flag is an annual vine that produces hundreds of colorful flower
As spring fast
approaches to our favorite past time of gardening it is high time we
give some thought to raising the Spanish flag. While that is a little
tongue and cheek the extraordinarily beautiful vine we call Spanish
flag is certainly one that will cause your friends and neighbors to be
green with envy. It is has another common name, exotic love.
It is known
botanically as Ipomoea lobata and is native to Brazil. You might
recognize the scientific name and relatives like morning glory, moon
vine and sweet potatoes. One thing is guaranteed, grow it and you will
be getting out the camera because this annual vine is like none others
you have ever grown.
There is a
revival of sorts going on in the garden world with the incorporation
of climbers. Sure there are those with cottage-style gardens where
climbers have always been popular. But there seems to be a new group
out there with modern new homes who are building flower borders and
incorporating vertical growing. Once you start growing upwards, it is
kind of like you have arrived. Your neighbors begin to suspect that
the weekend when you were suppose-to-be at grandmaís you were really
at a landscape design seminar that cost a pretty penny.
If you canít
find nursery-grown plants, no problem; these seeds are usually easy to
find and you will be in business in no time. It takes around 135 days
from seeding until you have hundreds of those glorious 8-inch spikes
showing red, orange, yellow and cream all at the same time. There are
several flowering stems on each branch, but flowers are borne only on
one side of the stem. The flowers have a long vase life lasting
several days and prove to be a delight to hummingbirds. Considering
this vine produces these flowers in one season from seed makes me
wonder why it is not more widespread.
We made a tower
out of bamboo for our vine that was growing in the cottage garden.
With arbors, trellises and towers becoming the rage, you have a lot of
choices other than building your own. Plant your seeds in
well-drained, fertile soil after the soil has warmed. Soaking the
seeds overnight helps the germination process that takes place in 10
to 16 days. You can also lightly scratch the seeds with sandpaper to
speed up germination. Space plants at least18-inches apart. This is a
vine that needs plenty of sun and a sturdy structure on which to
landscape, this vine can definitely be considered as a quick cover for
arbor, lattice or trellis. Initially you will want to give it a little
training help by tying, but then invite the neighbors over and watch
it grow. I have to admit I did find it wonderfully humorous to see the
staff adding more height to the tower a couple of times as the vine
grew with reckless abandon.
The vines are
capable of growing 10 to 20 feet and will be there a long time so keep
them well mulched for the long season. To keep the vine growing
vigorously, feed with light monthly applications of a slow-released
balanced fertilizer. Keep well- watered, particularly during the long
bloom cycle that should start in late summer lasting though fall.
screams to be partnered with blue spikey flowers like Blue Fortune or
Black Adder agastache. Salvias like Mystic Spires Blue, or Cathedral
Deep blue would also look absolutely riveting. Since Spanish Flag
brings in butterflies and hummingbirds, any of these combinations will
just add to a pollinator haven.
Just as you add
a picture or mirror on a wall in the living room a climber like
Spanish Flag gives that sense of depth and dimension to your flower
border outside. Once you do this, your landscape become as series of