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What’s Blooming in Paradise: Flame Vine show stopper, hummingbird attractor

By Staff | Mar 30, 2016

The Flame Vine is a great hummingbird attractor. PHOTO BY ANITA FORCE MARSHALL

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. This 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 without 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, with its spectacular 3-4 inches long flowers 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.

Even longer yellow filaments to entice pollinators inside for sweet nectar extend from each blossom. 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.

This habitat inviting plant is a favorite for hummingbird gardens. Its flowers occur, the season our hummers migrate through, 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, 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.

Pros:

Spectacular trumpet like bloom

Likes full sun

Neighbors will oooh and aaah

Salt tolerance

Will compliment an existing hedge

Hummer love it

Non invasive

Makes a great cut flower

Cons:

Can be aggressive grower

Will tire of telling neighbors’ name of vine

Seasonal bloomer

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!