Growing Ixora – A Full Planting Guide

Introduction to Growing Ixora Plants: Ixora, scientifically known as Ixora coccinea is a species of flowering plant in the Rubiaceae family. It is also known as Jungle Geranium or West Indian Jasmine. Most of the species and varieties flower very freely in the summer season and rain. Pruning after flowering is beneficial. A rounded and evergreen shrub that reaches heights of 4 to 6 feet or more, Ixora displays shiny, leathery leaves and masses of blooms that appear throughout most of the year. In this article we also covered the below topics about growing Ixora plants;

  • How do you care for an Ixora
  • How fast does Ixora grow
  • Why are my Ixora not blooming
  • Why are my Ixora leaves turning brown
  • Ixora plant care in India

A Step-by-Step Planting Guide for Growing Ixora Plants

Ixora plant is an evergreen shrub with glossy green, opposite leaves. Ixora plant works great as a hedge so it is easy to cut it back severely without damaging the plant. Ixora can also be easily shaped, and which is a great advantage for those who want to have a nice hedge in their garden. Ixora plants can be grown in almost any garden or even on a patio. The plants are popular for low hedges but many people also manage to grow them in containers. Though, most Ixora plants are used as hedges and miniature shrubs and are popular because of their bright flowers. Here are some basic facts about the plant.

Ixora Plant
Ixora Plant (Image source: pixabay)

Quick Overview about Growing Ixora Plants;

  • Name – Jungle Geranium, Ixora
  • Scientific Name – Ixora Coccinea
  • Origin  – It is originated in India and Sri Lanka.
  • Plant Growth Habit – Small, dense, multi-branched, glabrous evergreen shrub
  • Soil – It thrives best in light texture, well-drained, fertile, acid soils with pH levels 5.0–5.5 and rich in organic matter.
  • Blooms – year-round
  • Flower Details – Small. Cultivars can have yellow, red, white, orange, or pink flowers.
  • Fruit – Round. Dark purple or black color
  • Sun Exposure  – Full sun
  • Soil Type – Moist but well-drained
  • Soil pH – Acidic
  • Hardiness Zones – 9-11 (USDA)
  • Native Area – Asia
  • Toxicity – Non-toxic

Different Varieties of Ixora

Ixora coccinea, Ixora chinensis, Ixora singaporensis, Ixora Rosea and Ixora javanica are the most common Ixora species offered in nurseries. Another important species is Ixora finlaysoniana which originated from India to Indochina and this shrub produces fragrant white flowers. As a result of hybridization and natural crossing, many plant varieties have developed which are of horticultural importance. The species and varieties have been arranged based on the color and flower. The common Ixora flowers available in different colors are Yellow, Pink, Orange, Red, and White.

The most common Ixora plant variety has scarlet flowers. Though other colors of flowers are also possible (red, pink, orange, and white) you will typically need another variety. When unsure, ask in the garden center or a nursery about the flower colors a plant produces. This is the easiest method to choose a variety based on the colors of the flowers.

Dwarf Ixora plants are popular as low hedges and they have a characteristic shrub form and very compact appearance. They are mainly attractive when they bloom. However, keep in mind that it takes some time for Dwarf Ixora to bloom again.

Ixora encompasses a whole genus of flowering shrubs and trees, with the Dwarf Ixora being a smaller version of Ixora coccinia, which is known simply as ‘Ixora.’ Other varieties of Ixora include the below;

Ixora finlaysoniana – This Ixora variety is commonly known as the white jungle flame, the white Siamese Ixora, and the fragrant Ixora.

Ixora pavetta – It is known as the torchwood tree, this small evergreen tree is native to India.

Ixora macrothyrsa – This tropical hybrid is called the super king for good reason. It has erect branches spanning 10 feet, and bright red color clusters of flowers.

Ixora javanica – This Ixora plant is native to Java, and features large glossy leaves and coral-colored flowers.

Ixora Chinensis – This plant is commonly called Chinese Ixora, and is a medium-sized evergreen shrub, usually growing to around four feet in height.

Soil Requirement for Growing Ixora Plants

Ixora plant is an acid-loving plant and thrives in well-drained soil with a pH level between 5.0 to 5.5. Avoid planting near concrete and in cement pot because concrete can cause to increase the soil pH (Alkaline). Keep the soil evenly moist and then prune the plant when it gets unruly. It makes an excellent low hedge with its 4 to 6-foot height.

When planting Ixora, the important thing to remember is that it must be planted in acidic soil because alkaline soil can result in yellow foliage. Run-off from concrete can cause the soil to become alkaline. To avoid this problem, plant Ixora at least several feet away from concrete structures, and using acid-forming fertilizer can help counteract soil alkalinity.

Sunlight and Temperature Requirement for Growing Ixora Plants

Ixora plant loves the sun. Accordingly, plant it in locations where it can receive full sunlight. Exposure to greater amounts of light will result in compact development and more flower bud formation. Try to keep the soil moist since Ixora plants thrive in humid conditions, and make sure the soil is well-drained. Ixora is also sensitive to frost. You will need to move it to warmer areas when the temperature level becomes very cold.

A warm and moist environment is key for a thriving Ixora plant. Temperatures should be kept above 15°C at all times (even in winter), and avoid placing your plant anywhere in your home that has a cold draft. Also, Ixora plants love humidity. Try keeping the Ixora plant in a traditionally humid room of your home. Also, you can spritz the plant daily with water to increase humidity, or invest in a small space humidifier to put near the Ixora plant and any other tropical you may have. Warmth is essential and these plants cannot tolerate temperature levels below 15°C. Stand the pots on trays of moist pebbles during the active growing period for extra humidity, but do not continue this treatment during the winter rest period.

Propagation of Ixora

To propagate the Ixora plant, take cuttings in the spring. Usually, rooting the Ixora plant is difficult, and you might need rooting hormone and bottom heat for success. The flowers produce dark purple color berries with seeds that are sometimes viable. If you spot any of these, clean the pulp off the seed, and then soak it overnight. Fill a 2-inch pot with seed starter mix and then plant the seed, and watering it well. After that, place the plant in a warm location with moderate light, moving it into bright light and removing the bag as soon as the seed germinates.

Propagate Ixora from stem cuttings 5 to 8 cm long taken in spring. Immediately trim each cutting below a leaf, remove that leaf carefully and then dip the cut end in hormone rooting powder. Plant the cutting in a 5 to 8 cm pot containing a moistened equal-parts mixture of peat moss and coarse sand or perlite. Enclose the whole in a plastic bag or propagating case and stand it in bright filtered light at a temperature level of 21-27°C. When the cuttings have rooted probably in 4 to 6 weeks and uncover it gradually over a 2 or 3 weeks period to acclimatize the new plant to the less humid atmosphere of the room. When the new plant is fully uncovered, and begin to water moderately (allowing a couple of centimeters (0.4 to 0.8 inch) or so of the potting mixture to dry out between watering again) and apply standard liquid fertilizer once every 2 weeks. About 3 months after the start of the propagation move the new plant into a slightly bigger pot of the recommended potting mixture for adult plants and treat it as mature.

Process of Growing Ixora Plants

In case if you miss this: Growing Coneflowers.

Yellow Ixora
Yellow Ixora (pic credit: pixabay)

Generally, the best floral displays are produced by the Ixora plant grown in full sun. Also, the flowers occasionally produce a dark purple to blackberry with seeds that are sometimes viable. Clean the pulp off the seed and then soak it overnight. Plant in about a 2-inch pot filled with good seed starter mix. Moisten the mixture and fasten a plastic bag over the pot and place in a warm location with moderate light. Keep the pot moist and then move it to bright light as soon as the seed has germinated.

Plant Ixora in full sunlight and it tolerates partial shade, full sunlight results in more generous blooms. Ixora plant performs well in well-drained and slightly acidic soil with a pH level of 5.0. Avoid locations where the plant is exposed to cold winds and harsh ocean breezes. After that, provide enough water to soak the root zone to a depth of about 6 inches. Never allow the soil to become completely dry or sopping wet.

Fertilize Ixora three times per year that means in early summer, midsummer, and late summer. Each time, apply about 1 tablespoon of fertilizer for every 1 foot of plant height. Scatter the fertilizer on the ground around the Ixora tree on an area extending to the drip line, which is the point where water drips from the outermost branches. Water deeply after planting and always refer to the fertilizer package for specific instructions.

Spray the shrub by using insecticidal soap spray if your Ixora is bothered by pests such as aphids or scale. Spray the tops and bottoms of the plant leaves, as soap spray kills only on contact. Repeat every 4 to 7 days.

Mulch the Ixora plant with at least 3 to 4 inches of organic mulch, such as bark chips or pine needles. Mulch conserves moisture, moderates soil temperature level, and helps maintain a proper pH balance. Also, mulch helps control nematodes, which are microscopic pests in the soil.

Ixora Plant Care

  • Ixora plants like a lot of water. They are acid-loving plants and they grow best in acidic, rich, well-drained soil. If the soil pH level is or becomes alkaline, leaves turn yellow and then need an application or two of a chelated iron supplement for plants.
  • Since these are heavy-blooming plants, feed with one of the complete liquid foliar fertilizers every 4 to 6 weeks from spring through fall.
  • Ixora plant care is negligible, which makes it helpful as a part of the low maintenance landscape. Annual spring pruning and fertilizing will enhance the plant’s health and growth. Some common plant diseases are fungal but can be minimized by suspending overhead watering.
  • The plant requires water only in the root zone to prevent the foliage from getting wet. Spider mites and aphids are common in Ixora plants. But using insecticidal oil sprays to combat these pests. By using a 2- to 3-inch layer of mulch around the root zone to prevent competitive weeds, enhance water retention and add organic nutrients to the soil.
  • Care of Ixora plants in containers needs re-potting every 2 to 3 years. The Ixora plants are extremely tender and will succumb to freezing temperatures.
  • Carefully add topsoil or organic peat moss to the hole when you plant. Also, you can add composted cow manure to enrich the soil around the plant’s root ball. Trim lightly for shaping anytime during warm months.
  • Ixora looks best with branch trimming, rather than being manicured with hedge trimmers. The plants have a naturally beautiful, mounded form and can grow fairly wide.
  • Water the Ixora plant regularly. Fertilize the plant 3 times a year in spring, summer, and autumn. These plants are happier with an all-purpose food, the same fertilizer you’d use for non-flowering shrubs.

How and When to Fertilize Ixora Plants

  • When it comes to fertilizing Ixora plants, the first thing to know is that you have to do it consciously. You should not fertilize the plant with any type of fertilizer you can find and at any time of the year. Take into account important aspects such as that the Ixora plant needs acidic soils, and that its development time is spring and summer.
  • Fertilize from spring to late summer season, letting the plant rest through fall and winter. You can use a 30-10-10 mix liquid fertilizer, and then applying it with a good watering for every 2 to 3 weeks. Although you should always read and then follow the instructions for using the fertilizer, it is advisable to slightly dilute the dosage compared to those instructions.
  • When transplanting your Ixora plant, it is good to do so in soil rich in organic matter. Also, ensuring a good supply of nutrients provides better drainage to the soil. To make the mixture, you can add about 1/3 of compost or well-fermented manure to the soil.
  • In case you notice that the leaves of this shrub start to turn yellowish color, it may be due to a deficiency of nutrients such as iron and magnesium. Check the health of your plant leaves frequently.
  • The use of foliar fertilizer is best for plant growth and this is usually one of the best solutions to help promote abortion and flowering of your Ixora plants.

Pruning Ixora Plants

Prune Ixora plant after it blooms, and whenever the plant looks untidy. Ixora plants tolerate pruning well and can be trimmed by several inches and you can cut each shoot down to only one bud. Flowers bloom on new growth, so pruning is a great way to increase the blooms on the plant. Pruning can revitalize older plants. In general, the Ixora plant is suitable for hedges or screens, but it can also be planted in pots. Smaller plant varieties can be planted around larger plants as edgings.

How Much Water Does An Ixora Plant Need?

Water the plants moderately during the active growth period, allowing the top centimeter (0.4 inches) or so of the potting mixture to dry out between watering. During the rest, the winter period give enough water to keep the mixture from drying out.

During flowering in summer abundant regular watering about 3 times a week, the soil should not dry up. Use only soft water. In winter, moderate watering every 6 to 8 days. It is required not to fill the plant, but at the same time, the soil should never dry out, even in the winter season. Water should not be cold.

Ixora plant likes to have continuously moist soil, and like most flowering plants, it should not be allowed to dry out. Though, aim to keep the soil moist but not wet by watering it once the top layer of soil has dried out. Remember that the temperature and light your Ixora plant receives will affect its watering needs, as well as whether it is kept in a container or grown directly in the ground. Ensure the soil is well-draining so that any accidental overwatering the plant won’t cause problems, and can simply be drained away. Like most plants, the Dwarf Ixora plants can suffer from root rot and other diseases if it sits in soggy soil.

Ixora plants love being kept consistently moist. Water them often the specific amount will depend on the environment in your home. Remember that the soil should never be allowed to dry out, though you can decrease your watering cadence a bit in the winter. Ixora plants require a lot of watering in spring-summer. And, make sure that the soil is always moist, although without flooding. In the autumn and winter season the water needs to decrease, but try not to let the soil dry out completely.

Pests and Diseases Control for Growing Ixora Plants

Sooty mold is one problem in Ixora plants. Aphids will attack Ixora plants and are responsible for covering leaves with sooty mold. Fortunately, aphids are easy to control by using Malathion, or sprays of organic neem oil insecticide or insecticidal soap. Ixora plants are high-light plants but enjoy partial shade.

Ixora plants generally need protection from aphids and scale. Apply an insecticidal soap spray or neem oil to control the pests in Ixora plants. If you notice your plant’s leaves developing dark spots, it may mean the plant is missing two primary micronutrients like iron and manganese. This is a common problem and treats the dark spots with a chelated micronutrient foliar spray applied directly to the leaves. Young plant leaves are better able to absorb the spray than old leaves, so they are more responsive to the treatment.

Edges of its foliage turn a brown color when exposed to direct sunlight. Protect the plant by moving to a shadier location especially from mid-day full sun. Leaves will turn a yellow color and drop off when the plant is being over-watered. Allow the soil to dry out and then adjust watering to keep the soil moist but not wet. Leaves can also appear anemic and yellowed and in need of an application of chelated iron. If the plant is not growing check closely for spider mites on the underside of plant leaves.

Leaf spot diseases can be mainly caused by various fungi in the Ixora plant. Get your Ixora tested if you are unsure whether the plant is infected by fungi. Fungal leaf spot disease is seen on the Ixora plant that has been watered overhead. Wet leaves harbor various types of fungi and stop watering your Ixora from above to prevent a fungal infection. Carefully water your Ixora at the base of the plant. Fungal leaf spot disease in the Ixora plant is not fatal though and the plant will recover if you care well for it like usual.

Other Ixora Plant Growing Problems are:

Ixora plants that do not bloom are not getting enough light.

Treatment – Locate the plant near a bright window or move it outdoors for the summer.

If the Ixora leaves get brown edges and flower buds to shrivel without opening, the air is too dry.

Treatments – Put the pots of Ixora on trays with moist pebble or use a room humidifier to increase the air humidity.

Commonly Asked Questions about Growing Ixora Plants

You may also check this: How To Grow Butter Beans.

Questions about Growing Ixora
Questions about Growing Ixora (image source: pixabay)

Does Ixora need full sun?

Generally, Ixora flowers continuously under ideal conditions. While full sun is essential for maximum flower production, this plant especially large-leaved variety can be grown in partial shade.

How often should Ixora be watered?

Water the plant regularly, with a deep soaking about once a week and less during the winter season, and keep the soil moist but not dripping wet.

How do you keep Ixora blooming?

Annual pruning is recommended to keep the plant producing flowers, but care must be taken to only remove a small portion of tip growth. Getting Ixora plants to bloom after heavy shearing is an exercise in futility if pruning is done well into spring. You will have to wait until next year for new flower buds to form.

Why my Ixora leaves turning brown?

Ixora plant leaves turn brown when they are unable to absorb macro-nutrients like Phosphorous and Potassium. Ixora leaves also turn a brown color when the plant is infected with fungal leaf spot disease.

How do I make Ixora bloom?

If you think that light and soil conditions are adequate for plant growth, you might water in a low-phosphorus fertilizer. And you might sprinkle Epsom salt around the Ixora plants and water it in. This will help the Ixora plant absorb the necessary nutrients that encourage flowering.

Why my Ixora leaves turning yellow?

Ixora leaves turn yellow color due to Chlorosis, which happens due to a lack of Iron and Manganese. Ixora leaves also turn yellow color due to Aphid and Spider mite infestations.

Is Ixora easy to grow?

Ixora plants have a long and profuse bloom period during the warm months and are easy to grow and maintain. There are some Ixora cultivars grown in our area and dwarf Ixora is named for its compact growth and small leaves.

Why is my Ixora dying?

Ixora plants can be deadly due to nutrient deficiency caused by a pH level higher than 5.5. Some infected pests in Ixora plants are Aphids, Mealybugs, Root weevils, and Spider mites. Ixora plant is an attention-grabbing plant that can be grown indoors.

Can I grow Ixora from cuttings?

To propagate your Ixora plant, take cuttings in the spring season.

Can Ixora grow in shade?

Ixora plants prefer full sun to light shade. They will bloom more profusely in high light. They are sensitive to the cold and will develop rust-colored spots when exposed to temperatures below 4°C, although they recover quickly with warm weather conditions.


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