Image by Rusty Clark
By Becca Badgett
(Co-author of How to Grow an EMERGENCY Garden)
Growing Mexican flame vines (Senecio confusus) gives the gardener a burst of bright orange color in sunny areas of the garden. Easy to grow and propagate, caring for Mexican flame vines is simple. Once you have a Mexican flame flower started in your flower beds, you can easily grow more from cuttings.
About Mexican Flame Flower
Growing Mexican flame vines have attractive, dark green foliage that can climb a trellis or other support or cascade over a wall. Leaves are as large as 4 inches in length and add a lush, tropical feel to the area in which they’re planted. When flowers appear, butterflies and hummingbirds will be regular visitors and may be enticed to remain if a water source is provided. Caring for Mexican flame vines may include pruning, as the vine can grow to 20 feet.
Learning How to Grow a Mexican Flame Vine
Mexican flame flower is easily started in the garden from seed in spring. An herbaceous perennial or evergreen in Zones 8 and above, Mexican flame flower grows as an annual in lower zones. Rapid growth allows for development of foliage and flowers before the plant faces die back from frost.
Flame vine care includes trimming the plant back to encourage a new flush of blooms in summer. Pruning as part of flame vine care encourages blooms throughout the plant, those not pruned only flower at the top of the climbing vine.
Plant seeds into a sunny area with well drained soil. Growing Mexican flame vines are not picky about soil and will sprout in poor soil and rocky areas. A more profuse display of blooms occurs in organic soils, but soil that is too rich may cause growing Mexican flame vines to get out of hand. The same is true with fertilization, so go easy on feeding as part of flame vine care.
Additional Flame Vine Care
Once established in the landscape, caring for Mexican flame vines is low maintenance. The plant is drought tolerant, but will benefit from the occasional watering during dry periods.
Take cuttings from the Mexican flame flower to overwinter in areas where it is grown as an annual. Learning how to grow a Mexican flame vine for next year can also be done by collecting and saving seeds.