As the first days of winter approach, most of nature bundles up to stay warm against the storms and prepares for the long winter sleep. But just when it looked as if winter was going to be miserably cold, dull and boring, Nature comes to the rescue.
With the glorious blooms of Pyrostegia, the Flame Vine. This is especially true of most subtropical plants that find the very thought of an Auckland winter so threatening that their last flowers immediately curl up and many go so far as to drop their leaves.
Flame Vine goes by several names: Pyrostegia Venusta, Pyrostegia Ignea, or Bignonia venusta. A clue to it's spectacular habit comes from a literal translation of it's Greek names. "Pyro" means fire, "stegia" means roof, "venusta" means charming or handsome, and
"ignea" is flame or fire. Although Flame Vine is not well known in New Zealand gardens once seen it is unforgettable! The Bignonia family to which it belongs contains many spectacular trumpet climbers and this is one of them.
The bright orange, pendulous trumpet flowers of Flame Vine smother the entire vine so intensely over it's top that few leaves can be seen. The overall picture is literally a handsome roof of flaming fire! Next to bougainvillea, this would be one of the most amazing displays in subtropical vines. Flowering reaches a peak in early winter but many flower clusters will linger throughout the season and into spring with a smaller display sometimes appearing during early summer.
Being a native of Brazil and as it's name might suggest, Flame Vine adores heat and high soil temperatures. They are excellent planted next to hot paved areas or parking lots. In colder locations surround the plant with a sheet of weedmat or black plastic or stone mulch to keep soil temperatures higher. They can also be grown in containers. The vine demands full sunshine and will not tolerate shade. Drainage must be very good.
A light soil with plenty of organic matter is ideal but they thrive in ordinary soils. Avoid heavy soils or any location that might become water-logged, especially with cold winter rains. The vines can tolerate much more water during the summer when air and soil temperatures are high. Matter of fact, newly planted, young vines will respond well to extra watering and liquid feeding until they become established. But once established Flame Vine is an excellent, climber for dry locations with glaring heat. As a subtropical, they resent freezing and young vines can be cut down severely by hard frost.
Flame Vine bounces back much more quickly from winter frosts when mature. They are suitable for relatively windy locations, even by the coast, but avoid icy winter winds with driving rain and hail that can tatter foliage. Tendrils will cling without support to wood, brick or rough concrete. They make excellent subjects scrambling over fences, walls, over pergolas or to cover a shed or roof. Being fast growing, they cover quickly.
Pruning should take place once weather is full warmed in spring or summer.A hot item for the winter garden!
MORE PICTURES click here...