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What’s blooming in paradise?: Flame vine (Pyrostegia venusta)

February 23, 2011
Anita Marshall


First impression

Dramatic, exotic, shades of bright orange trumpet-shaped flowers that remind me of gigantic honeysuckle blooms on a vine. The yellow stamen and style are extra long and showy extending far out from the flowers. The dark green leaves are trifoliate with ovate leaflets. The vine has thin long tendrils that attach easily to any surface or protrusion. No detectable fragrance, but pollinators are all around. You can see 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 without a closer look! It is a fast- growing vine that can fill up an arbor, fence or trellis quickly. Native to South America, it is perfect for our temperatures of dry climates and coastal areas. Plant in full sun in a well drained area — it will put on a show whereever you plant it. The spectacular flowers are slender, long (three to four) inches in a tangerine orange color. They are massed in clusters of 19-20 flowers making an extra large blossom. These blossoms of trumpets 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 Easy to propagate, you can obtain more with cuttings. You will need substantial support for this vine. I routinely recommend it to complement a mature hedge that has no blooms. Our Flame vine is on an arbor and adorns a very mature Orange Jasmine hedge. Many times I have to explain that the flowers are not the hedge, but a fabulous vine that flowers many months every winter. This habitat-inviting plant is a favorite for hummingbird gardens because the flowers occur right when our Hummers migrate thru or decide to stay with us. Did you know we get hummingbirds here in paradise? Besides migrating through 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 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.



Pros

Unique trumpet like bloom - Does well in sandy soil - Likes full sun – Propagates from cuttings – Neighbors will ooh-and-ah - Salt tolerant – Will fill in unsightly fences, etc – Hummers love it – Pollinators love it! - Drought tolerant.



Cons

Can be aggressive grower – Neighbors may be stealing cuttings to start their own – Pollinators love it – 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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