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Pachystachys coccinea, Pachystachys spicata, Justicia coccinea, Jacobinia coccinea, Cardinals Guard

Pachystachys coccinea, Pachystachys spicata, Justicia coccinea, Jacobinia coccinea

Cardinals Guard
Family: Acanthaceae
Origin: Northern South America, West Indies
Large shrub 5-10 ftSmall shrub 2-5 ftShadeSemi-shadeRegular waterRed/crimson/vinous flowersAttracts butterflies, hummingbirds

This upright many stemmed growing perennial has an evergreen foliage and thick long spikes of scarlet red blooms. This plant likes moist soil, and will wilt very fast when the soil is dry, but also it will come back very fast once you water it again. Flower: The inflorescence is very beautiful. Bright red flowers emerging out of a green cone. The plant will flower most of the year, if kept warm, specially in the spring. But it is not a very profuse bloomer, where you will see flowers all the time. Minimum Temperature : We start to notice some leaf damage when the temperature goes bellow 35F or 1C. How much lower can the temperature go before the plant will die? We don't know. Last year we had temperatures around 32F or 0C for a few hours a day and there was minimal damage on the plant. Fertilizer : For the Pachystachys coccinea we like to use a slow release fertilizer, 13-13-13, a 90 day release with minor elements made in Japan and sold under the name " Nutricote." This fertilizer will produce a sturdier and more compact plant, than regular fertilizer. Pests and Diseases:Nothing serious that I can recall. Bad Habits :The worst feature in this plant is the speed of growth during the warmer months and the big internode elongation. The use of growth regulators is necessary to produce a nice quality plant. We use a product called Bonzi ( 1.3floz/gal .) Spray only on large plants. This plant also has a tendency to become woody and leggy at the bottom. Therefore, a severe trim is occasionally recommended. (by Sid Gardino)

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