Tropical Florida Gardens - What's in Bloom at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates?

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What's in Bloom at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates?

Plant Spotlight: Purple Firespike

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On February 3rd

If you’re looking for a tall, winter-time butterfly plant, purple firespike, Odontonema callistachyum, is a good choice for southern Florida. Growing up to six feet tall, it starts blooming in autumn and the blooms may last through winter in Zone 10.  It will die back in a hard freeze but should re-sprout in the spring in Zones 8-9.   Although it’s rated for full sun to partial shade, it may wilt during the intense summer sun in southern Florida.  You may prefer to trim it back in the summer to keep it in check.  Once established, firespike is drought tolerant and should attract many winged visitors to your yard.

Cardinal flower, Odontonema stictum, is a close relative and has red flowers.  It was included in a list of plants grown on the Estates from 1901-1941.  Given the Edisons’ interest in nature, it’s likely the cardinal flower was one of many species planted to attract butterflies and birds.

Our Garden Shoppe sells purple firespike in two gallon pots for $12.  We also carry a variety of butterfly and hummingbird plants to complement the firespike.  Don’t forget, Estates members save 10% on all purchases, including plants!

Britta Hanson Soderqvist, Plant Curator

4 Responses

  1. Tweets that mention Plant Spotlight: Purple Firespike | Tropical Gardens of the Edison & Ford Winter Estates -- Says:

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by IonXchange, Edison Ford Estates. Edison Ford Estates said: Garden Blog Update Plant Spotlight: Purple Firespike – If you're looking for a tall, winter-time butterfly plant, pu… […]

    Posted on February 4th, 2011 at 1:46 am

  2. Kathy Jameson Says:

    Where is this nursery…how do I go about buying the purple FIRESPIKE?

    Posted on September 14th, 2013 at 10:52 am

  3. Edison Ford Winter Estates Says:

    Hi Kathy-The Edison Ford Garden Shoppe is right on our property 2350 McGregor Blvd. WE are open 9-5:30 every day. The firespike called Odontonema callistychum is what you are looking for. We may have some plant in the nursery propagation area. If you come on Wed-Thursday-Saturday ask for Karen Maxwell, who works in the Garden Shoppe, she can help you if I am not here to help you.

    Debbie Hughes, Horticulturist

    Posted on January 14th, 2014 at 7:55 am

  4. Greg Says:

    Hi Debbie

    2 years ago I planted fire spikes in two different locations in my yard, both get 6+ hours of sun a day. They are well established but grow very slow and have yellowish leaves and don’t bloom. (I am in Tampa, the plants have not froze). Do fire spikes have a ph of fertilizer preference? I think I sent them into shock, and am wondering if they can recover

    Thank you!

    Posted on May 26th, 2014 at 7:23 am