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Firecracker Fern Planting Instructions

petit pétard image by Georges Lievre from

Firecracker ferns (Russelia equisetiformis) are evergreen flowering plants that are native to Mexico. Also known as coral plant, it grows up to 2 1/2 feet tall and 1 1/2 feet wide. Because of its size--and its cascading growth pattern--firecracker ferns grow best as single plants, or as small shrubs. The plant grows well in hanging baskets, with its foliage spilling over the container. Firecracker shrub blooms from spring to fall outdoors, and blooms year-round indoors. Firecrackers are resilient plants, but do require some specific care.

Plant the firecracker plant in rich, well-drained potting soil. If you don't have access to potting soil that provides adequate drainage, make your own by mixing garden soil and garden sand or peat at a 1-to-1 ratio. If you want to plant the firecracker in a flower pot, use a pot that has at least one drainage hole in the bottom.

Place the plant in an area of your yard that receives sunlight from the south, east, or west. The plant tolerates full sun in cooler climates. In the south, give the firecracker filtered sun, such as beneath a tree with a sparse canopy.

Water the firecracker frequently. Firecracker prefers its soil to be moist--but not wet--at all times. Do not allow the soil to dry out completely between waterings. Once the top inch of soil is dry to the touch, it is time to water the firecracker again.

Fertilize the firecracker fern every two weeks, during spring. During the summer, fertilize weekly. Use a balanced water-soluble fertilizer to feed it. Do not fertilize firecracker during fall or winter, as the plant is dormant during these seasons, and fertilizer will burn its roots.

Reduce waterings to once every 10 to 14 days during the winter. Also, prune the plant down to 9 inches tall during the winter, to encourage new growth in the spring.


Firecracker fern, is a warm-weather plant and can only over-winter in U.S. Department of Agriculture Plant Hardiness zones 9 through 12.


Move indoors when weather is cool.

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