zones: 7a to 10b
Height: 48" tall
Origin: Mexico, United States
(aka: Anisacanthus quadrifidus var. wrightii) Our late cat Zirconia thought we had baited the garden for hummingbirds after we planted a clump of Texas firecracker. This dazzling, deer resistant perennial, native to Texas and adjacent Mexico, is composed of small, pointed green leaves held along parchment-colored, upright stems. Starting in late spring and continuing until frost, the 4' tall x 6' wide Anisacanthus wrightii is covered in masses of long-tubed, bright orange, star-shaped flowers. In warmer climates where there is no winter dieback, Texas firecracker can reach heights of 6'.
In cold winters it can die to the ground in which case the stems will need to be cut to the ground or to a live part of the stem. The plant will not be set back by this but will soon regrow and bloom all summer into fall when a killing frost will halt its bloom. Cutting Anisacanthus back in late winter might also be employed to manage its size. This is all the maintenance that this plant needs other than dealing with the occasional seedling.
All day full sun is ideal, or something approaching this. Anisacanthus is very drought tolerant needing little to no supplemental irrigation in a typical eastern US summer. Flowering can slow down or even stop in extended drought but quickly resume once rehydrated. Despite its drought tolerance it does not mind wet spells if grown in well-drained soil, that is soil where water doesn't stand after a rain. It also tolerates a wide range of soil types.
Anisacanthus wrightii has many common names beyond Texas Firecracker. "Flame Acanthus" is fairly widely used and might seem a bit confusing for this plant could hardly seem more different from the true Acanthus yet both are in the acanthus family, the Acanthaceae. "Hummingbird Bush" is another common name and is certainly appropriate as it is highly favored as a nectar source by hummingbirds.
Anisacanthus is a tidy upright shrub, generally in the 3 to 5 foot height range. The orange-red flowers (orange in the cultivar 'Pumpkin') are produced all summer into fall. And then there are the hummingbirds which visit the flowers and add much to to its ornamental value. This low-maintenance plant adds much to a full sun garden and its drought tolerance makes it lower maintenance during dry spells.
Leaf Color: Green
Container Role: Thrillers
Other: Cut Flower Plants , Deer Resistant Plants , Drought Tolerant Plants , Hummingbird Plants , Pollinator Plants , North American Native Plants , Plants Named After Animals , Plants that Attract Birds , Rabbit Resistant Plants , Salt Tolerant Seaside Plants , Texas Native Plants , Xeriscaping Plants , United States Native Plants