Highlight: Flame vine

Hummingbirds can not miss bright orange.

Contributed photo

This is no timid vine!

Flame vine, Pyrostegia venusta, is related to the lavender trumpet vine and blood red trumpet vine, and is just as vigorous. Although it can not be recommended for tight spaces or small refined gardens, it excels at obscuring concrete walls. It only needs wires or stakes to be convinced to climb. If it gets too big, it can be cut back after bloom to regenerate quickly.

Unlike the related trumpet vines that only bloom less but otherwise grow well in partial shade, flame vine really wants plenty of sunlight and nice warm exposure. Fertilizer can accelerate growth for new plants, but too much can inhibit bloom of mature plants. Occasional watering is all flame vine wants. Regular pruning may be needed to keep tendrils away from plants and painted surfaces.

Flashy drooping clusters of bright orange flowers bloom in autumn and winter, much to the delight of overwintering hummingbirds. Each floral cluster contains more than a dozen narrowly tubular flowers that are almost 3 inches long.

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The evergreen triofoliate leaves (divided into three leaflets) are quite lush through most of the year, but look a bit tired and sparse as they molt in spring. -- Tony Tomeo

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