Darrin Duling
Rangoon creeper (Combretum indicum) is easily grown as a perennial climber in our area. It was originally native to tropical Southeast Asia but is now present throughout the tropics. It is prized for its hanging clusters of large, star-shaped flowers that start out white, turning pink and finally magenta as they age. A rare double-flowered form also exists. At the height of its summer blooming season, the vibrant tri-color display is dazzling. In addition to their stunning visual display, the flowers emit a strong fruity fragrance that intensifies in the evening. Hawk moths are often seen visiting the flowers at night. 
Rangoon creeper thrives in temperatures above 40 degrees and tends to lose its top during the brief winter freeze that we usually experience. However, it will rapidly grow back from the roots in spring and start flowering by late May or early June. The most important consideration when growing it is to give it lots of space, as it can climb up to 12 feet or higher in our climate – in the tropics it may reach over 70 feet tall! Got a pergola, fence or trellis that needs covering really fast? This is an excellent choice.
Plant this exotic treasure in a sheltered spot in full to partial sun with even moisture, but do not let it get too wet. It prefers regular soil on the acidic side. Apply light fertilization as it emerges in the spring but do not overdo it as you may get more foliage than flowers.

 

 

Darrin Duling is the director of Mercer Botanic Gardens in Humble. Send your questions to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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