Here’s a handy little follow on from my last blog where I suggested spotting a few hybrid aloes about your garden for a lovely splash of winter colour.Well, if that wasn’t enough colour for you, then how about this one? This week I’m asking you to take look at a rather bright if not slightly gaudy winter flowering vine. It’s the orange trumpet creeper or Brazilian flame vine or, if you like to get botanical, Pyrostegia venusta.
Flame vine is the perfect name, because when it’s in bloom, the plant comes alive with a fiery hue of bright orange. If you dare battle the inferno to take a closer look at the individual flowers, you’ll see the small yet bold orange trumpet-like blooms that smother the vine.
One of the best examples of this plant I’ve seen (pictured) borders a large property in the rolling hills of northern NSW where I live. It covers what must be 100 metres of continuous fencing. Like it or not, it does create an unforgettable show, and the plant itself has certainly proven its value in its ability to cover what would otherwise be just another boring fence. What’s more, it’s in a quite exposed location and gets minimal maintenance.
Even without the blooms, the foliage of this creeper forms a dense curtain making the plant ideal for parts of the garden where you need to create some privacy or screen out an unwanted view.
It’s easy to grow, and best suited to warm coastal areas where you can provide a sunny spot with protection from cold winds and frost. It’s also quite drought hardy once established, and pests and diseases don’t affect it.
So what do you think?
If you’ve got a place for a bright and colourful creeperlike this in your garden, just keep in mind, the mass of foliage can get quite weighty, especially when there is rain about, so your support needs to be strong. Any solid fence is ideal, particularly steel mesh types which provide the perfect frame and they will benefit greatly from a little softening plant life. Pergolas are good too and look a treat when the flowers hang from edges of the frame. I’ve also seen the plant used to great effect creeping over and brightening up an old shed, carport and even a rusty old tank stand. All it needs is a little encouragement early on to lead the vine in the desired direction and then let it do its thing.
OK, so I’m sure you’re wondering… a plant that displays such vigour and resilience must fit into the category of ‘potentially uncontrollable’. Well, believe it or not, it’s actually one of the more civilised creepers getting about… and certainly not rampant in the same way a bougainvillea or wisteria can be. All it takes is a bit of light pruning every year in spring to keep it contained. The prunings are soft and easy to handle and make excellent material for the compost heap.
So there you go… that’s the orange trumpet creeper or Brazilian flame vine - a welcome and colourful addition to the winter garden if you’ve got a sturdy support.