Cultivation of Ixora coccinea (Rukmini)

Article Credit : Anjali Dhakal .. B.sc Ag.. IAAS, Paklihawa

Have you ever seen a plant whose flowers emerge like puffballs from the evergreen leaves in summer? It is ixora and if you have ever noticed , you cannot keep your eye away from this amazing flower. If you find yourself struggling remember , ixora is pronounced “icks-SORE-ah”.Here we discuss the characteristics and growing methods of ixora as housing plant.

INTRODUCTION

The old south Florida favourite ixora (Ixora coccinea) is a year round flowering plant that shouldn’t be put into the old fashioned category. Sometimes called flame of the woods ,ixora is a member of the Rubiaceae family which includes coffee , gardenia , firecracker vine and pentas. It is commonly known as west Indian jasmine. Other common names include viruchi , rangan , kheme , ponna , chann tanea etc. Ixora are the suitable choices for bonsai and hedges(in south east Asia) especially for its floral display. The genus name comes from the Sanskrit word “Ivakana” , after a Malaysian deity, or possibly from the name “Iswara”, a malabar deity. Ixora represents passion and increase sexuality

CHARACTERISTICS

Ixora flowers throughout the year. Each flower cluster can last between 6 and 8 weeks giving your landscape long lasting and lovely colour. Ixora varieties offer a nice selection of colours including bright red,orange,yellow,pink and white. An ever blooming shrub that is easy to maintain sounds like a dream for many gardeners. The fact that ixora comes in a range of colours is a great bonus. Ixora is a densely branched , evergreen shrub growing up to 2.5 meters tall. Water need is average and maintenance is low. Ixora blooms in spring,summer and hardiness zone is 9-11. It is found in a wide variety of habitats at elevations below 600 metres in srilanka.

USES

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In Asia, people are using ixora for generations for ornamental purposes and for its medicinal qualities to treat diarrhoea and fever. The flowers,leaves,roots,and the stem are used to treat various ailments in the Ayurveda and in folk medicines. Leaves are also used externally to treat sores,ulcers etc. The fruits when fully ripe are used as dietary source.

GROWING TECHNIQUES

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LIGHT: Ixora plant likes bright light but keep them away from direct sunlight in summer.

WATER: Keep the soil continuously moist, but reduce watering in the winter. Supply an environment with very high humidity.

TEMPERATURE: Keep the temperature above 60 F even in winter. Try to avoid cold drafts if the temperature drops lower.

SOIL: These acid loving plants thrive in rich ,moist,peat based soil.

FERTILIZER: Feed in spring with slow release pellets or weekly during the growing season with liquid fertilizer.

PROPAGATION

-Seed

-Cuttings of short jointed,semi ripe,non flowering wood.

– Air layering

HARVESTING

The main problem with flower cultivation is that it should harvest and marketed in time. Ixora doesn’t dry even after 3 days. In the plant it stays fresh up to 7 days. This crop doesn’t require ploughing for almost 10 years. Red coloured ixora has good market. Ixora is used for making garlands as its shelf life is long.

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