Plant of the month: October
Also known as: Orange clock vine
Native to: Tropical East Africa
Blooms: Late spring to autumn
Habitat: Edge of warm temperate forests
Where is it found at BBG: Mediterranean House
This tender, vigorous, evergreen climber belongs to the Acanthus family; Acanthaceae. It is closely related to ‘black eyed susan’ or Thunbergia elata. The vine spirals upwards in a clockwise direction and it is commonly known as clock vine. It grows between 2.4 to 3.5m tall, or if left without support can become an extensive ground cover.
Bees are attracted to its bright orange flowers. Hardy to -1 C, Thunbergia gregorii flowers more profusely and even year-round in warmer climates but is restricted to summer and autumn in cooler climates. It prefers a sunny spot with plenty of air movement. Propagation is by cuttings taken in the summer or by seeds sown in the spring.