General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Shrub
Life cycle: Perennial
Sun Requirements: Full Sun to Partial Shade
Partial or Dappled Shade
Water Preferences: Mesic
Dry Mesic
Minimum cold hardiness: Zone 8b -9.4 °C (15 °F) to -6.7 °C (20 °F)
Plant Height: 4 - 8 feet
Plant Spread: 6 - 8 feet
Leaves: Other: Can be evergreen to deciduous depending on zone
Flowers: Showy
Blooms on new wood
Flower Color: Red
Bloom Size: 1"-2"
Flower Time: Summer
Late summer or early fall
Late fall or early winter
Suitable Locations: Xeriscapic
Wildlife Attractant: Bees
Resistances: Humidity tolerant
Propagation: Other methods: Cuttings: Stem
Cuttings: Tip
Miscellaneous: Tolerates poor soil

Common names
  • Firespike
  • Cardinal Guard
  • Scarlet Flame
  • Mexican Firespike
Botanical names
  • Accepted: Thyrsacanthus tubaeformis
  • Synonym: Odontonema strictum
  • Synonym: Odontonema tubaeforme

Photo Gallery
Location: My backyard Sebastian, Florida
Date: 2022-12-23
Location: Sebastian,  Florida
Date: 2021-01-01
Location: NE.,Fl.
Date: 2013-09-22
Location: My garden
Date: 2020-07-07
Location: Daytona Beach, Florida
Date: 2015-11-11
#Pollination - Cloudless Sulphur (Phoebis sennae) visiting the fl
Location: Daytona Beach, Florida
Date: 2015-07-14
Location: Daytona Beach, Florida
Date: 2013-11-23
Location: zone 8 North Central, Fl.
Date: 2017-11-19
Photo by wcgypsy
Location: Winter Springs, FL zone 9b
Date: 2017-11-07
Location: Daytona Beach, Florida
Date: 2015-09-24
Blooms showing Fasciation (Cresting)
Location: Florida
Location: Daytona Beach, Florida
Date: 2012-08-22 
Photo taken at Sugar Mill Botanical Gardens, Port Orange, Florida
Location: Florida
Location: Martin County Florida zone 10
Date: July
That's a 6' tall fence behind it
Location: Old Town, Fl
Date: 2015-11-12
I'm loving these bright red blooms in my FL 8b garden where it is
Location: Daytona Beach, Florida
Date: 2015-08-02
Location: Winter Springs, FL zone 9b
Date: 2016-11-27
Location: Martin County Florida zone 10
Date: January
Location: my garden 
Date: 2014-11-19
Location: my garden 
Date: 2014-10-29
Location: Atlanta BG
Date: Aug 16
Date: 2019-09-07
Location: Sebastian, Florida
Date: 2017-01-13
Photo by wcgypsy
Location: Daytona Beach, Florida
Date: 2015-09-20
Bloom showing fasciation (cresting)

Date: 2013-10-31
Location: Daytona Beach, Florida
Date: 2012-08-22
Location: my garden 
Date: 2014-11-19

Date: September 2009
Location: Sebastian, Florida
Date: 2014-05-11
This is the #1 plant that attracts hummingbirds to my yard. Easy
Location: Daytona Beach, Florida
Date: 2014-09-09
Location: My garden
Date: 2016-10-03
Location: Martin County Florida zone 10
Date: July
1 yr. old taken from a cutting off the big one
Location: zone 8 Lake City, Fl.
Date: 2014-05-04
Location: zone 8 Lake City, Fl.
Date: 2014-05-04
Young plant emerging from dormancy
This plant is tagged in:

  • Posted by terrafirma (NE. FL. - Zone 9a) on Sep 22, 2013 11:49 AM concerning plant:
    Here in NE.Fl. this plant will die back in the winter and will reliably return after the spring clean up. It is said to attain a height/spread of 6-8'. In an area where there is no die back, i.e., a milder climate, I have seen it attain nearly twice that in height. It is a magnet for hummingbirds and butterflies alike.
  • Posted by Deebie (midstate South Carolina - Zone 8a) on Dec 11, 2015 11:45 AM concerning plant:
    I have this plant in my zone 8a garden and I love it. Although a hard frost will eventually blacken the leaves, it will die down for the winter and resprout again in the spring. It will wilt if placed in full sun, but rebounds when watered. This is only my 3rd year with this plant, which I received as a cutting from a generous DG member. This, coupled with the fact that it resprouts from the roots, may account for my bush only attaining a height of about 2 feet without blooms. I have it in my back border in filtered sun, which I have not been able to enjoy much this year because of illness and oppressive heat. So, I'm not sure whether hummers are able to benefit from mine, especially because it blooms so late in the season. This year, I have been covering my bush with frost cloth when we get a threat of frost, and so far, my plant is still green and blooming in December. I will take cuttings and plant some in my front borders, where I can view them from my front windows. They root easily, even in water, and make a great plant to share.
  • Posted by flaflwrgrl (North Fl. - Zone 8b) on Sep 18, 2011 8:03 PM concerning plant:
    Hummingbirds absolutely ADORE this shrub! They will be attracted to your yard by this shrub.
Plant Events from our members
piksihk On February 23, 2019 Cuttings stuck
piksihk On February 11, 2019 Maintenance performed
pruned down
piksihk On January 10, 2019 Bloomed
still in bloom; last freeze did not kill leaves
piksihk On December 17, 2016 Bloomed
starting to bloom
piksihk On March 3, 2016 Bloomed
these are still loaded with blooms - mild winter here so they continue to bloom;
piksihk On November 2, 2015 Bloomed
piksihk On November 1, 2014 Bloomed
piksihk On October 8, 2014 Miscellaneous Event
cuttings rooting in water
lovesblooms On May 12, 2016 Obtained plant
cuttings--set in wet sand with plastic bag covering.
Suga On October 3, 2016 Bloomed
MunchkinsMom On October 29, 2016 Miscellaneous Event
Growing like a little weed now that he finally has some room! I'll keep him on the patio table and bring him in the house if it freezes. Don't know where I'll eventually plant him
MunchkinsMom On September 9, 2016 Potted up
Repotted into 1 gallon pot
MunchkinsMom On November 2, 2015 Obtained plant
Morris Nursery $3.95 2 1/2" x 3" pot Firespike Scarlet Flame Odontonema strictum
tabbycat On April 20, 2022 Miscellaneous Event
New leaves sprouting at joints all along stems so may bloom this Spring.
tabbycat On December 4, 2021 Obtained plant
A starter plant of 2 stems about 25" with larger dark green leaves on ends. She had it growing in filtered sun under a tree.
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