New Additions To The Beds At Marion Square

On a recent Garden in the Parks day at Marion Square, the perennial plant Russelia equisetiformis was added to the raised rectangular beds along King and Calhoun streets by a group of Park Angels. 70 of these “firecracker plants”, as they are commonly known, were planted into a few bed locations that have recently been amended with mushroom compost.

Russelia equisetiformis is a perennial (although tender) in and around Charleston. It has an unusual growth habit that is tough to put a number on, but is usually seen here as being 2′ tall x 2′ wide with wiry, arching branches. But these cascading, rushlike stems with tiny scalelike leaves can reach lengths as long as 4′.

The plants’ botanical name (equisetiformis) is derived from Latin words meaning Horse and form. When you see the form of the plant and touch the stems, it does make you think of a horse’s tail.

The outstanding ornamental feature of this plant is obviously the flowers. The 1″ coral, tubular shaped flowers bloom profusely at the end of the arching stems from early summer to frost. The color and shape of these flowers make them a must stop for any Hummingbird out and about looking for nectar. After seeing a plant in full flower, it’s easy to see why it is commonly called the firecracker plant as it explodes with color and lights up any sunny to lightly shaded border. Russelia is also a great choice for creating dramatic spilling affects in containers and hanging baskets.

Next Wednesday morning we are having another Garden in the Parks day at Marion Square from 8am-10am. We will be tending to the beds and adding a few more types of plants to compliment the Russelia. If you can make it, we will meet at the corner of King and Calhoun. If not, I will keep you posted on what else we put in these beds and other plants we are using in other Parks around town.

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