Ixora, also known as West Indian Jasmine or Jungle Geranium is a small to medium sized shrub that flowers in bunches. It comes in beautiful red, orange, yellow, white, and pink color flowers. If you have this plant at your home, it is definitely going to catch attention of visitors. Ixora flowers are very long lasting, they can stay fresh for up to one month after blooming.
These flowers appear much like hydrangea flowers. However, these are meant for two different climates. While hydrangeas thrive in cooler climates, Ixora prefers tropical to sub tropical climate. So, if you can not plant hydrangeas in your area due to hot weather conditions, Ixora is the one you should plant.
If you’re ready to grow your own, let’s take a look at all you’ll need to know about Ixora plant care.
Best Temperature for Ixora
Ixora thrives in temperatures between 80°F – 100°F (28-38°C), with high humidity. If your area has a similar weather, then you can plant any variety of Ixora. In other cases avoid planting dwarf ixora, which is less hardy when compared to the normal variety. Dwarf Ixora suffers leaf burns at high temperatures and dies easily in cold temperature.
Generally, below 50°F (10°C), there is a risk of Ixora plant getting damaged.
If night temperature dips below 50°F (10°C) but not under 39°F (4°C) during winters in your area, then you can try planting the large leafed variety of Ixora. Avoid white and pink flowers as they tend to be more cold sensitive. You would need to protect these plants from fog or mist during winter by placing a polythene sheet or bag over them. If your plant still drops leaves in winter, wait until spring for the plant to come back.
If night temperature dips below 32°F (0°C) during winters in your area, then you should not expect Ixora to last past winter season. It will die for sure and next year; you will have to buy a new plant. You can try growing Ixora in greenhouse but that would be too labor intensive. Growing Ixora as an indoor plant in colder areas is something that may be achievable as long as you are able to provide it temperature above 59°F (15°C).
Sunlight Recommendation for Ixora
Ixora is a sun loving plant. It prefers 4 to 8 hours of direct sunlight when the ambient temperature is under 100°F (38°C).
If the highest temperature rises above 104°F (40°C) in your area, then reduce the sunlight exposure to 2 to 4 hours. In this case, plant Ixora at a place that receives only morning sunlight. However, please note that less than 2 hours of direct sunlight exposure can reduce flowering in Ixora.
Once the flowers have bloomed, you can move the plant to shade to keep flowers fresh for a long time.
Soil PH for Ixora
Ixora is an acid loving plant. It prefers soil pH between 5.5 to 6.5. If the soil pH rises to 7 or above, then the leaves start turning yellow and flowers stop blooming. To fix this problem, adjust the soil PH by adding peat moss, mulch, or alum.
Best Fertilizer for Ixora
These plants are happy using an all-purpose fertilizer. Therefore, Vermicompost or worm castings fertilizer is best for Ixora. This organic fertilizer not only provides all the nutrients, but also helps maintain acidic soil pH. If you have planted it in ground, then fertilize only two times a year during spring and mid-summer. For potted plants, fertilize during early spring, midsummer, and end of summer. Add a layer of organic peat moss or mulch to keep soil a bit acidic in nature.
If you don’t have vermicompost, you can use NPK 19 19 19 after every 6 weeks. Avoid fertilizing during fall and winters. For dosage, follow instructions on product label. Ixora likes nitrogen rich fertilizers.
Ixora is a slow growing plant. So, don’t over fertilize it if you don’t see much growth.
Watering Requirements for Ixora
Ixora prefers moist soil, so keep watering this plant once or twice a day during summers. However, avoid making soil too soggy as it can cause root rot and other problems. Also, avoid wetting the foliage.
Water once or twice every week during winters. Protect from fog/dew.
Disease/Pest Control Tips for Ixora
Ixora is prone to attack by aphides, brown scales, and mealybugs. A regular spray of neem oil mixed with soap would keep these under control.
To avoid most of the potential diseases like fungal leaf spot, avoid wetting foliage and overwatering the soil.
Ixora Blooming Time & Pruning
Bloom time varies according to ambient temperature. So, it can vary from place to place. However, generally Ixora blooms in monsoon to late summer. In some places it blooms year-round.
Prune Ixora lightly to control its size or shape. Cut old flowers branches a few inches below the flower stalk. So that multiple new branches grow up and provide more flowers. More aggressive pruning can be done in early spring just before the plant starts new growth. However, keep in mind that Ixora grows slowly and therefore avoid over-trimming.
Dwarf Ixora should not be pruned aggressively.
You can propagate Ixora through stem cutting during spring or monsoon. Take a 6-to-7-inch, tender stem cutting, cut at 45 degrees. Dip it in a rooting hormone and plant in a well-draining soil mix. Leave it at a bright place that receives indirect sunlight. New growth should start appearing within a month or so.
You can also propagate Ixora using seeds.
Best Potting Mix for Ixora
Make a soil mix using 2 parts of garden soil, 1 part of vermicompost, and 1 part of peat moss. Add 1 part sand if you have clay soil.
Re-pot after every 3 years.