Plant of the Week – St. Elmo’s Fire™

Plant of the Week – St. Elmo’s Fire™

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St. Elmo’s Fire™

Russelia equisetiformis

A favorite of hummingbirds and butterflies, St. Elmo’s Fire™ (Russelia equisetiformis) is a wonderful deep red, desert-adapted, water-wise, easy to care for plant. With flowing flowers, this small shrub has a great trailing form that works well in containers or in the ground.


  • I bought one of these last fall and it is in a large container, covered at night when temps are 33 or less..Parts have died, should I trim them back after frost date is over?

  • Hello Barb,
    Yes- you want to wait until the danger of frost is over (March) and then trim back what has died.
    Thank you,

  • My 3 year old plant froze too. I cut it back and it is now coming back beautifully.

  • Is this native of the Americas? From where? is it xeri?

  • The russelia is native to Mexico and Guatemala. It is a desert adapted shrub and will tolerate a desert climate. We do recommend it get regular irrigation especially in the summer.

    Thank you,

  • I purchased one a few days ago and forgot to ask where should it be planted. I am going to put it in a pot so I can move it in the winter. Full, partial sun, watering requirements and whatever info would be of help to me in Tucson.


  • Hi Lois,
    The St. Elmo’s Fire does best in full to partial sun.
    Water thoroughly and let soil dry a bit in between waterings.
    The plant is root hardy to 15° but can get damaged at 32°.

    Hope this helps!

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