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Tropicals: Thunbergia alata

Botanical name: Thunbergia alata

Common name: black-eyed Susan vine

also known as (black-eyed clock vine, bright eyes)

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Photo credit: Renee's Garden
Tropicals: Thunbergia alata
Tropicals: Thunbergia alata
created by:
Renee's Garden

at a glance

Soil: damp, acidic, sand
Zones: 10a thru 11a

climber, butterfly attracting

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description for "Tropicals: Thunbergia alata"

Every summer garden is enhanced by the bright orange flowers of classic black-eyed Susan vines, also called clock vine or winged thunbergia when it was introduced into gardens in 1825 from the tropics. The enticing 1½ inch daisy-shaped flowers with blunt petal tips and contrasting deep black centers peeping out from handsome heart-shaped leaves on gracefully twining vines. They do not have the button centers of usual daisy-type flowers, instead, the dark centers are dimpled inward. Grow them up a short trellis or enjoy their flowers in hanging baskets or windowboxes. These old-fashioned favorites are a real treat in midsummer when they bloom in profusion to brighten the garden with their radiant faces. Black-eyed Susan vines grow best in a sheltered spot, out of the wind. Thunbergia seeds germinate and grow slowly at first, then begin to twine and develop flowers at midsummer. It is a charming choice for hanging baskets, where the vines will grow up and form a pyramid of bloom (plant four seedlings in a 10 to 12 inch diameter basket and feed regularly). Or grow the vines up a trellis for a spectacular show. Keep in partial shade with consistently moist soil. Listed in an 1827 seed catalog. Perennial in zones 10b and higher but is suitable to grow as an annual in cooler zones. Edited by dtd pbcouchman.


Thunbergia alata is native to tropical Africa.

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