Garden Oracle / Drought and Heat Tolerant Gardening / Tucson - Phoenix - Arizona - California

Growing Anisacanthus quadrifidus var. wrightii:
Flame Acanthus

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Form: Shrub.
Leaf retention: Deciduous.
Growth rate: Slow to rapid, depending on water and soil compactness.
Mature Size: 3-5' high and wide.
Flowers: Orange to red, tubular, up to 2" long, usually pointing upward, clustered on ends of main and lateral stems.
Bloom: Spring and fall with weekly irrigation. Once well established, it will bloom in October whether irrigated or not.
Fruit: Brown capsules with black seeds.
Leaves: Green, lance-shaped.
Stems: No thorns.
Wildlife: Attracts hummingbirds, large butterflies. Browsed by rabbits, deer and other mammals. A caterpillar food plant for Elada and Arizona Checkerspot butterflies.
Toxic / Danger: No.
Origin: Texas and Northern Mexico.

Cultivation and Uses
USDA hardiness zones: 7b-11.
Heat tolerant: Yes.
Drought tolerant: Yes.
Sun: Full sun to light shade. More sun produces more blooms.
Water once established: Monthly for survival. This plant will need water once or twice a week to flower and attract butterflies and hummingbirds during the growing season.
Soil: Well drained, pH 6.1-7.8 (slightly acidic to slightly alkaline). Compacted soil slows growth.
Prune: In late winter, shear to encourage new growth. It can be pruned into a hedge.
Litter: Low.
Propagation: Seed or cuttings. It will reseed in favorable conditions.
Uses: Ornamental, wildlife attractor, low hedge.

This plant is a member of the Acanthus family (Acanthaceae). Other common names include Mexican Flame, Texas Firecracker, and Wright's Desert Honeysuckle. This shrub needs protection from browsing mammals. It is not a low-water plant if flowers are desired for more than one month. The butterfly in the photograph is a Cloudless Sulphur.

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Anisacanthus quadrifidus var. wrightii: Flame Acanthus - flowers

Anisacanthus quadrifidus var. wrightii: Flame Acanthus - with hummingbird

Anisacanthus quadrifidus var. wrightii: Flame Acanthus - with butterfly

Anisacanthus quadrifidus var. wrightii: Flame Acanthus

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Latest update: January, 2022