INFORMATION ABOUT FIRECRACKER FLOWER…
By: Nikki Phipps
Dichelostemma or Firecracker Flower is a genus with five species including two subspecies, Dichelostemma ida-maia and Dichelostemma ‘Pink Diamond’, that are naturally distributed throughout the western United States but concentrated more in northern California and Oregon along the edges of wooded areas. Dichelostemma comes from the Greek and means two-part, claw-like structures forming a crown shape. This crown, however, is generally hidden in the throat of the flower tube.
For those who want something different, adding some Firecracker flower bulbs (Dichelostemma ida-maia) to your garden will definitely light up your beds with a burst of color.
One of the most unusual flowering bulbs you can grow, the Firecracker flower has long, strap-like leaves that give way to a profusion of brilliant, crimson-red blooms with greenish-yellow tips. The eye-catching Firecracker Flower blooms cascade like that of a fireworks display, which is where it derives its name.
Another must have in the garden is the pink firecracker flower (Dichelostemma ‘Pink Diamond’). This species has raspberry-pink blossoms that are tipped with creamy white. The narrow, grass-like foliage sprouts in the spring and disappears about the time the blossoms open.
Firecracker flowers prefer to be located in full sun. In fact, a sunny spot could bring as many as 20-25 flowers on one stem. You should plant firecracker flower bulbs during fall in well-drained soil about 2-3 inches deep. Protect the firecracker flower bulbs with a layer of mulch during winter.
Once warm weather comes, the firecracker flower buds will begin popping out of a wiry, central stalk and blooming will begin taking place in late spring/early summer.
These spectacular plants can reach heights of 2-2 1/2 feet tall. Water your firecracker flower regularly during its growing season but take care not to over water. Firecracker flower likes moderate moisture while its foliage is in vigorous growth, but enjoys warm, dry summers.
Firecracker flowers are not only beautiful flowers but extremely easy to grow as well, requiring little maintenance once established in the garden. Firecracker flower is a drought tolerant plant and suitable for xeriscaping in dry climates. Firecracker flower adapts well to containers and late-spring borders and works well with other low-growing perennials.
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and birds, especially hummingbirds. In fact, this flower is a favorite attraction to hummingbirds. It is also the only species in the genus that is pollinated by birds.
Firecracker flowers spread by offsets and can be easily divided after the plants die back. These can also be dispersed by seed. Allow the seed pods to dry on the plant and break them open to collect the seeds. Sow them indoors before the last frost and plant outdoors in mid-May.