Tropical plants are known for their exotic colors and showy flowers. But the firebush takes this to a new level with its bright orange flowers, lush green leaves and red stems. It is a carnival of colors with flowers blooming from spring to autumn every year. What more can you ask of an ornamental plant? Maybe fewer growing problems?
Because a growing firebush can be frustrating at times. The leaves can fall off or the tropical plant struggles through the cold winter months. Pruning is a crucial part of tropical plant care, which can be a daunting task if not done properly and at the right time. This article collects 6 of the most common firebush growing problems and suggests a few solutions for each.
Firebush Leaf Drop
It’s no secret that showy leaves can be as decorative, if not more, than flowers. Just imagine a plant with no leaves and just blooming. It immediately loses a few points on the decorative scale. And while it is normal for plants to shed a few leaves during the growing season for a variety of reasons, this becomes a problem when the shedding is regular and increases over time.
Firebush leaf waste can become a serious problem when you see as many leaves on the ground as on the plant itself. And the reasons for this unhealthy phenomenon are different. But they mostly have to do with the care and growing conditions around the plant, not disease or infection. Most of the time, the plant is dehydrated, stressed or shocked, or struggling with too much water. Using the wrong fertilizer in excessive amounts can also cause massive leaf drop.
How to Fix it
When you have so many reasons, be sure to look at each one. go through a time and try to fix it. When the leaves stop falling off, you know you’ve found the cause. If not, move on to the rest of the list. Here are a few things you can do to stop firebush leaves from falling.
- Shock: The firebush is a delicate plant . Any change in weather or soil can frighten them and cause the leaves to fall. Sudden changes in temperature, either rising or falling, can trigger it. Dividing the plant or digging around the roots can also cause shock. In these cases, wait for the plant to regain its composure and let the lost leaves grow back.
- Too much water: Wet soil often means less oxygen. When the roots do not take in enough oxygen , the leaves fall off. So let the soil dry out between waterings. And always water deeply so that the roots grow deeper into the ground.
- Not enough water: Few plants can handle dry soil and lack of moisture. Most tropical plants are used to above-average rainfall every year and therefore have little tolerance to drought. If you forget to water your firebush, the leaves will turn yellow and fall off. Water the plant once or twice a week and give it about an inch of water a week during the growing season.
- Feeding: Though not a strong one If fertilizer is, the firebush still needs nutrients in the soil. Apply an all-purpose fertilizer once a year in spring. Too much fertilizer can damage the plant.
Firebush Container Care
Most of the time, you will be growing tropical plants in containers rather than in the garden. The container cultivation has many advantages. It takes up less space, allows you to move the plants around to get more sun, and makes overwintering the plants a lot easier.
But not all plants do well in containers. For example, root-bound is a serious problem for plants with robust root systems. And for a shrub like the firebush, you’ll need to prune more than normal just to keep the plant manageable. But that’s only part of the problem. Choosing the right container size for starting the plant and enlarging it when repotting should also be a priority.Since the plant cannot tolerate soaked soil, you must use well-drained and sterilized potting soil. If you want to make your own potting soil, add equal parts perlite to the garden soil and mix in some organic materials.
Place the container in a sunny location facing west or south. Keep the plant protected from cold winds. Water the container 2 to 3 times a week and don’t let the soil dry out completely.
Regularly prune the tree in late winter and trim the tips of the branches to encourage a bushy look. While you can theoretically grow firebush shrubs in zone 8 and above, the cold winter of zone 8 can be brutal for the shrub be.
If you don’t prepare the shrub for winter, there’s little chance it will survive the frost. Not to mention the fact that low temperatures leave indelible marks on the foliage. From leaves that discolor and fall until the plant looks stressed and stunted. So how would you protect your fire bush from the coming winter and make sure it thrives?
How to Fix it
If you are growing the fire bush in a container, your winter care is limited to that cut back regularly every year and bring the plant into the house, where it is warm. Cut the watering in half and don’t feed it at all. When the last frost is over, gradually take the shrub outside.
If you live in Zone 8 and below and don’t want to grow the fire shrub in a container, your only option is to grow it annually . There is little you can do to keep it alive in winter. But since the plant has a rapid growth rate and blooms for the first year, it doesn’t sound like a bad option to plant a new shrub every year. When the last blossom has fallen in autumn, dig up the plant and use the leaves as mulch or compost.
Propagation of the fire bush
If you have a new fire bush every year need to plant, because the tropical plant cannot cope with your harsh winter months, then you need to familiarize yourself with the propagation of firebush cuttings. It saves you the tedious and complicated process of starting the shrub from seeds. And since all you need is a 6 inch trunk from a healthy shrub, you can indefinitely provide for yourself by pulling a few twigs out of the annual shrub before throwing it on the compost heap. But for the plant to be successful, it is important to learn how and when to propagate the firebush from the cutting.
How to fix it
The timing has to be right for the cutting to develop roots. If you start too early it can freeze over, and if you start it late in spring it won’t have time to grow and bloom before the end of summer. Here’s how to propagate the shrub in simple steps before pruning.
- Pick a few healthy stems from a shrub and cut six inches from each stem.
- Remove the lower leaves and keep You just leave a few leaves at the top of the cutting.
- Fill a pot with all-purpose flower mix or mix your own with perlite and regular soil.
- Dip the cutting in root hormone promote root development
- Shake off the excess powder and plant the cutting 5 cm deep into the soil.
- Firm up the soil around the cutting so that it stands upright.
- Water the soil to keep it moist.
- Keep the pot on a heating mat and set it to 75 degrees F.
- You can grow the plant indoors until the last frost is over, and then into the garden.
The subject of pruning firebushes Chen came up a few times while addressing many of the firebush growing problems. Insufficient pruning not only makes the shrub look uncomfortable, it can also make it unwieldy. If you are growing the shrub in a container, then you will need to take pruning more seriously if you want to make it a compact size.
But as you will soon find out, pruning firebush can be a daunting task. It’s never as easy as you see it on youtube videos, and there are many ways you can go wrong and give the shrub a hard-to-repair scar.
How to Fix
You can begin pruning the fire shrub in late winter or early spring before the first signs of growth.
Cut back about a third of the bush at a time. Always choose the thickest branches that you remove first, as this will trigger new growth of young shoots in the next spring. This will also prevent the shrub from growing out of the container.
Experts recommend keeping the shrub under six feet tall so that it has an abundance of flowers from spring through fall.
Depending on where you live and the microclimate in which you are growing the Firebush, you may need to transplant the tropical plant regularly. For example, if you are growing it as an annual shrub, you will need to grow it indoors and then transplant it when the weather warms up.
Of course, growing the shrub in a container can save you a lot of hassle, but it may not be possible for everyone. And because this shrub is very delicate, dividing or transplanting can give it a shock where it begins to lose its leaves, usually you start preparing the plant in the fall and transplanting it the following spring. Or you could start in the spring and transplant in the fall. The idea is to give the plant enough time to get used to the changes you are making it to.
Start by tying the lower branches of the fire shrub together, then pruning the roots. Dig a narrow trench around the shrub and cut off the ends of the roots with a sharp blade. Refill the trench and wait a few months.
When you’re ready to transplant the shrub, dig another trench slightly wider than the previous one. Rock the shrub from side to side while pushing a shovel deep under the root ball. Dig up the shrub and plant it in a hole at the same depth as the original. Water the shrub immediately to allow the soil to settle better.