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Plant Profile: Cardinal Vine ( Ipomoea × multifida)

Also called hearts and honey, this annual twinning vine is a hybrid of  Ipomoea coccinea (scarlet morning glory) and I. quamoclit (cypress vine) and is a member of the morning glory family, Convolvulaceae, that also includes sweet potato, Hawaiian woodrose, and dodder.  The vines grow 10-20 ‘ long and have deeply palmately dissected emerald green leaves up to 3″ long.  Clusters of 2-5 bright red tubular flowers appear in late summer.  They are outward-facing, 2″ long and attract butterflies, bees and hummingbirds.  The genus name, Ipomoea, comes from the Greek words ips meaning worm, and homoios meaning resembling, possibly refering to the appearance of the roots in the soil.  Another possible refernce is to the way the vines twine around objects.  The specific epithet, multifida, is said to mean many divided and refers to the dissected leaves. Type: Annual vine.

Bloom: Tubular, red, 2” flower with white or yellow eye; mid summer to frost.

Size: To 20’.

Light: Full sun for best potential; afternoon shade OK in South.

Soil: Average, mediummoist, well drained

Fertilizer: Apply a general purpose fertilizer in spring. Avoid over fertilizing or you will have lush foliage at the expense of flowers.

Hardiness: Not hardy

Care: Water during periods of drought.

Pests and Diseases: None of importance.

Propagation: Self seed readily; seedlings emerge in late spring. Easily started from purchased or collected seed, but soak the seeds for 24 hours before planting.

Companion plants: Cardinal Vine is best appreciated as a specimen vine grown in a container.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

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