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.
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.
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.
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.
Mona Wolters from Brooksville, FL on August 28, 2020:
I was told I can use coffee grounds to make the ground more acidic for Ixora. Is this true?
Pushpa Mudaliar on May 29, 2019:
How to order.
TDuchesse on October 22, 2018:
Batches of leaves and flowers are falling off my ixora plant. The plant was thriving until all the rain started. Is there anything I can do to save it? I have it planted in my garden. Thanks.
Terri on October 22, 2018:
Batches of leaves are falling off my “jungle beauty” ixora. It was thriving perfectly until all the rain started. Can you tell what I can do to save it? It is planted in my front garden.
Beverly on July 07, 2018:
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?
Marbie on May 20, 2018:
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...
Howie on May 18, 2018:
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?
Sue on March 30, 2018:
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.
Gregory on February 16, 2018:
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.
Gregory on February 10, 2018:
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.
Samuel Ramires Huron Sd on September 27, 2017:
It's a dumb plant
Offiong Uko on September 25, 2017:
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.
Mollie on June 19, 2017:
Does anyone know how far back to prune the plant and can you prune in any season as long as it has stopped flowering?
aleida on September 23, 2016:
love colour and flowers in my garden. thought I would give ixoria a go
Prof. (Dr.) I.C. Datta on June 18, 2016:
Very informative Newsletter.
Thanks a lot
Sudhakar on January 03, 2016:
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
Carol on June 05, 2014:
Thanks so very much for the info on Ixora Coccinea. Would not have known it was an acid loving plant.
l;,u on September 13, 2013:
Deeanna Puteri on April 29, 2012:
Love this topic about an ixora plant.