Odontonema strictens, Lavender Firespike
This evergreen shrub, known botanically as Odontonema strictum, bears stiff, mostly upright, sparse branches that reach about 6 ft. in height. Its dark, shiny, oblong leaves are pinnate, measuring 4-6 in. in length. Its native habitat is semi-forested, and so it comes as no great surprise that Firespike has become naturalized in disturbed hammocks around peninsular Florida. This species thrives in moist soils, but they should be well-drained. It can tolerate considerable drought, and in residential settings, watering can be reduced during the winter. It is not particularly salt-tolerant. Hummingbirds love the vibrant blooms of purple firespike. Its dense upright flower clusters are a magenta-pink to lavender and add bright color and interest to warm climate gardens. Fast-growing in the heat and humidity of summer, the upright stems have oval deep green leaves that taper at the tips. Light requirement: plant grows in part shade/part sun Soil tolerances: acidic; slightly alkaline; sand; loam; Drought tolerance: moderate Plant spacing: 24 to 36 inches Zone 8-11.
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