Three years ago I indulged in a frivolous plant.It was in a harmless little one gallon container at the local garden center and as I walked by it nearly sprouted legs and hopped in my already practical plant laden cart. This plant loves a more, shall we say, reasonable climate than the one in which I live. But…it was staring up at me with deep green foliage and a couple of promising fushia blossoms along with a measly little $8.99 price tag and I did the only thing a self-respecting-die-hard gardener would do. I waited until my husbands back was turned and I slipped it in to my cart between two rational and hardy hostas! I planted him (not my husband) in a lovely little pot on the patio next to my pergola and I spent a happy summer training tendrils of vine up and around my patio haven, while all the time it was winding its way into my heart. It was summer love affair that fall was determined to end. As things cooled off I had a decision to make, should I harbor this new love inside over the winter?
The answer was a resounding yes, so in early October I took it to my bathroom which has a fair amount of natural winter light and the most humidity in the house. There it stayed for 6 long months and I have to say that by the time early May rolled around I was tiring of it’s presence. Outside it went and it sprang to life and began to wind it’s way around my heart again…so much so that once again when cooler weather came I took it back to the bathroom. We have been together three years now and I can tell that the relationship is tenuous this spring. The leaves are a little sad looking, but the winding tendrils of vine are renewing their effort to climb the pergola column, the least I can do is meet it half-way. Out comes the tropical fertilzers as I gently apply what therapy I can. It will may take a full season to revive it’s natural beauty but true love is worth it.
USDA Zones: 10-11
Exposure: full sun (at least 5 hours direct light)
Height: twining stems 10-15″ long
Bloom time: all summer
Soil media: prefers well drained soil
Water requirements: regular watering, more in extreme heat
For constant blooms, fertilize every week with a bloom enhancing fertilizer like Miracle-Gro’s Bloom Booster.
Sun parasol- red
Alice du pont- pink
Stars and stripes- pink and white striped