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When you ask most people what they want in their garden, their most common answer is, “color”. One of the best plants that I like to recommend for warm-season color is the coral fountain. Also known as the firecracker plant (Russelia equisetiformis). It has beautiful, cascading foliage that resembles the movement of water.

Deep orange flowers begin to appear in spring, the attract both humans and hummingbirds. As you can see, this is not a plant for subtle color – it is dramatic.

It looks great when paired with succulents like artichoke agave (Agave parryi ‘truncata’)elephants food (Portulacaria afra), or lady’s slipper (Pedilanthus macrocarpus). For additional interest, you can plant it alongside yellow-flowering plants from the low-growing gold lantana (Lantana ‘New Gold’) or angelita daisy (Tetraneuris acaulis) all the way to the tall yellow bells (Tecoma stans stans).

Coral fountain paired with elephants food (Portulacaria afra).

In my garden, I have three of them growing underneath the filtered shade of my palo verde tree. If you’d like to learn more about coral fountain to see if it would be a good fit in your garden, please read my earlier post.

Did you know that up to 70 percent of water use is outdoors? That’s why we love desert plants and feature them each month. Find even more beautiful plants on our Arizona Low-Water-Use Plants page, and visit our page on Choosing and Planting Low Water-Use Plants for tips on plant selection and how to plant properly. Also, be sure to read through all of our featured Plant of the Month blogs!


This blog originally appeared on April 19, 2018, and is being reprinted with permission. Water – Use It Wisely is proud to feature guest bloggers who write about topics related to water and water conservation. The author of this blog, Noelle Johnson, is an urban horticulturist, Certified Arborist and freelance garden-writer who helps people create beautiful, low-maintenance gardens through helpful advice on her blog www.azplantlady.com. She is passionate about teaching people about the amazing desert plants that thrive in our landscapes.

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