Flame Acanthus

freshair2townsquare(z7/8, D/FW)June 19, 2012

I've had my lone Flame Acanthus since '09 when I purchased it at the Texas Discovery Garden's plant sale -- this is the first year it has thrived.

So . . . shape/pruning-wise, how do you take care of it?

* do you cut it back in the fall/winter?

* do you snip it lightly to help it produce new growth?

* do you leave it alone & let it do its thing?

~ freshair

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carrie751(z7/8 TX)

At this time of year, I let it alone, but mine is so big, I have to prune it severely early spring and it just starts all over. It is in full bloom right now. Pruning also helps it keep a good shape, Amy>

    Bookmark   June 19, 2012 at 5:45PM
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freshair2townsquare(z7/8, D/FW)

The first 3 yrs, it barely held on at all. I'm honestly surprised I didn't toss it. But this year, it has taken off.

So, Carrie, are you saying that it behaves similar to Salvia greggii that looks better with pruning in January & July?

~ freshair

    Bookmark   June 19, 2012 at 7:20PM
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wantonamara Z8 CenTex

I do not prune mine in summer but just in late winter early sping. I find that the thin wood dies back a bit in winter but it is alive and well and takes to the trimming nicely. It is a seed thrower but this is the first year that I had a lot of spare germination. Mine are 6 foot tall and becoming a hedge.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2012 at 7:58PM
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carrie751(z7/8 TX)

I prune mine early spring only, Amy. You would lose a lot of flowers if you prune in the summer, and the hummers and butterflies would not love you as much. I have never had a problem with their flourishing at my house.........do you have yours in full sun?? They do like the heat.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 9:17AM
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debndal(8a DFW, TX)

I cut mine almost to the ground in early spring, and then in mid to late April I trim the new growth back about 1/3. This helps it to bush out, stay a little shorter than it would otherwise, and not flop as much later on in the summer. During the summer I remove the floppier limbs to keep it from eating some of my other nearby plants.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 11:23AM
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jardineratx

I do exactly as debndal does. My flame acanthus is around 7 years old.
Molly

    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 11:31AM
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wantonamara Z8 CenTex

Maybe they are getting floppy because you water them. Mine is in part shade, never watered, in limestone rubble and 4" of topsoil, never fertilized and it grows in a nice airy hedge about 6 feet. They never flop. They are a Big Bend plant so their needs are minimal.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2012 at 1:28AM
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debndal(8a DFW, TX)

The one I have in part sun is the one that flops. It does get watered with the grass, but I don't water it otherwise. The one in full sun and gets missed by the sprinkler system doesn't flop. I always assumed the partial shade one flopped because of the shade, but it could be the water it gets from the sprinkler, because it's fairly close to a head. I've thought about removing it (I don't have another full sun spot right now to move it to) but the hummers would probably get mad. They love it.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2012 at 9:05AM
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carrie751(z7/8 TX)

None of mine seem to flop and they all get water from the sprinkler.............must be some other reason.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2012 at 1:48PM
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wantonamara Z8 CenTex

Do you fertilize the area?

    Bookmark   June 25, 2012 at 11:13PM
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carrie751(z7/8 TX)

That is a difficult question as some get a little fertilizer due to their location, but the mother plant is in the middle of a portion of my lawn, and I don't fertilize her.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2012 at 8:06AM
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debndal(8a DFW, TX)

The only fertilizer mine gets is an occassional compost tea or fish emulsion foliar feed. It probably gets hit with fertilizer when we fertilize the grass, but I use organic fertilizer so don't know if that would be the reason either. It's also in pretty nice soil, so maybe the lush growth is what makes the lower branches heavy - so they flop.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2012 at 10:08AM
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freshair2townsquare(z7/8, D/FW)

a) are y'all's red or orange? i recently found one that is almost red & makes mine look light orange by comparison ;(

b) do cutting work well, or do seeds work better?

    Bookmark   June 26, 2012 at 10:58AM
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carrie751(z7/8 TX)

Amy, mine reseed all over the yard, so I would not worry about cuttings unless you just want to try it that way.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2012 at 11:04AM
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debndal(8a DFW, TX)

I have a pumpkin colored one which is beginning to grow some red branches after 4 years in the ground - so it is 2-tone this year. My part sun one is a very red red. I've never tried cuttings. You might try laying a branch over on the ground and pinning it down and see if it will root. Mine also reseed very well.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2012 at 12:14PM
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freshair2townsquare(z7/8, D/FW)

Alrighty then. Maybe I'll find seedlings for the first time since this is the first year its been happy. Do the seedlings turn up all along or next spring? I'll also try the layering technique just for fun.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2012 at 1:19PM
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