Odontontonema cuspidatum


by Judith Watson

I have found Odontonema cuspidatum (syn Odontonema strictum) to be very easy to grow in Chatswood.  It does under the common name of Scarlet Firespike or Cardinals Crest.  It is a native of Mexico and Panama.  My shrub is about 1.6 metres high and of similar width with somewhat caney growth.  It bears long lasting red flower sikes mainly in autumn and also at other times through the yea with small tubular flowers in erect panicles.  In my garden it is growing in a shady position with some  morning sun.  It seems to be pest free and does not seem to mind the exhaust from a nearby
air conditioning unit which can send out hot air in summer and very cold air in winter.  It reproduces by suckers but they have not become invasive.
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