Ixora 'Nora Grant' (xora coccinia) pronounced "icks-SORE-ah" is perhaps one of the most quintessential plants of Southwest Florida presenting its colorful hot-pink flowers, which bloom off and on all year long. These evergreen shrubs require minimal care and thrive in full sun or light shade, which make them suitable for many varying types of gardens. They typically can range anywhere from 3-5 feet tall, which make them great additions for hedges, beautiful fence borders or as anchor plants for mixed gardens. There are also dwarf varieties, which work well planted in pots and used as accents to entry-ways, pools and decks, along driveways and gates etcetera, if given enough room, nora grant can also grow into tall screening hedges that rarely require pruning.
There are several varieties of ixora, with colors ranging from red, orange, yellow and pink and have gorgeous flowers that last up to 6-8 weeks upon blooming. Each flower has four petals that appear somewhat like a cross and have a deep, tubular throat that can be up to two inches long.
The Nora Grant variety is the most popular hybrid of ixora and is known for its versatility and durability. It requires little water, but should be planted in a well-drained and slightly acidic soil. Ixora is very tolerant to moderate salt levels in water, but you will want to avoid planting it in a direct ocean breeze. Avoid planting in sites that are exposed to very cold northwest winds. The hardiness rating is 9B, so temperatures below freezing will cause leaf damage. Few pests bother this plant. Occasionally, the stinging caterpillars will find this attractive plant, so be mindful when hand pruning so you don't grab one.
Ixora’s flowers can last up to 6-8 weeks upon blooming.
This column is a joint effort by all at In The Garden, Sanibel's local garden center located at 3889 Sanibel Captiva Road, Sanibel Island, Florida.