Thunbergia alata (Black-eyed Susans) is a vine or creeper, native to tropical eastern Africa. It is grown in USDA Zone 9-11 and can survive temperatures in the 30s F for a short time with proper protection. This vine is fast-growing and can reach up to 8-10 ft in a single season. It produces an abundance of colorful blooms throughout the summer. Attractive to butterflies and hummingbirds, the flowers are unique in their range of colors, consisting of pink, white, off-white, yellow, orange, red, and crimson. There is always a black center that gives the plant its name - Black Eye Susan.
To ensure proper growth of Thunbergia alata, it is best to plant in full sun or semi-shade. Regular watering and ensuring the soil is kept moist is important for success. In cold regions, it is wise to grow this vine in a pot, as it is susceptible to frost. When kept in a container, it should be brought indoors during winter to provide protection from freezing temperatures.
In general, Thunbergia alata is an ideal choice for landscapes or container gardens. Not only does it provide striking colors and interesting shapes, but it also attracts butterflies, hummingbirds, and other beneficial wildlife. Despite its tropical origins, with proper care and protection, this plant can be grown successfully in colder climates.