Jacquemontia: the perfect native wildflower
The delicate-looking, but sturdy vine Jacquemontia pentanthos is about as close to the perfect plant as it comes. It is one of the showiest flowering vines suitable for cultivation in south Florida. It is undemanding and little troubled by pests, diseases or drought, it provides nonstop bloom from autumn through spring. And as icing on the cake, it is native to Florida.
In my home garden I grow Jacquemontia on a pyramid trellis so I can easily contain and prune it. At the Native Landscapes and Garden Center it is now in full bloom on the pergola in the demo gardens. This easily manageable morning glory is in full display by late October, and still going strong at the end of March.
Jacquemontia is sometimes called “skyblue clustervine.” It is a great choice for seasonal residents. It is great for covering an eyesore like an old stump, and will even function as a ground cover as long as there is nothing to climb on. It will clamber over adjacent shrubbery given time, but does not grow as rampantly as many other vines. Occasional moderate pruning is all that is required to keep it in bounds.
Like other vines, it may eventually accumulate a mass of dead-looking stems under new growth, so from time to time a more drastic cutting back may be necessary to rejuvenate an old top-heavy plant. Pruning is best done in late spring or early summer, after flowering has ceased. Heavy pruning in late summer could adversely affect fall bloom.
Skyblue clustervine can produce hundreds of blooms a day. The small flowers, which are produced in clusters, are between a nickel and quarter in size and most commonly are a lovely, sky blue. Like other members of the morning-glory family, Jacquemontia keeps its individual flowers only one day, and they close up in late afternoon. Jacquemontia is also interesting in the garden because it attracts many native pollinators: bees and butterflies.
Join Dee for a walk through the gardens at the Bailey Homestead Preserve every Tuesday at 9 a.m. Meet on the porch at the Native Landscapes and Garden Center at 1300 Periwinkle Way.