Answer: Sunny Orange Wonder and Sunny Lemon Star are two new black-eyed Susan vines (Thunbergia alata) being introduced by BallFlora Plant that will hopefully be making their way to garden centers next spring.
The colorful bright orange, yellow or white flowers, resembling black-eyed Susans, adorn a vigorous climbing annual and all in one season.
The black-eyed Susan is a very versatile vine. It can be grown at the entrance to the cottage garden or as a bright addition to the tropical garden. Regardless, grow them over an arbor along a fence. They will even work on the mailbox.
Choose a site in full sun to partial shade and plant after the last frost of the year. Prepare the soil deeply by adding 3 to 4 inches of composted pine bark and humus and tiling to a depth of 8 to 10 inches. While tilling, incorporate 2 pounds per 100 square feet of bed space a slow-release, 12-6-6 fertilizer.
Set out nursery-grown transplants at the same depth they were growing in the container. It is also easy to grow from seed. Sow three seeds about one-fourth inch deep, water and cover with mulch. Germination takes 10 to 21 days. Remove the weakest seedling by cutting.
Feed with a light application of the fertilizer every four to six weeks. Keep well watered to keep them growing vigorously. The black-eyed Susan vine climbs easily so provide a sturdy structure. Occasionally, spidermites can be a problem, so watch and treat early if necessary.
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