As fall really does settle in and the threat of frost seems imminent, I just have to hand a trophy to this summer’s “proven winner,” as the garden marketers say: the lovely Thunbergia alta! (Also known as the Black-eyed Susan vine.)
This fantastic climbing, trailing, blooming, luscious vine — popping with vibrant orange blossoms — is still going. And going. And going. Be still my heart!
I bought her at just a few feet tall from a local farm stand, climbing up a wee little trellis in her pot.
Yep, she’s a monster! (Why there’s a random rope going up the side of my house, I have no clue. But it gave her something else to climb anyway. Guess it’s just some hillbilly shit.)
I repotted her after purchase. (Careful to not disturb the trellis already deeply entangled in her vines… why screw with success?) And set her on a little table with a larger climbing frame behind her, twining a few vines into it to encourage growth. And away she went.
The only thing this plant needs, besides full sun, is lots of water every day. Those vines and bright orange blooms are thirsty. But what a payoff… I honestly can’t believe her performance, especially in light of what happened elsewhere in my yard this summer. A whole lot of death/nothing. Even hosta did badly in my front yard. Insane.
So, Lady Thunbergia is sitting on my back patio, which I covered in potted plants this year — all manner of succulents and crazy experiments. And everything back there pretty much went gangbusters. I was inspired by all the container gardens at Tower Hill Botanical Garden. I think pots like me more than the earth…
(And I hope the perennially failing/diseased Clematis across the patio is jealous and feeling very, very guilty right now!)
So, I’ve read Thunbergia are grown as annuals in most of the country, because they don’t survive frost. Booooo. But then I read this: “Plants in containers will also bloom over winter in sunny windows.”
Now I have to try to haul this beast in the house somehow and give it some highly-competitive window-front real estate.
I wish I knew how to quit yeeeew!