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Description

Flame acanthus is a small deciduous shrub native to dry habitats of southwest Texas and Northern Mexico. Moisture conditions regulates its size; more water results in larger plants with an upright habit 3-4 ft. tall and as wide. A showy display of brilliant orange-red flowers occur in early spring. Nurseries most often grow cultivars including A. q. var. wrightii 'Mexican Fire' that grow 4-5 ft. tall, have larger leaves and red flowers.

Flame acanthus is a colorful addition to southwestern style landscapes where its bright flowers creates a lot of attention. It grows best in well drained soils, in sunny locations and with limited summer irrigation. By late fall it drops its leaves and is sparse in character; heavy pruning is recommended to stimulate robust spring growth and flowering value.

Water Needs

The Flame acanthus grows best with normal winter rains and periodic summer irrigation. The chart shown below provides a recommended baseline guide to the monthly irrigation schedule and volume of supplemental water needed to maintain healthy growth throughout the average year. It should be noted there are several months marked by an asterisk (*) when winter rains can provide sufficient moisture and irrigation is not needed. The high and low range of moisture indicates it can grow with varying amounts of water; more supplemental water commonly results in a longer growing season and larger sizes.

Irrigation Schedule and Graph

Low Water Use Plants

Irrigation Schedule 2

  Jan* Feb* Mar* Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov* Dec*
Runs per Month 0x to 2x 0x to 2x 0x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 0x to 2x 0x to 2x
Inches per Run 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1"
 
Inches per Month 0" to 2" 0" to 2" 0" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 0" to 2" 0" to 2"

Range of supplemental summer water: 7"-14"
Range of supplemental winter water: 0"-10"

 
0"-2"
0"-2"
0"-2"
1"-2"
1"-2"
1"-2"
1"-2"
1"-2"
1"-2"
1"-2"
0"-2"
0"-2"
  Jan* Feb* Mar* Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov* Dec*
For more information on how to use this Irrigation Schedule and Graph, follow this link.

For information how to calculate your irrigation system’s schedule and precipitation rate, please follow this link.

Plant Properties

Plant Type: Shrub
Foliage Character: Evergreen
Habit: Upright
Growth Rate: Fast
Height: 3 ft. - 4 ft.
Width: 3 ft. - 4 ft.
Water Needs: Low 2
Foliage Color: Medium green
Flower Color: Red, Orange
Flower Season: Spring
Soil Adaptations: Well-draining soil
Exposure Adaptations: Heat, Drought, Aridity, All day sun
Function: Hummingbird plant, Flowering accent plant, Borders

Maintenance

Cut back hard every winter (1).

References

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