Black-Eyed Susan Vine (Thunbergia)

I love using the annual black-eyed Susan vine (Thunbergia alata)!  Directly above and below is the beautiful variety ‘Amber Eyes’.  This twining, annual vine (hardy in zones 10 and 11) will grow 3′-8′ in a single season and blooms heavily from summer well in to fall.  Preferring rich, fertile soils that are moist but well-drained, this vine is native to the tropical areas of Eastern Africa.  Full sun is ideal although some afternoon shade is welcome.  The heart shaped leaves set off the colorful, five-petaled flowers which now come in an increasingly wider range of colors.  Twenty years ago I only remember yellow, orange and white with some having dark centers (“eyes”) and some without.  However, seeing the fun reds, bright oranges and salmon shades over the past couple of years has been exciting.  My photos in this blog only represent a small smattering of what is available as either seed or vegetative material.  The Genus of Thunbergia honors Carl Thunberg (1743-1828), a Swedish botanist.  We’ve used this shorter climber on various structures (see further below) and have been impressed with the coverage in mere months time.  This vine can be vigorous in terms of having neighbors nearby or if included with other plants in a container so be wary!  Once the vine has been heavily frosted, I recommend removing it immediately (like morning glories!) while it is still pliable and not a dry, messy husk!  Look for the opportunity to know and grow this versatile annual vine!

‘Arizona Glow’ (above and below)

‘Arizona Lemon Sunrise’ (above)

‘Arizona TerraCotta’ (above)

‘Golden Eyes’ (above)

‘Spanish Eyes’ (above)

`Sunny Susy Brownie`  (above)

Susie™ White with Eye (‘PAS884644’) – above

Sunny™ Lemon Star (above)

Sunny™ Orange Wonder (above)

Susie™ Clear Orange (‘PAS3549’) – above and below

Susie™ White with Eye (‘PAS884644’) – above

Lemon A-Peel® (‘Lemon Star’) – above and two below

‘Orange Beauty’ (above)

‘Arizona Dark Red’ (above)

on an obelisk at RBG (above)

the cutting garden at Chanticleer (Wayne, PA) above