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Ixora Care in Southern California

by | Aug 10, 2023 | Landscaping, Gardening | 0 comments

Southern California has the blessing of warm weather most of the year. Winters are mild, too. These conditions allow for many tropical blooming plants in our landscapes. One such plant is Ixora, of which jungle geranium is the most common variety.

Ixora Varieties

Coming in all colors and sizes, Ixoras bloom best when it’s hot, taking most of the spring to put on new growth and produce flower buds. Once flowering has begun, you’ll enjoy color all summer long.

Ixora Hedge

Ixoras are lush, large-leaved shrubs that produce rounded clusters of star-shaped blooms. These clusters can grow 7 to 8 inches in diameter and are scattered randomly throughout the plant. They appear on the tips of new upright stems and are readily visible and fully exposed to the sun.

“Maui” is a bright red-orange variety that produces a medium size shrub with medium size foliage.

Ixora Blooms and Buds

“Nora Grant” is a dark pink blooming variety with a habit similar to Maui.

“JG Yellow” produces butter yellow blooms on a shorter, compact shrub.

“Superking” is a large, striking variety, often growing to 5 to 6 feet tall with large, glossy leaves and large dark red blooms.

Dwarf Ixora, or “Taiwan-ensis,” comes in red, yellow, pink, and orange. It’s ultra-compact, often growing to no more than 8 to 10 inches. It blooms profusely, but is slow to re-bloom. If space is a problem, try this compact tropical jewel.

Planting Ixora

  • Plant your Ixora in a sunny, raised area, using plenty of planting mix or soil mix to raise the level of the bed.
  • Dig a hole 1.5 to 2 times wider than the root size but no deeper than the original pot.
  • Rest the root system on the undisturbed soil at the bottom of the hole and fill around the roots with your prepared bed mixture.
  • Water your new plant with a root stimulator, following the directions on the label.
  • If a trellis is necessary or desired, install it no more than 12 inches away from the plant so that it will be available for support.

Watering Ixora

Ixoras are very sensitive to drying out and should be watered regularly and thoroughly. But take care not to over water. Deep watering will ensure that roots grow deep and resist drought.

Ixora Blooms

Fertilizing Ixora

Regularly applying fertilizer boosts the formation of new flower buds. Since flowers spring from new growth, encouraging new growth will encourage more blooms.

You can make supplemental feedings with a water-soluble fertilizer throughout the growing season. Hibiscus fertilizer is formulated with many tropical blooming plants in mind, offering the correct balance of leaf-inducing nitrogen, bloom-promoting phosphorus, and vigor-imparting potassium.

Insects & Disease

Like many tropicals, Ixoras are susceptible to mealy bugs and spider mites. Insecticidal soaps and sprays can help (follow all directions on the manufacturer’s label). If your planting is healthy and gets plenty of sunshine, your plants will likely fend off many pests.

Winter Protection

You can more precisely control growing conditions by growing Ixora in containers. For instance, you can offer winter protection by moving the container into the warmth of a garage. You can install drip irrigation to individual pots and apply soluble fertilizers.

Use a blooming tropical mix with no added fertilizers to increase soil salts and burn roots.

FAQ: Caring for Ixora

Q: How often should I water my Ixora plant?

A: In Southern California’s climate, water your Ixora weekly, ensuring the soil is well-drained. During hot summer months, you may need to water it more often if the soil dries out quickly.

Q: What is the best soil for Ixora in this region?

A: Ixora thrives in slightly acidic to neutral soil rich in organic matter. In Southern California, amend soil with peat moss or compost to maintain the right pH balance and soil structure.

Q: Do Ixora plants need a lot of sunlight?

A: Ixora plants require full to partial sunlight, so choose a location where they can receive at least 4-6 hours of direct sunlight daily.

Q: How can I protect my Ixora from the harsh afternoon sun?

A: Provide light shade during the peak afternoon hours, especially in the hottest summer months, to protect it from potential sunburn.

Q: When is the best time to fertilize Ixora, and what type should I use?

A: Fertilize during the growing season, from spring through fall. Use a slow-release fertilizer high in nitrogen to encourage lush foliage and flowering.

Q: Are there any specific pests to watch out for with Ixora?

A6: Keep an eye out for pests like aphids and spider mites. Regular inspection and prompt use of insecticidal soap or neem oil can help manage these pests.

Q: How do I manage the watering needs of Ixora during a drought?

A7: Prioritize water conservation by using mulch to retain soil moisture. Water early in the morning or evening to reduce evaporation.

Q: Can Ixora be grown in containers?

A: Yes. Ensure the pot has good drainage, and use a potting mix suitable for acid-loving plants.

Q: How should I prune Ixora to maintain its shape and health?

A: Prune in late winter or early spring before new growth begins. Remove any dead or diseased branches, and shape the plant to encourage denser foliage.

Q: Is Ixora resistant to diseases, or should I be concerned about any specific ones?

A: Ixora can be susceptible to fungal diseases if over-watered or planted in poorly draining soil. Follow proper watering techniques and ensure good air circulation to mitigate the risk.

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