Dimensions: Typically 1-2 feet in height. Usually taller than broad, but sometimes falling over and forming small patches.
Growth Rate: Moderate.
Widespread in North America south to Miami-Dade and Collier counties; northeastern Mexico. Not documented on barrier islands in South Florida, but possibly historically present; it is cultivated at Pan’s Garden in Palm Beach.
Soils: Moist, well-drained calcareous or sandy soils, without humus.
Nutritional Requirements: Low; it grows in nutrient poor soils.
Salt Water Tolerance: Low; does not tolerate flooding by salt or brackish water.
Salt Wind Tolerance: Low; salt wind may burn the leaves.
Drought Tolerance: High; does not require any supplemental water once established.
Light Requirements: Full sun.
Flower Color: Red, orange or yellow.
Flower Characteristics: Showy.
Flowering Season: All year.
Fruit: Slender pod (follicle) with wind dispersed seeds.
Wildlife and Ecology: Larval host plant for monarch (Danaus plexippus) and rarely queen (Danaus gilippus) butterflies; possible larval host of soldier (Danaus eresimus) butterflies. Nectar plant for monarch (Danaus plexippus) and other butterflies. Attracts bees and other insects pollinators.
Horticultural Notes: Grown from seed, which may require chilling for a few weeks if fresh. Young plants are somewhat sensitive and should not be disturbed until established.
References: Miami-Dade County Landscape Manual (2005).