Black Eyed Susan Vine Care - Tips On Growing A Black Eyed Susan Vine

Black Eyed Susan Vine
black eyed susan vine 1
(Image credit: emer1940)

Black-eyed Susan vine plant is a tender perennial that is grown as an annual in temperate and cooler zones. You can also grow the vine as a houseplant but be wary as it may grow to 8 feet (2+ m.) in length. Black-eyed Susan vine care is most successful when you can mimic the plant's native African climate. Try growing a black-eyed Susan vine indoors or out for a bright cheery flowering vine.

Black Eyed Susan Vine Plant

Thunbergia alata, or black-eyed Susan vine, is a common houseplant. This is probably because it is easy to propagate from stem cuttings and, therefore, easy for owners to pass along a piece of the plant. A native of Africa, the vine needs warm temperatures but also requires shelter from the hottest rays of the sun. 

Stems and leaves are green and flowers are usually a deep yellow, white or orange with black centers. There are also red, salmon and ivory flowered varieties. Black-eyed Susan is a fast growing vine that needs a vertical stand or trellis to support the plant. The vines twine around themselves and anchor the plant to vertical structures.

Growing a Black Eyed Susan Vine

You can grow a black-eyed Susan vine from seed. Start seeds indoors six to eight weeks before the last frost, or outdoors when soils warm to 60 F. (16 C.). Seeds will emerge in 10 to 14 days from planting if temperatures are 70 to 75 F. (21-24 C.). It may take up to 20 days for emergence in cooler zones. 

Growing a black-eyed Susan vine from cuttings is easier. Overwinter the plant by cutting several inches from a terminal end of a healthy plant. Remove the bottom leaves and place in a glass of water to root. Change the water every couple of days. 

Once you have thick roots, plant the start in potting soil in a pot with good drainage. Grow the plant until spring and then transplant outdoors when temperatures warm up and there is no possibility of frost. 

Place plants in full sun with afternoon shade or partial shade locations when growing a black-eyed Susan vine. The vine is only hardy in USDA plant hardiness zones 10 and 11. In other zones, bring in the plant to overwinter indoors.

How to Care for Black Eyed Susan Vines

This plant has some special needs so you'll need a few tips on how to care for black-eyed Susan vines. First, the plant requires well-drained soil, but it will tend to wilt if the soil gets too dry. The moisture level, especially for plants in pots, is a fine line. Keep it moderately moist but never soggy. 

Black-eyed Susan vine care outdoors is easy as long as you water moderately, give the plant a trellis and deadhead. You can prune it lightly in the higher zones where it grows as a perennial to keep the plant on the trellis or line. Young plants will benefit from plant ties to help them establish on their growing structure. 

Growing a black-eyed Susan vine indoors requires a bit more maintenance. Fertilize potted plants once annually in spring with a water-soluble plant food. Provide a stake to grow up or plant in a hanging basket and let the vines droop down gracefully. 

Watch for pests like whitefly, scale or mites and combat with horticultural soap or neem oil.

Bonnie L. Grant

Bonnie Grant is a professional landscaper with a Certification in Urban Gardening. She has been gardening and writing for 15 years. A former professional chef, she has a passion for edible landscaping.