Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Fond Memories Of Queen's Wreath

Antigonon leptopus

After years of resistance, I finally caved and purchased a Queen’s Wreath vine (Antigonon leptopus) and planted it today, close to a block wall in my garden. I want it to cover the bare blocks and add interest to the area of my garden that was hardest hit and left barren by our freak deep freeze this past winter.

I’ve loved this vine since I was a child. My grandmother had a pink flowered one that grew on an overhead arbor the length and height of her two-story house. By late summer, it had grown to reach into some of the nearby trees and when it was in full bloom, I thought it was just magical. At least until winter, when it became a brown, dried mess.

I always chose not to have it because of its winter dieback and the resulting clean up job. Cleaning up is not the easiest task when one has granite groundcover. Although decomposed granite looks fine in desert landscapes and requires little care, it really should be kept litter-free. Accumulated leaves and plant debris makes it look unkempt, in my view. However, my plain block walls have been bothering me more than the inevitable cleanup, so I took the leap.

Queen’s Wreath, also called Coral Vine and Rose of Montana among many other names, is a common sight in Southern gardens. In some areas, it is considered an invasive plant because in tropical climates it does not freeze back and becomes quite vigorous, choking out other plants.

This native of Mexico can grow up to 40 feet along a wall or fence. It clings with tendrils. In desert gardens it is often planted at the base of Palo Verde or Palo Brea trees so that will climb up into the trees and provide a striking burst of contrasting color to the lime green bark and foliage of the trees. The vine can have pink, white, or red flowers, but the pink variety provides the most pleasing combination with the lime green.


Julie said...

This will be so strikingly will be happy you chose it! YEAH!!!!!

Scott said...

Do you know where I can get one of these and if it's too late to plant. Do it tolerate a decent amount of warer? I don't have a desert and it's hard to keep things dry for too long in my yard. I love your posts, they are so imformative. Scott

No Rain said...

Queen's Wreath is recommended for Temperature Zones:
Sunset: 10-13,18-24
USDA: 9b-11
It takes a moderate amount of water. In other zones, it will definitely freeze to the ground, especially when young and not established. Since you don't say where you're located, I can't know if it is too late to plant. If you live in any of the zones above, it should be available in nurseries and can be planted till the end of the month. If you don't get frost, it can be planted even later. It just needs some time to establish before winter. Hope this helps.

Dee said...

I love reading your archives- and have yet to make it all the way through! I stumbled on this one and now I know what you mean by your Queens Wreath vine, you have mentioned- I hope it survives the winter- it is gorgeous!