Ixora is a smallish, evergreen shrub covered with large clusters of gorgeous blooms throughout spring, summer and fall. Because of those clusters of bright scarlet flowers, it is known as “the flame of the wood.”
It is native to India, where it’s frequently found growing wild in forests and fields, and the variety coccinea is cultivated in home gardens and backyards for its medicinal qualities. The plant is also known as “West Indian Jasmine” due to its fragrant aroma and ubiquitous cultivation in western India.
Ixora grows extremely well in the Coastal Bend, and will bloom year-round if protected from winter frosts and freezes. This dense shrub grows into a mounded shape, and is best grown as a specimen plant in the garden, although you can also plant several ixora in a line as a colorful backdrop for shorter, smaller flowers.
It makes a fantastic potted plant on a patio or deck when receiving full sun. When potting, place ixora in a large planter to allow room for full-sized growth. You’ll want to water often in the summer, as it can take any heat, but needs plenty of water to thrive.
On the infrequent nights we experience a frost or freeze in winter, bring your ixora indoors until the freeze passes. Protecting your potted ixora from the cold will likely keep it blooming throughout the year.
A Need to Know Basis
Spacing, 18” to 24”. Height, 24” to 36”. Plant from transplant in full sun. Requires rich, well-drained soil. Add plenty of organic compost and several cups pastured poultry manure per plant. Add several cups compost and fertilizer each spring for summer blooms. Requires regular waterings throughout summer and does not have pests.
Large clusters of scarlet, orange, golden or white flowers will bloom depending on variety. Blooms last a long time on the plant and in flower arrangements. Take blooms often to stimulate new flowers. If new flowers are slow to appear, add fertilizer to soil at base of plant. Also, add one tablespoon each of molasses, liquid seaweed and fish emulsion per gallon of water; pour fortified water directly over plant as needed.
Ixora grows into a mounded shape. Because the bottom parts of the plant will touch but not the top, they won’t make a traditional hedge. They are lovely planted in a line against a wall or fence with shorter flowers planted in front. The evergreen leaves and colorful blooms create a gorgeous backdrop for smaller flowers. They are also nice as specimen plants in the garden.
Ixora has been used medicinally in India and China for hundreds of years. The leaves, flowers and roots of the variety Ixora coccinea are frequently used in Ayurvedic treatments, especially in teas or added to soups. Ixora is rich in lupeol, anthocyanins, quercetin and many other healthful phytochemicals. It also contains anti-bacterial properties and is used to treat chest congestion and other ailments.