What’s Blooming 9/14/2016

Firecracker Vine – Ipomoea lobata

 

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After months of growth, Ipomoea lobata is finally coming into its own. Commonly known as firecracker vine, Spanish flag, or exotic love vine, this annual, ornamental vine can be a real showstopper when it finally reaches full bloom.

Formerly known botanically as Mina lobata, firecracker vine is in the same plant family as sweet potatoes and morning glories (Convolvulaceae). It is native to tropical regions of Mexico and Central and South America. In cooler climates it can be grown after danger of frost has passed. It requires warm soil to germinate, so it is best started indoors on a heated germination mat. A large trellis is recommended as the vines can reach from 10 to 15 feet tall in a season. The leaves are divided into three lobes, and the margins and veins of the leaves sometimes have a red to purple hue.

By mid-summer the plant finally begins to flower and continues until the first frost. The flowers are lined up in a single row on arching stalks, hanging down like bells. The flowers at the top of the stalk are red. Moving from the top towards the base of the stalk, the flowers get progressively lighter in color, transitioning from red to orange to yellow to white. They are visited by hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees.

Visit Idaho Botanical Garden soon, and witness firecracker vine for yourself on trellises throughout the Vegetable Garden.

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Read more about Ipomoea lobata at A Way to Garden.

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Written by IBG horticulturist, Daniel Murphy.