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Crossandra Flower [All About Looks and Care]

Did you know Crossandra flowers are called “firecracker flowers” due to their explosive seed pods? But to see their seed pods, the flowers must transform into one, which happens when the plant blooms. 

Crossandra flowers bloom from late spring to early fall. The plant starts to flower nearly 4-7 months after germination with shades of orange, yellow, pink, and red, but the flowering becomes slow in winter and speeds up again in spring. 

This plant is usually grown for its beautiful blooms and offers no particular fragrance but suits as a decorative art piece. Let us explore this beautiful flower and ways to keep them healthy.

How Often does the Crossandra Flower?

Crossandra plants are famous for their all-year-round blooming habit.

In warmer regions, the plant blooms as a perennial, but in colder regions, the plant behaves as an annual.

Crossandra flowers from late spring to early fall. They show their first bloom about 4-7 months after germination.

However, Crossandra slows its flowering in winter but breaks its buds again in spring.

Image represents Crossandra flower
Each flower in the flowering spike of the Crossandra plant can stay for nearly 10 days.

After its first bloom, the plant flowers all summer long. The process from budding to the flower drying up can last up to 4 weeks, while each individual flower stays for nearly 10 days.

You can let the plant flower without concern as Crossandra is not monocarpic, meaning it will not die soon after flowering.

As a sun-loving plant, Crossandra may have a hard time flowering indoors.

But, if you provide enough light and a steady indoor location, the plant can show gradual flowering.

Crossandra Flower Overview

The name “firecracker flower” refers to the seed pods rather than the blooms.

Crossandra flowers are arranged on top of a tall, hairy spike.

When the flowers dry and form seed pods, they become little seed-filled time bombs.

Additionally, these pods require moisture and humidity to open and disperse the seeds.

If you want to learn more, look at the basic overview of the Crossandra flower.

InflorescenceTerminal Racemose: Tubular flowers with tubular stalk and 3-5 asymmetrical petals overlapping each other to form the flowerhead
Size (Individual Flower)1.5 inches in diameter.
ColorOrange, Yellow, Red, White or Pink
ToxicitySafe for Pets and Humans
Lifespan (Individual Flower)Around 10 days
FruitsCapsule or Pod
Blooming SeasonLate Spring to Early Fall

How to Pollinate Crossandra Flowers?

In Crossandra, pollination occurs after the flowers appear (between late spring and early fall).

However, Crossandras are the favorite flowers of pollinators like butterflies, hummingbirds and dragonflies.

Although the flowers don’t have a typical aroma, they are still colorful and filled with delicious nectar.

Image represents the flower of Crossandra
Flowers of Crossandra have narrow tubes making them difficult to pollinate manually.

Due to a slender and narrow tube, the pollinators of the Crossandra are very specific, and hand pollination is almost impossible.

But thanks to their pollinators, the flowers can self-pollinate when pollinators dive into the flowers to suck the nectar.

By doing so, pollinators shower themselves with pollens and transfer them to the stigma, ensuring pollination.

Following pollination, the flowers turn brown, and a small seed pod develops behind individual green bracts containing 3-4 creamy white to yellow or blackish-green, circular, and flat seeds.

Moreover, the seed pods are first green but slowly mature in around 4 weeks and turn brown, signifying that the seeds are ready for dispersal.

Crossandra seeds disperse using explosive dehiscence, where the surrounding moisture plays a vital role in this process.

How to Make a Crossandra Flower?

You may have to consider certain factors to ensure successful flowering for this self-caring plant.

  • Provide Crossandra with 4 hours of direct sunlight daily and partial shade for the rest of the day. 
  • Place Crossandra near an east-facing window or under strong artificial lighting (10-12 hours daily).
  • Maintain a temperature between 68°F and 75°F. Keep the plants away from drafty windows in fall and winter.
  • Crossandra prefers slightly acidic (pH 5-8), well-draining soil with plenty of organic matter, such as peat moss or compost.
  • Water this plant sparingly on alternate days during the growing seasons and water again when the soil completely dries out. Cut back on watering to once a week in fall and winter.
  • Prune the plant every spring to maintain a tidy appearance and pinch out the spent flowers or deadhead the entire stalk.
  • Mist the leaves regularly to keep the plant hydrated and active.
  • Use a half-strength liquid fertilizer every 2-4 weeks in the growing season and every 8 weeks in fall and winter.

Crossandra rarely blooms outside the USDA zones 9-11.

Images illustrates some methods to attract pollinators for Crossandra flowers
Create a small pond with water plants, hang inverted feeders, and grow a separate garden bed with fragrant flowers to lure the pollinators of Crossandra flowers.

Common Problems with Crossandra Flower

Crossandra flowers are never safe from the problems that may occur due to certain factors.

  • Move your plant to a warmer location to recover a wilting Crossandra plant.
  • Improper watering, sudden change in temperatures, and location changes can trigger flower loss in the Crossandra plant.
  • Crossandra flowers die untimely due to the use of cold water in winter.
  • If you fertilize the plant with high nitrogen fertilizers, it can halt the flowering.
  • The growth of Crossandra flowers will stop in low-light conditions.

Should You Deadhead Crossandra Flowers?

Deadheading perennial plants like Crossandra throughout the summer encourages new blooms and keeps your plant tidy.

It also helps the plant secure energy for new blooms in the next season and forbids it from spending its energy on seed production.

Image represents flowers of Crossandra
It’s ideal for pinching out the dried flowers or cutting out the whole flowering spike from the base to promote the growth of more flowers in Crossandra.

How to Deadhead Crossandra Flowers?

Follow the steps below correctly to ensure fruitful deadheading.

  • Check the plants for any wilted or crispy brown flowers.
  • Grab the spent flowering spike from the base and cut it from below using sterilized pruners back to its base.
  • You can also pinch out the individual spent flowers from the spike manually.

Uses of Crossandra Flower

Crossandra flowers have many benefits other than just being a set of beautiful flowers.

1. Medicinal Benefits

People have been using Crossandara flowers for a long time as medicinal flowers in different parts of India and Sri Lanka.

Furthermore, scientists have been conducting different tests to use the ethanolic extract from Crossandra to heal wounds.

According to the reasearch, People have been using Crossandra flower extracts as a treatment for fever, headache, pain, etc.

Some people also use Crossandra flowers to treat cold and cough problems.

2. Ornamental Benefits

Other than the medicinal, Crossandra flowers offer ornamental benefits as well.

In India and Sri Lanka, women use the Crossandra flower as a decorative item for their hair.

Also, people use the Crossandra flower to decorate their houses during festivals and auspicious occasions.

Health Considerations to Keep in Mind

Crossandra plant and all its parts, including its flowers, are non-toxic to humans and pets.

According to ASPCA, the Crossandra plant is non-toxic to cats, dogs, and horses.

It has pollens that may trigger your dormant allergies. Also, you must be careful about the following things.

  • If your pets chew on the leaves of the Crossandra plant, they may choke on them.
  • Your pets and kids may tumble the pot of Crossandra and injure themselves.

So, put your children inside a baby barrier to keep them occupied.

If your pets injure themselves while playing around or show stress issues after accidentally consuming the plant, seek medical help immediately from below.

FAQs About Crossandra Flower

Does Crossandra Flower Come Back Every Year?

Crossandra plants can be annual or perennials and flower yearly on time.

How Cold Crossandra Plants Tolerate?

To keep them ever-blooming, don’t keep Crossandras below 55°F.

Can Crossandra Flower in Low Light?

Crossandra plants flower in low light, but their blooms may not occur in time, or the plant may completely stop blooming.

From Editorial Team

Keep Spacing Between Crossandra Plants
To sow Cassandra seeds in garden beds, keep them at least 8-10 inches apart and plant them about 1/8th inches deep in a well-draining, organic potting mix.

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