Pandorea ‘Funky Bellz’ is a very special plant for me as it was bred by my daughter, Daisy Stewart, so it brings me a fond memory every time I look at it.
Pandorea is an interesting genus of Australian native climbers which belongs to the jacaranda family, Bignoniaceae. Probably the most well-known members are Pandorea jasminoides, the bower of beauty, which grows in northern NSW & southern Queensland on the margins of rainforests. The other common species is Pandorea pandorana, which is fairly ubiquitous along the east coast of Australia in eucalypt woodlands, occurring from the hills of the Snowy Mountains right through to lowland forests near the coast. There are many eco-types of that species.
‘Funky Bellz’ is a selected form of Pandorea jasminoides, which features lovely glossy, dark green pinnate foliage, but the real prize are the lovely tubular flowers that flare out with petals at the opening. The normal form of Pandorea jasminoides is a very pale pink flower with a maroon throat, which makes a beautiful contrast, but the plant ‘Funky Bellz’ is the complete reverse of this colouring which I think makes it quite an exciting new introduction. It has a pure white throat instead of a maroon throat and it flares out to dark pink petals. These flowers are borne over an extended period through the warmer months of the year with a bit of a crescendo in spring, however you will get spot flowering all through summer.
‘Funky Bellz’ tends to have a less vigorous climbing habit and if you cut it back quite heavily in spring after it’s flowered, it will put on new growth and then flower on the ends of those new shoots. So you can almost program it to flower, which will make it a very useful plant for a balcony in a large container, or it could be pruned into a shrubby form in the garden. Give it a sunny spot where it can get plenty of light and it will flower profusely right through the warmer months.
Another interesting application for it is as a groundcover. Like most climbing plants, if it doesn’t have anything to climb on, the runners or climbing shoots will eventually get so top heavy that they fall to the ground, and form a groundcover. You can also layer them by burying those shoots to get a more extensive root system. So you can use it either as a groundcover, or train it into a flowering shrub.
See my Pandorea jasminoides ‘Funky Bellz’ video – a new plant well worth looking out for!