Black Eyed Susan Vine: A Reformed Procrastinator

Black Eyed Susan VineShame on me, I have been a very bad blogger. I don’t think I have ever gone this long without posting. I do apologize. Three kids in school is taking a bigger toll than I thought.

But no worries, I thought today I would talk about my new favorite fall plant, the Black Eyed Susan Vine. Ok, so it is not technically a fall flower, it sure is doing some fine work in my garden at this late stage in the season. I planted it in a pot and put the pot next to my porch railing and it promptly sat there and did diddly squat for a good two months. Fortunately, the clematis worked extra hard (probably out of embarrassment for its lazy ass fence friend) and no one was the wiser. Then, after about two months of letting all the other flower do all the hard work, the Black Eyed Susan Vine developed some pride and made a mad dash up the railing, burst into bloom and has been working hard ever since. I suppose you could say it was a late bloomer. (Ok, bad joke. I promise to stop that for a least the next few lines.)

Black Eyed Susan Vine Seed PodI thought that with its procrastinating nature, it would probably make a good candidate for next year. I searched the plant but could not find any ripe seed pods. Lot of green ones (and they are not hard to miss. I personally think Mother Nature has a dirty mind.   Look at that seed pod and tell me different) but no brown ones. And none the next day, or the next day or ever really. It only took me two weeks to figure out that the seed pods explode when they are ripe. The porch is littered with remnants of seed pods and gnarly brown seeds.

Black Eyed Susan Vines are originally from the tropical regions of Africa. This might explain the lackadaisical start this vine has. Cleveland is not a very hot, humid place in May and June.

The Black Eyed Susan Vines scientific name is Thunbergia. This is named for Carl Peter Thunberg, a Swedish botanist and explorer who made a life’s work out of globe trotting for plants. I wish I had that job. Not much call for a Adventurer/Botanist these days. *sigh*

This was a pretty easy plant to grow and once it gets going, it gets going fast. Perhaps I should take the hint and get my lazy butt posting a bit faster here.

10 thoughts on “Black Eyed Susan Vine: A Reformed Procrastinator
  1. Yes! Me too! I even grew those little suckers from seed, and wondered why they weren’t doing anything!
    On my fence, the pesky paper lantern vine (it’s a weed, although cool) took over. After 2 months of the BESV languishing, I forgot about it.
    Just last week, I found pretty yellow flowers in among the pesky lantern vine and pokeberry and clematis!
    Hurrah for late bloomers!


  2. Nana on

    It is very pretty and very easy to grow, but I will say be careful where you plant it. I put one on a trellis in my side bed, thinking it would be better behaved than my beloved morning glories in that spot. Was I wrong! I too thought it was working out well in my northwest Ohio garden, till about mid-July when it started getting hot, then POW! It took off like gangbusters, enveloping two rose bushes, a large lad’s-love “bush”, and an old-time coreopsis. I still like it but will definitely find a new spot for next year :).


  3. Vicki on

    I love that plant! It apparently loves me, too, cuz it’s busting out all over my garden (and yard, and sidewalk cracks, and next-door neighbor’s). All those seed pods laying around? Just wait a little while. It’s almost as bad as kudzo at enveloping all it sees.


  4. I grew Thunbergia last year (way up here in northern Canada) and it was really slow to start for me too. Of course the spring is a little cool here. It finally did put on a show and if I decide to try the yellow/orange theme again, I would grow it again.


  5. I think for these tropicals its a matter of soil temperature. One year in Denver, we put a heating cable in the soil and grew tomatoes–we had fruit a month earlier than usual. Its not very sustainable but it was a fun experiment. Maybe a black plastic or clear plastic mulch would get the soil temp up earlier in the season.


  6. I discovered this great vine this year. I have some in a pot growing on the back deck and others in the garden that have climbed all over everything. I’m curious to see if they re-seed themselves next year. I found that I need to provide a more slender support to start them climbing than my white picket fence provides. But, yes, I would grow this again.

    I sympathize with the quiet spell on blogging. Like you, my life has just taken over. I think it works like that for all of us from time to time. (Except for Carol at May Dreams! She writes every single day!)

    –Robin (Bumblebee)


  7. Oh, I’m jealous. I have not been able to get a black-eyed susan to grow here. But for me, morning glory does the same thing. It takes all summer to grow, and now that it is cold, it is blooming like crazy. And then it will die over the winter and I’ll have to replant next spring.


  8. My black-eyed Susan vine, which is supposed to have blue flowers, finally started to rip about a month ago. I have carted it indoors to avoid two heavy frosts. It still shows no sign of blooming.


  9. Thank you for this post! I’ve been wanting to try this vine, and now armed with this info, I will absolutely plant it next year!


  10. I tried the Brown Eyed Susan in mid-summer in Harrisburg PA, and it was a little slow to start. They were probably about 2 feet tall in the pot. By late summer,early fall they are probably feet (planted in the ground) growing over and through a wood fence. Had quite a nice flowering, though not densely covered with flowers by any means. They were in part sun, not full. Still displayed a nice growth and flowering.

    There are lots of seed pods, and I’m hoping it reseeds itself for next season.


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