Black Eyed Susan Vine

Thunbergia spp

Black Eyed Susan vine, Thunbergia alata and other species. Planting and caring for climbing black eyed Susan vines. Thunbergia alata ‘Sunny Lemon Star’.

Hailing from tropical Africa, this twining vine climbs 6-8 feet high and is planted as an annual throughout the temperate zone. In zones 9-10b it is perennial.

The inch and a half wide single blooms appear in the leaf axils of the vine from spring through fall. Each flower bears 5 petals and may be orange, lemon yellow, pale yellow, or white (the blooms of the cultivar ‘African Sunset’ vary from brick red to cream). Usually, but not always, with a dark brown eye.

The textured leaves are heart-shaped and about as wide across as the flowers.

Thunbergia alata ‘Sunny Lemon Star’

Close-Up of Black-Eyed Susan Vine Flowers Growing in a Pot (Thunbergia Alata)
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Thunbergia alata Sunny Lemon Star features bright yellow blooms with dark centers on a vine that grows quickly to 8 feet.

This yellow black eyed Susan vine is particularly suited to hanging baskets and container gardening.

Bosmere Wren Tube Trellis 2 Pack

Bosmere Wren Tube Trellis 2 Pack

This type of metal trellis makes it easy to use the Thunbergia varieties on this page to cover your mailbox post.

The metal is thin enough for the vines to twine around. Plant a vine on each side of the trellis and just weave the stems through a little to get them started. They will continue to climb on their own.

Planting Black Eyed Susan Vine

Trellis: Nantucket Trellis

Plants are usually started from seed planted in the spring. But 6 inch stem cuttings containing at least 2 nodes can be used to start new vines as well.

Set plants or seeds, if you are direct sowing, 2-3 feet apart in well draining soil. Full to part sun will ensure the best bloom.

Thunbergia alata can be planted as a quick cover for a chain link fence or allowed to twine up through a spring blooming vine or shrub to give it color throughout the season. It will not harm the other plant as it will be removed in the fall.

Manhattan Obelisk
from: Nature Hills Nursery, Inc.
Another way to enjoy this beautiful climber is to train it up an obelisk like the one in the image.Plant a vine and center the structure over it.It will make a beautiful garden display even while the vine is still small.

Caring for the Vines

Bosmere – Scroll Pot Trellis – 36 Inch
from: Nature Hills Nursery, Inc.

If you are growing it in a pot and plan to keep it over the winter,cut it back to 3inches above the soil after a period of heavy bloom.

Feed it regularly with a bloom boosting house plant fertilizer and repot it each spring. Keep the soil barely moist at all times.

If you are growing Thunbergia alata in the ground, follow the feeding and watering instructions above. If you have it growing up through other more permanent plants, don’t forget to pull the vines out in the fall so that they do no smother the permanent plant.

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