I am on a one woman quest to make the Black-eyed Susan vine (botamical name - Thunbergia alata) as popular as the super-needy impatiens or the mundane marigolds.
Are you with me?
They. Are. Gorgeous. Period.
This old-fashioned beauty grows extremely quickly and is very easy to care for, making it a favorite in my garden every year. It is just as much at home climbing up a trellis as it is cascading down a hanging basket.
As a bonus, the vines attract all sorts of pollinators including bees, butterflies and hummingbirds.
Seriously, if you've never tried growing one of these you are missing out.
How To Grow Black-Eyed Susan Vine
- Hardy in USDA Hardiness Zones 10-12 (grown as a perennial in southern Florida, Hawaii, etc)
- Grown as a annual in cooler hardiness zones (I grow mine as an annual in Ohio)
- Prefers full sun with light afternoon shade
- Water regularly (if grown in a hanging basket do not let the pot dry out)
- A trellis or stake will be needed, because they sort of go nuts
- You can either purchased vines from the store already growing in pots or grow your own plants from seeds.
Growing From Seed
Although you can find the vines in containers and hanging baskets at most big box hardware stores and garden centers, they tend to come in basic yellow or orange. For some of the more non-traditional varieties you will need to grow them from seed.
But good news, these vines are VERY EASY to grow from seeds!
You can start indoors in biodegradable (paper or peat) pots 6-8 weeks prior to your last frost date. Or simply sow outside when soil temps rise above 60 degrees.
Plants normally emerge 10-14 days after planting.
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There are MANY varieties of Black-eyed Susan Vines, but some of my favorites are:
Sunrise Yellow - the traditional bright yellow color
Arizona Rose - GORGEOUS rich rose pink
Tangerine Slice A-Peel - red and orange bicolor (the petals are striped looking)
Bright Eyes - white blooms with dark centers
Superstar Orange - very traditional orange with dark eye
Susie Mix - mixture of orange, yellow and white flowers on one plant
Arizona Glow - fiery orange/red with dark brown eye
Where To Buy Black-Eyed Susan Vine Seeds:
I get quite a few people emailing me about where they can buy Black-eyed Susan vines. I buy mine locally, but considering you all don't live right around the block from me, I did find Black-eyed Susan vine seeds for sale online HERE.
And if you are need a trellis, I located a similar wooden trellis HERE or a white PVC coated trellis HERE.
Black-Eyed Susan Vine not blooming?
Black-eyed Susan vine does go through a period in the dead of summer heat (late-July and August) when it tends to slow down on producing blooms. As soon as cooler weather starts back up again in September it should start to bloom again in force.
Other than that, make sure your plant is in full sun, you are watering it sufficiently and you are not over-fertilizing it. Too much nitrogen can cause plants to produce more foliage and less blooms.
Common Pests And Diseases
Occasionally spider mites or whiteflies may infest your vines, but that is rare. If you do get an infestation it can be easily controlled with an insecticidal soap. In 10 years of growing Black-eyed Susan Vines I have not had this problem yet (knock on wood).
How many Black-eyed Susan vines do you put in a planter?
- In your average sized hanging basket (10-12") you would plant 2-3 single plants.
- In larger urns you would plant 4-5 depending on the size of your container.
- I always err on the side of the more the merrier, but when you have trouble finding the urn under all those gorgeous yellow blooms come July . . .
Companion Plants For Black Eyed Susan Vine
Any low growing purple or dark blue plant looks AMAZING with the yellow Black-eyed Susan vines, such as Salvia, a purple Veronica (Speedwell) variety such as Royal Candles Speedwell or a purple African Daisy (Osteospermum).
This year I planted Victoria Blue salvia (an annual in these parts) at the bottom on the trellis.
You can also grow another vine along with it such as purple hyacinth bean vine or morning glories if you'd like the color to intertwine all the way up the trellis (or down the hanging basket if you go that way).
Other Gardening Ideas you might enjoy:
How To Grow Peonies Your Neighbor Will Envy
5 Simple Tips For Growing Clematis
Adelyn Taylor - Fast Landscape Gardening
The Black Eyed Susan Vine is gorgeous! It grows really fast and it is a great wall covering - looks absolutely fabulous! The only problem is that it tends to be a bit too invasive but you can avoid this if you take care of it well.
Fast Landscape Gardening
I have a Black Eye Susan vine. I grow it on a old wash line metal pole. It is in full sun in my back yard. Coming from PENNSYLVANIA TO FLORIDA in2004. Living in a. 5th wheel. Then, aMoble Home. Then. Buying a Block Home in Florida. This plant has a permanent home now.
I planted one in a planter this year. I bought it from a nursery in a 4" pot. It looked healthy and had two or three blooms on it then. Since we reported it here, it has grown some, and has not bloomed again. We moved the pot to a somewhat sunnier spot today. Can you give me any tips about what to do for it? Thanks!
They do like their sun. Are you fertilizing it? Sometimes if they're getting too much fertilizer (too much Nitrogen) they tend to grow leaves and not flowers. So if you're fertilizing it I'd cut way back on that for a few weeks and see if that's the problem.
Do you know if the berries are edible?
I live in Sydney Australia and these come up all over my garden. They can become invasive but at least they are easy to pull out. They are very pretty.
Hi. Can you tell me how you anchor your trellis? I am trying to figure out where to put it and how to keep it up.
Last year I put it in a pot but the wind kept blowing it over and I almost lost my flowers and pot.
That trellis is wired to tent stakes to give it extra support. I tried to just dig it down into the ground and that lasted about a week before it blew over 🙂 So then I wired some tent stakes to the bottom of the trellis (I overlapped the wood and the tent stakes about four inches and then wrapped wire around them both) and then pounded the tent stakes into the ground. It's not moved since and it's been there probably 5 years now.
I use rebar pounded in ground to hold my trellises up. I like the supply at Lowes. I plan to rebar stake all my shepherd hooks as well to handle weather and weight. I have a few hanging water pcs. I will try this flower next summer.
Hi, I bought recently. I want to build a trellis for it. What is the height you recommend for this plant? Thank you. It is indeed beautiful to look at first thing when we walk outside in the morning.
Mine is 5 foot tall. By the end of the summer it has climbed up and back down again so you can barely see the trellis anymore 🙂 You could go taller if you want it to keep climbing, but I sort of like the full look of it.
I love black eye susan's never tried vine ,,try get one for spring ,Thank's for info on it ,happy planting,,..;
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You are a great writer. I just bookmarked your website.
Mine are taking over my flowerbed under my kitchen window, & I live it. I string nylon from nails up & down the house. When they grow long enough, I help them grab onto the nylon string. It covers the entire area between windows & looks fabulous.
I live in a area that gets really hot. Over a 100-118 full sun this last summer. Full sun ☀️ would they still grow
I have been planting Black eyed Susan’s for years . I love it. I always am able to find the Arizona sunset color which is a bright orange-ish coral color and fade to peach. It is a real treat to grow and rewards with a ton of flowers and a privacy barrier too
I planted 3 Black Eyed Susan vines but only one survived the summer. It’s beautiful and I want to save it from the winter. I live in North Dakota and the winters are brutal. Any suggestions for me on saving it through the winter?
How long does it take for this vine to bloom? I live in Houston TX and planted this in April. It is growing but not blooming. I don't even know the buds looks like
Oh, it should be blooming by now! I normally get my first blooms in June, then they go wild in July and August. As a matter of fact, I just went back and checked the date on the first few photos in that post and they were taken June 24th of that year. The only thing I can think of is if you have over-fertilized it may have caused the plant to spend all its energy on leaf growth rather than flower production.
How often we should fertilize? I think we are not doing it that often though. can you post photo of a bud pls
I love thunbergia vines as well! I have grown them indoors from seed just sitting by a sunny window to start early (live in Minnesota so can't put them out until May) and they are sensational! But I am frustrated in not being able to find the Arizona Rose Sensation Seeds anywhere in the US--anyone know where that variety is available?
I live in North Alabama and this vine reseeds it's self every year. I have a beautiful array and have to pull some out (There are so many. )
I bought a first time hanging plant this year can you tell me about harvesting the seeds? Do the seeds come after the flowers? I’m in Ohio. Thank you, DeniseB