The Russelia equisetiformis is a small evergreen shrub native to Central America. It has thin, green, fleshy, very branched stems, which grow prostrate, covered with small lanceolate leaves, bright green, when the climate is mild is covered with a myriad of small tubular flowers of bright orange, flowering begins in February and lasts until autumn, it is not uncommon for the plant is in bloom throughout the year.
For a more compact vegetation and abundant blooms it is advisable to prune the plant at the beginning of spring, shortening the branches by a third of their total length. R. campechiana has lilac flowers.
The russelia equisetiformis prefers very bright positions, possibly in full sun or half shade. It fears the cold and in autumn should be hospitalized in the house, not tolerating temperatures below 10 ° C. In spring and summer it can be placed outside, taking care to place it in a place sheltered from the wind, and to shade it in the hottest periods of the year. Direct exposure to the sun’s rays could cause the leaves to turn yellow or even burn.
The species of the Russelia equisetiformis need abundant and regular watering, especially during the vegetative period, from February to October, avoid leaving the soil to dry excessively; it is important to keep it always rather humid. These plants are very large, but they can also withstand short periods of drought. Every 15-20 days add some fertilizer for flowering plants to the water of the watering.
It needs loose soils, well drained, very rich in organic matter. An optimal compound can be prepared by mixing balanced soil, humus and sand, without forgetting to place a layer of expanded clay or perlite on the bottom of the pot, to increase drainage. The fertilizer must be administered to the plant every two weeks, but reducing the doses compared to what is noted on the packages of fertilizers.
If you want to get more vigorous plants and rich in flowers, pruning will definitely be a necessary operation. The best time to do this is in winter. It is also important to remove dried or damaged leaves by hand to avoid the onset of fungal diseases and the development of pests.
The reproduction of the plant may take place by seed, but usually we tend to multiply the russellias by cutting, in spring. If the plants grow up too much, we can proceed also to the propagation by division of the tufts, taking care to leave some vigorous roots in each portion done, the single parts, fruit of the division, are to be immediately placed in a single container and watered abundantly. In any case, the most appreciated method for obtaining new species is the cutting.
Thanks to this technique, it will be possible to obtain seedlings identical to the mother one at practically no cost. Always use clean and well-sharpened work tools to prevent the tissues of the plants from slipping off and giving rise to disease.
Russelia equisetiformis: Pests and diseases
Russias are very afraid of aphids, cochineal and radical rot.