Thunbergia alata, or Black-eyed Susan vine, is a frequent sight in hanging baskets. As common as they are, most people not only don't know what they are, they don't think to grow them. That's a shame, because Black-eyed Susan vine is as easy care as it is charming. The flowers have an almost pop art look to them, with a solid center surrounded by a ring of clear colored petals.
Leaves: The medium green leaves are a little coarse and grow opposite one another. They can be either heart-shaped or a kind of lanced arrowhead shape.
Flowers: The flowers look daisy-like at a distance, but they are actually tubular. Five over-lapping petals surround a brownish-purple center tube, masquerading as a center disk. Look at the flower from the side and you see how the center funnels downward.
Black-eyed Susan vines grow quickly, once the temperature warms up. They will tangle themselves around the nearest support or spill over edges. They are perfect for hanging containers, but flow just as easily over walls and raised beds.
A lattice or link fence makes a good choice for coaxing and weaving your vine into a living wall, but these plants will clamber over just about anything, from the mail box to an old tree stump.
With their quick growth habit and sprawling nature, Black-eyed Susan vines can overtake nearby plants and are often grown as solo performers. However a nice option is to mix the Black-eyed Susan vines with another vine that will intertwine with them. Morning Glories are often used for this purpose, particularly the purple varieties, which make a nice color combo. Purple Hyacinth bean is another good choice.
They look beautiful near shorter purple flowers, like salvia and veronica, too. On the flip side, you can play up their flair with hotter colors, like brilliant red zinnias or canna, for a more tropical look.
Info source: http://gardening.about.com/od/plantprofiles/p/Black-Eyed-Susan-Vine-Thunbergia-Alata.htm
Genus - Thunbergia
Species - Alata
Common name - Black Eyed Susan Vine
Pre-Treatment - Not-required
Plant type - Annual or perennial Vine
Hardiness zones - 3 - 10
Exposure - Full Sun
Height - 1,80 - 3 m
Spread - 1,80 - 3 m
Growth rate - Fast
Bloom season - Repeat blooms May through Fall
Leaf / Flower color - Green / Yellow to Orange
Soil PH - Neutral, Alkaline (pH 6-8)
Soil type - Fertile, well drained
Water requirements - Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
Landscape uses - Suitable for growing indoors. For beds, borders, container. Specimen Plant. Suitable as Annual
Container grown plants are fairly easy to find, but Black-eyed Susan vine is easy to grow from seed.
Start seed indoors, about 6 - 8 weeks before your last frost date, or direct seed outdoors after danger of frost.
Soak the seeds in water for a day or two, before planting. (info: gardening.about.com)
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