Ipomoea lobata

25 Sep

Ipomoea lobata Flower (08/09/2012, Kew Gardens, London)

Ipomoea lobata Flower (08/09/2012, Kew Gardens, London)

Position: Full sun to light shade

Flowering period: Summer to autumn

Soil: Moist, well drained

Eventual Height: 2.4m (in one season)

Eventual Spread: 1.5m

Hardiness: 10a, 10b, 11, 12, 13

Family: Convolvulaceae

Ipomoea lobata is a vigorous, short lived perennial, twining climber, often grown as a annual. Its dark green leaves are tri palmate, deeply lobed, up to 20cm long and 15cm broad. The stem of this plant twines onto any available support which enables it to climb. Its flowers are tubular, are borne in upward facing racemes of up to 12, and vary in colour from deep orange to cream.

Ipomoea lobata, commonly known as Spanish Flag, Firecracker Vine, Fire Vine and Exotic Love Vine, is native to Mexico, Central America and Brazil. Ipomoea lobata is synonymous with Mina lobata and Quamoclit lobata.

Ipomoea lobata (08/09/2012, Kew Gardens, London)

Ipomoea lobata (08/09/2012, Kew Gardens, London)

The etymological root of the binomial name Ipomoea is from the Greek ips meaning ‘a worm’ and omoios meaning ‘resembling’, in reference to its twining stems. Lobata is from the Latin meaning ‘with lobes’, in reference to its leaves.

The landscape architect may find  Ipomoea lobata useful as an annual climber to fill in gaps while other long live climbers establish. This plant require warm soil during the growing season to perform effectively.

Ecologically, Ipomoea lobata is attractive to some pollinating insects and humming birds in the Americas.

The Royal Horticultural Society has given Ipomoea lobata their prestigious Award of Garden Merit in 2009.

Ipomoea lobata prefers moist, fertile, well-drained soils. It tolerates most pH of soil. For maximum flowering, the soil should not be nitrogen rich.

Ipomoea lobata requires little maintenance.

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