By Paola Tavoletti
Have you a passion for violet-blue flowers? Then discover sky vine growing! What is a sky vine you ask? Read on to learn more about growing this charming landscape plant.
Sky Vine Growing
Sky vine (Thunbergia grandiflora), also commonly referred to as clock vine, a member of the tropical Acanthaceae family and is an evergreen in frost free climates, where it also produces fruits, but growth slows or stops in cool temperatures. It is hardy in zones 8 to 11.
The clusters of its trumpet flowers will enrich your garden with the vibrant feel from India, its origin. Dramatic lavender-blue flowers on a backdrop of dark green, heart-shaped leaves will light up your garden all summer, or all year long in tropical climates.
Sky vine growing is rewarding. The plant blooms profusely, and its stunning flowers make great cutting specimens for arrangements. This vine is ideal for covering a fence, pergola, large trellis, or an arbor. It sends out long wandering tendrils, which can even grab onto a nearby tree branch, becoming an interesting focal point in the garden. It’s this growth habit which gives the plant its name as well.
One note of caution is that this woody-stemmed, twining evergreen can be invasive, as it can easily regenerate from stem fragments or portions of the tuberous roots.
Sky Vine Propagation
In addition to rooting from its stems, sky vine plants can be propagated by seeds, cuttings, and layering.
Planting Sky Vine Seeds
Sky vine thunbergia can be grown from seed started indoors six weeks before the last spring frost date. Planting sky vine seeds is easy. Start by sowing two or three seeds in a small pot of fine textured potting soil, then place the pot in a bright, warm location and water regularly.
Once seedlings emerge and have grown large enough, choose a location in your garden with full sun to partial shade and rich, organic soil. Install a trellis to support the vines. Plant the seedlings when the night-time temperature is above 50 degrees F. (10 C.). Water regularly.
Sky Vine Cuttings and Layering
For cuttings of sky vine plants, simply prune the young wood in spring and place the cuttings in small pots filled with sandy loam or a soilless growing medium. They will root readily and need no additional help like rooting hormone.
To propagate by layering, you bend a low-growing branch until it touches the ground. Scrape the branch where it touches the ground, then secure the scraped area to the ground with bent wires. The branch will develop roots from the wounded bark, after which it is then severed from the parent plant.
How to Grow Sky Vine Plants
Sky vine plants grow best in rich, organic soil, moderately moist and well drained with acidic, alkaline, or neutral pH levels. They can also thrive in pots.
This vigorous vine grows in full sun, with a southern exposure, but stays greener and prettier with a little shade protection from the blazing afternoon sunshine, especially in warmer climates.
Water the plant when the soil is dry and fertilize in spring and fall with a granular fertilizer.
Prune after the blooming cycle is over to encourage a quick re-sprout, and prune again in late summer. When winter comes close, mulch the roots with pine needles or other organic material.
Spider mites, whiteflies, and edge burn may damage the plant.
Learning how to grow sky vine plants will give your green space a touch of diversity and fascination.