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JUSTICIA floribunda

Image of Justicia floribunda

Jessie Keith

Family

Acanthaceae

Botanical Name

JUSTICIA floribunda

Plant Common Name

Firefly, Water Willow

Special Notice

This entry has yet to be reviewed and approved by L2G editors.

General Description

Certain to bring a smile when seen in flower from autumn to spring, firefly has pendent tubular flowers that are multicolored, blending from magenta-red to orange and finally yellow. A small, round or slightly mounding evergreen shrub from Brazil, it is root hardy when the plant is nipped by light winter frosts.

The leaves are a lightly glossed deep emerald green and are small tapered ovals held in opposite pairs on the thin branches. From autumn to spring, twig tips first bear purple buds that reveal a red and yellow flower. The blossom then elongates and opens to be be pollinated by hummingbirds, which are attracted by the magenta-red, orange-red, orange and bright canary yellow colors.

Grow firefly in any average garden soil that is moist but has good drainage and ideally not in highly alkaline ground. It handles full sun to partial shade, flowering well in either situation; consider partial sun in hot summer regions or if soils are sandy and slightly drier. Trim plants after flowering to retain a compact habit. Use firefly as a low edging or hedge in a subtropical setting or in the mixed border where its amazing floral colors can play off the foliage colors of nearby tropical plants like coleus or deep blue-flowering shrubs and perennials.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 10

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    10 - 15

  • Sunset Zone

    H1, H2, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Shrub

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun, Partial Shade

  • Height

    50'-75' / 19.7in - 29.5in

  • Width

    60'-85' / 23.6in - 33.5in

  • Bloom Time

    Early Spring, Spring, Fall, Late Fall, Early Winter, Winter, Late Winter

  • Native To

    Brazil

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Average

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Oval/Rounded

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    Yellow, Red, Orange, Magenta

  • Flower Color Modifier

    Multi-Color

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Green, Dark Green

  • Bark Color

    Sandy Brown

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    Yes

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Fine

  • Foliage Sheen

    Glossy

  • Evergreen

    Yes

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Bark Texture

    Smooth

  • Usage

    Container, Edging, Foundation, Mixed Border, Tropical

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Attracts

    Hummingbirds

  • Self-Sowing

    No