Hanging baskets are a good way to grow plants indoor especially for plants lovers who live in apartments with limited space to spare for pots and plants. Columnea is one of the best plants for hanging baskets for their ornamental flowers and their ability to grow indoors. Most species of this genus are epiphytic – usually small shrubs and vines. These beautiful flowering plants bear ornamental blooms that grow in trailing fashion thus making them a good choice for hanging baskets. Flowers usually appear in summer.
Columnea, Image by Kevan (flickr)
How to Grow Columnea
Columnea comes from tropical and sub-tropical parts of North and South America. These frost tender plants grow in humid and moist conditions. Provide them with a sunny location in a well-drained and rich soil. When grown indoors, the best spot for Columnea is a well-lit window where they receive plenty of light. Under indoor conditions, keep them under-watered in winter. Columnea, when grown outdoors, requires plenty of water to flourish.
Popular Species of Columnea
Columnea Microphylla – pendulous perennial plant with yellow or scarlet flowers in summer
Columnea x Banksii – shrubby plant with pendulous stem, scarlet flowers and greenish-bronze leaves. Makes a good plant for hanging baskets
Charming fragrant flowers, bright showy leaves, and tendency to grow beautifully against trellis and walls make Mandevilla a popular houseplant. Native to tropical regions of Central and South America, Mandevilla is an easy to grow climber. These summer bloomers bear attractive flowers of pink, white, yellow and red colors. They can be grown in hanging baskets, against fences, trellis and over pergolas.
Mandevilla Amabilis, Image from flowersofmaui.com
How to Grow Mandevilla
Mandevilla demands well drained and rich soil. For profuse flowering, provide your Mandevilla plants with bright but filtered sunlight in a warm spot. Water and fertilize them regularly; avoid overwatering and protect from frost. The easiest way to propagate Mandevilla is from softwood cuttings.
Popular Varieties of Mandevilla
Mandevilla Splendens: A beautiful summer bloomer, Mandevilla Splendens bears showy flowers of pink color. The plant grows as an evergreen creeper and can be grown in hanging baskets.
Mandevilla Laxa: Also known as Chilean Jasmine, Mandevilla Laxa grows as a deciduous vine. Growth is often vigorous and requires pruning of wood stems. Flowers are fragrant and can be used in flower arrangement to add colors and fragrance.
I was raised in a big house with plants, vines and trees in abundance. Naturally, I have a lot of childhood memories associated with these plants… and there are some special memories that I still cherish like a big Rangoon Creeper vine loaded with large tufts of white, pink and bright red flowers. It was planted in the ground from where it had climbed up to the third-storey of the house. It used to bear large bunches of flowers that spread intoxicating fragrance in our backyard and attracted bees and butterflies of various colors throughout the year.
As children we used to collect those sweet smelling flowers to decorate our sand houses. This Rangoon Creeper grew in our house until we moved to our new home where we had limited space for plantation but we managed to grow this plant against fences. Since Rangoon Creeper is a fast growing vine, it covered all the fences and started producing flowers quickly.
Now it grows in our small lawn against walls and fences under full sun. Actually, Rangoon Creeper is a nice choice if you want to cover empty spaces, create visual dividers or provide shady cover on a porch, balcony or terrace. It is easy to trim though it requires regular trimming otherwise it grows wild. Rangoon Creeper can be grown in almost all tropical and sub-tropical regions and requires bright sunlight and moderate amount of water.
Flowers of Rangoon Creeper
Rangoon Creeper flowers profusely throughout the year. Flowers open as white trumpet-shaped blooms and then turn to pink and bright red in the next two or three days. You can see all three colors on a single flower stalk of Rangoon Creeper spreading sweet smell all around. Healthy plants bear lush green leaves and abundance of flowers. Hybrid varieties bear more profuse flowers.
Rangoon Creeper is also known as Chinese Honeysuckle, Burma Creeper, Scarlet Rangoon or simply by its botanical name Quisqualis Indica (Quisqualis Indica is a Latin word and translates in English as ‘What is that?’). It is easy to grow and can be planted in containers as ornamental vine. It is said to reach up to 70 meters in length but can be pruned easily. When grown in ground, Rangoon Creeper needs support of a fence, wall or wire.
Growing Rangoon Creeper
Both as container plant or creeping vine planted in the ground, Rangoon Creeper requires bright light, fertile soil and moderate water. It can withstand cold spells of winter but loves the spring season. Rangoon Creeper can be grown by seed though propagation from cutting and layering is easy and quick.
Rangoon Creeper is used in traditional medicine in Pakistan, China and India to relieve diarrhea, nephritis and rheumatism.