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What's Blooming in Paradise: Flame Vine

December 21, 2012
Anita Force Marshall , Island Reporter, Captiva Current, Sanibel-Captiva Islander

Plant Subject: Flame vine (Pyrostegia venusta )

First impression: Dramatic, exotic, shades of tangerine orange, trumpet shaped flowers that remind me of gigantic honeysuckle blooms. The yellow stamens and styles are extra long and showy extending far out from the flowers. Its dark green leaves are trifoliate with ovate leaflets. The vine starts out woody then has thin long tendrils that attach itself easily to any surface or protrusion. No detectable fragrance, but pollinators are all around. You can ooooh and aaah at this explosion of flaming flowers at the Botanical Gardens of the Sanibel Moorings.

Upon further investigation: Flame Vine is a show stopper, when blooming there is no passing it by with out a closer look! It is a fast growing vine that is native to South America, and is perfect for our tropical temperatures. Our star will put on a winter show where ever you plant it. The spectacular flowers are slender, long 3-4 inches in sizzling orange color. Look closely, at the ends of each trumpet the petals reflex to form a curl-i-cue. They are massed in clusters of 19-20 flowers making an everlasting impression. These gynormous blossoms are plentiful, dense, and never ending. Each flower has even longer yellow filaments to entice pollinators inside for sweet nectar. No one can resist stopping, touching, smelling or collecting pollen from this beauty! The evergreen leaves are dark green and shiny. The spiral tendrils that emerge from the vine are thin and long and make our star appear and hang around anywhere she wants to. The vine starts out soft and green but turns woody as it matures. Prune heavily after flowering or it may take over your garden. I often see this vine covering really tall trees while traveling local back roads. Winter is its show time; non-flowering it goes unnoticed. It is large and in charge so, you will need substantial support for this vine. I routinely recommend this vine to complement any existing mature hedge. Our Flame vine surrounds our beach side pool via an arbor and a mature Orange Jasmine hedge. Many times I explain that the flowers are not the hedge, but a fabulous vine that flowers every winter. This habitat inviting plant is a favorite for hummingbird gardens. Its flowers occur, the season our Hummers migrate thru or decide to stay with us. Did you know we get hummingbirds here in paradise? Besides migrating thru in the spring and fall, some will stop here and take up residence for the fall and winter seasons. This plant is a must for them to pick your yard as their winter home. Hummers require lots of nectar to sustain their high energy. Orange or red fiery tubular flowers are their menu of the day and will keep them hovering in your yard building their nests. When their food source is available and nearby, they will reward you with never ending escapades of weightlessness and acrobatics.

Article Photos

Pros: Spectacular trumpet like bloom - Does well in sandy soil - Likes full sun Neighbors will oooh and aaah - Salt tolerance Will compliment an existing hedge Hummer love it Pollinators love it! - Drought tolerant Non invasive.

Cons: Can be aggressive grower Will tire of telling neighbors' name of vine Seasonal bloomer - Pollinators love it Who doesn't like Hummer? If you don't hard prune it may cover your house! Non native.

Conclusion: Being beautiful, must be nice, how could anyone say 'NO' to such a gorgeous flower? Now we have the perfect flower to make a hummingbird "hummmm" in our tropical eye catching garden.

Don't wanna miss this bloomer!

 
 

 

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