Native to scrubby woodlands of the Mediterranean area, this delicate evergreen to semi evergreen woody vine is a member of the buttercup family, Ranunculaceae, that also includes delphinium, columbine, and meadow rue. The vine grows up to 20 feet long and climbs by twining if a suitable structure is available. The dark green leaves are leathery, glossy, and may be simple or compound with 3-6 leaflets. Pendulous flowers appear from winter to early spring and are bell-shaped, 1-2.5″ across, and have white to cream or pale yellow petals with dark speckles. The flowers are fragrant, attractive to bees and are good in the vase. The small dry fruits that follow have a silky-plumose tail that is decorative and adds interest. The vine is especially useful growing on a trellis, arbor, or deciduous shrub and does well in a container. It is a good choice for pollinator, fragrance, and winter gardens.

Type: Woody evergreen or semi evergreen vine

Bloom: Pendant, bell-shaped, white to pale yellow flowers from winter to early spring

Size: 4-20′ H x 1-4′ W

Light: Sun to part sun; with roots in the shade

Soil: Fertile to average, medium moist, well-drained

Hardiness: Zones 7-9

Care: May be pruned in late summer

Pests and Diseases: Slugs, snails, scale insects, whiteflies, earwigs, aphids, wilt, powdery mildew, rust, fungal spots, and stem cankers.

Propagation: Layering in early spring or late winter, softwood cuttings in early summer

Companion Plants: Early crocus, Christmas rose (Helleborus niger), winter aconite

Outstanding Selections:

var. balearica (fern-like bronze leaves, fragrant creamy white flowers with maroon speckles

var. purpurascens ‘Freckles’ (purple flowers with spots)

var. purpurascens ‘Jingle Bells’ (cream colored flower, Winter foliage with bronzy purple tint)

‘Wisley Cream’ (bronze foliage, white flowers)

Photo Credit: Dericks-Tan Wikipedia

By Karen