Old-Fashioned Thunbergia: Black Eyed Susan Vine by Renee's Garden

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Old-Fashioned Thunbergia: Black-Eyed Susan Vine

(Thunbergia alata)

Every summer garden is enhanced by the bright orange flowers of classic Black-Eyed Susan Vines. The enticing 1 1/2 inch flowers with contrasting dark centers peep out from handsome heart-shaped leaves on gracefully twining vines. Grow them up a short trellis or enjoy their flowers in hanging baskets or window-boxes. These old-fashioned favorites are a real treat in midsummer when they bloom in profusion and brighten the entire garden.
Seed Count: 35-40 / Weight: 1 gm


Summer/fall bloom
Frost tender


In late spring, once weather is warm and settled and nights stay consistently above 50°, plant seeds in a sunny, sheltered spot in well-drained, fertile garden soil 6 inches apart and 1/2 inch deep. Provide supports at planting time. Keep soil moist but not soggy while awaiting germination, which can be somewhat slow and erratic.



Sow indoors 5 to 6 weeks before last expected frost in individual pots of seed starting mix. Cover 1/2 inch deep and keep warm and moist. Provide a strong light source until seedlings are ready for outdoor planting. Once nights stay consistently above 50°, transplant outdoors, 6 inches apart, being careful not to disturb delicate roots.


These plants grow best in a sheltered spot, out of the wind. Thunbergia germinates and grows slowly at first, then begins to twine and develop flowers at midsummer. It is a charming choice for hanging baskets, where the vines will grow up and form a pyramid of bloom (plant four seedlings in a 10 to 12 inch diameter basket and feed regularly). Or, grow the vines up a trellis or arbor for a lovely effect.