Pretty in Pink: Podranea ricasoliana 

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Draped elegantly over the high walls surrounding Marrakech’s wealthier villas and riads is an elegant climber known variously as pink trumpet vine, Queen of Sheba, Port St. John’s creeper and Zimbabwe creeper. As the latter suggests, Podranea ricasoliana, as it’s less attractively known in latin, hails from Southern Africa. I naturally assumed that there would be no chance of growing this blushing beauty at home. It turns out I could be wrong. Roseland House Nursery in my native Cornwall suggest that “it will take cold, but like campsis needs sun and heat to flower”, recommending that it performs best planted in a cold greenhouse or against an exceptionally hot, sheltered wall.

My observation from today’s visit to the exquisite Jardin Majorelle is that the pink trumpet vine is apt to get a little out of control. In the cool confines of Yves Saint Laurent’s famous garden it positively smothers pergolas with long stems of jasmine-like foliage, each terminated with a cluster of sugar-pink trumpets. The vine’s brutish behaviour is veiled behind the finesse of its glossy compound leaves and sweetly scented flowers which bounce about delicately in the slightest breeze.

Podranea ricasoliana is related to the catalpas, Australian pandoreas and the splendid jacaranda tree, all members of the family Bignoniaceae. In a slightly bizarre piece if botanical naming, I discover that podranea is, quite deliberately, an anagram of pandorea. So, if you like pink, have a sun-kissed wall to cover or a conservatory of mighty proportions, here’s the climber for you. I will certainly be seeking it out on my return from North Africa.

Roseland House Nursery and Burncoose Nurseries in Cornwall both offer plants of Podranea ricasoliana in the UK.

Categories: Climbers, Daily Flower Candy, Flowers, Foliage, Photography, Plants, Travel, Tropical Gardens

Posted by The Frustrated Gardener

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16 comments On "Pretty in Pink: Podranea ricasoliana "

  1. I have often see this growing in sunnier climes and wondered what it was. I love the fact that it is an anagram. It is so pretty. Lucky you in Morocco.

  2. Mine took off really quickly after planting (I have them in pots growing up trellises on the front of my home). Each of the runners are growing cm’s each day, but the leaves are yellowing and falling off at the base of the plant and making its way up leaving bare stems – is that normal? Or are my plants lacking in something?

  3. I live in Jaen province in southern Spain, and have just purchased a plant , will it grow outside all year ? , we do get some low temperatures at night, but will planting it against a south facing wall protect it ? I have two citrus trees in pots, which survive an produce fruit ,against said wall.

    1. Well, every situation is different Rosalind, but I think you should be fine in Southern Spain. Your podranea will need a wall as it is very vigorous once it gets going. A spectacular climber: good luck with it!

  4. I brought a piece of rooted stem back from southern Spain nerja around where it grows everywhere and was hoping i could be the first around in woking to get it to flower but alas the cutting never survived

  5. For us in Cape Town, Zimbabwe Creeper, as it’s known, is not quite an intrusive weed but almost. I have always been very fond of it so grow it over a pergola covering a terrace which needs shade. Just like Agapanthus and so many other plants here – you plant them, forget about them and they grow beautifully.

    1. Now attempting to grow Zimbabwe Creeper in the Surrey countryside. Bought seeds online so hopefully there will be success. Any advice for winter survival would be much appreciated!

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