Ixora Facts and Growing Tips

Updated on June 12, 2015
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Ixora Facts

Ixora is a popular flowering plant among gardeners because of its showy flower clusters. Here are some basic facts about the plant.

  • Family: Rubiaceae. As is typical of this family, the leaves are opposite in arrangement.
  • Leaves: In Ixora, the leaves are a medium to dark green and particularly leathery and glossy.
  • Flowers: The flower appears in clusters at the end of branches. Each cluster may contain up to 60 individual flowers. Each flower is very small and tubular, with four petals. It comes in a variety of brilliant colours like scarlet, orange, yellow and red. The style is forked at the tip, and protrudes slightly out of the corolla tube.
  • Fruit: The fruit is a berry containing 1-2 seeds.

A yellow Ixora chinensis
A yellow Ixora chinensis | Source

Origin

Ixora is native to tropical Asia where over 400 species exist. They are mostly shrubs and small trees that are part of the understorey plant community in the tropical forest, but some species can become very tall. People of the region have been using Ixora for generations, not only for ornamental purposes but also, more importantly, for its medicinal qualities.

In southern China, one of the most common native species is Ixora chinensis. Identified by its almost stalkless leaves and red flowers, it is widespread in Southeast Asian gardens and used to treat various ailments like rheumatism and wounds. Ixora coccinea, a dense shrub with scarlet flowers, is native to India where it is widely use in traditional medicine as well. The leaves possess antiseptic properties and the roots can be used to treat diarrhea and fever.

Ixora coccinea bushes in a garden.
Ixora coccinea bushes in a garden. | Source

Garden Ixoras

A large number of Ixoras planted in gardens are cultivars with various flower colours, height and leave characteristics. Examples are Ixora chinensis ‘Rosea’ and Ixora coccinea ‘Magnifica’ with red-pink and scarlet flowers respectively. Another species is Ixora casei ‘Super King' that has large clusters of yellow flowers and grows up to 12 feet in height. Dwarf cultivars are also available like Ixora compacta ‘Sunkist’. This species grows to a height of only 60 cm with orange flowers.

Ixora rosea
Ixora rosea | Source

Growing Tips

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

Because Ixora is a tropical plant, it loves the sun. Accordingly, plant it in areas where it can receive full sunlight. Exposure to greater amounts of light will result in compact growth and more flower bud formation. Ixora likes to be watered, but you shouldn’t do it excessively. Try to keep the soil moist since Ixora thrive in humid conditions and make sure the soil is well drained because clogged soil can cause the root to rot.

Ixora is susceptible to aphids, a sap sucking insect. You can use insecticidal soap or eco-friendly plant extract to control aphid populations. Ixora is also sensitive to frost. You will need to move it to warmer areas when the temperature becomes very cold.

To obtain a compact-looking appearance, trim the plant after flowering. Pruning can revitalize older plants. In general, Ixora is suitable as hedges or screens, but it can also be planted in pots. Smaller varieties can be planted around larger plants as edgings.

Are you growing Ixora in your garden?

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Questions & Answers

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      • profile image

        Beverly 

        2 months ago

        I love ixorias however my problem is the fungi and dots on the leaves especially during the winter month. I live in the Caribbean any suggestions?

      • profile image

        Marbie 

        4 months ago

        My plant was beautiful lots of flowers and all of a suddent the braches began to die leaves turned brown i trued marking the soil more acidic but they are still turning brown what can it be...

      • profile image

        Howie 

        4 months ago

        I put in a new lawn last year and added 2 gold and 2 red Ixora’s. This spring ( now ) the gold has flowers but the red has nothing. Any ideas?

      • profile image

        Sue 

        5 months ago

        My ixoras are planted up against the house. The leaves are mouldy and the young flowers are not forming. When I pull off dead buds there are many ants. I have given them fish emultion, is there more I can do.

      • profile image

        Gregory 

        7 months ago

        Also, Mr. Samuel Ramires, this plant has just helped me do my taxes. So, you better think twice before making such a flippant remark. Sadly, I did prune it back too far and killed it. Now I'm totally screwed.

      • profile image

        Gregory 

        7 months ago

        It is not a "dumb" plant, Samuel. It is a very intelligent plant. It helps me with my homework and we often play chess. I have yet to beat this plant.

      • profile image

        Samuel Ramires Huron Sd 

        11 months ago

        It's a dumb plant

      • profile image

        Offiong Uko 

        12 months ago

        I like ixora plants but everytime I try planting it the leaves turn yellow and the whole plant dies off. Now I realize that there are 2 main reasons for this:

        1) Planting and watering ixora by the concrete fence causes the soil to be alkaline.

        2) Watering the plant daily can cause the roots to rot without sufficient draining of the water.

      • profile image

        Mollie 

        15 months ago

        Does anyone know how far back to prune the plant and can you prune in any season as long as it has stopped flowering?

      • profile image

        aleida 

        24 months ago

        love colour and flowers in my garden. thought I would give ixoria a go

      • profile image

        Prof. (Dr.) I.C. Datta 

        2 years ago

        Very informative Newsletter.

        Thanks a lot

      • profile image

        Sudhakar 

        2 years ago

        I live in India. I grow ixora plant in my garden. I do not get enough Flowers. I usually add cow's manure to soil. But, how many times in a year can I do that

      • profile image

        Carol 

        4 years ago

        Thanks so very much for the info on Ixora Coccinea. Would not have known it was an acid loving plant.

      • profile image

        l;,u 

        5 years ago

        jigyj

      • profile image

        Deeanna Puteri 

        6 years ago

        Love this topic about an ixora plant.

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