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Date: 19 Aug 2016, Entry id: 1471601403

Growing Mexican Flame Vine as an annual

Q: While down in Fort Myers a few years ago, I saw this plant - Senecio confusus or Mexican Flame Vine, growing over chain-link fencing. At any rate, I fell in love with the plant then and there, only to later see it up here in Wisconsin, albeit down in Madison at The Centennial House, a noted botanical garden. This has led me to believe it may be possible to use this plant up here in the north as an annual. I could really use the orange coloration in mixed containers, etc. What I would like to try to find out is, will it grow and flower sufficiently within one of our growing seasons up here to make the choice worthwhile? Again, seeing it at Centennial House at least leads me to believe it may be possible. China where the flower was admired for its beauty and believed to have medicinal properties that promoted good health and long life. The Japanese Emperor was so smitten with the kiku flower that he adopted it as his personal crest, and it remains the insignia of the imperial family today. The art of growing and displaying Kiku for the Emperor's garden represented by amazing Imperial styles: Ozukuri, Ogiku, Kengai... Imagine growing out of one stem a single chrysanthemum trained to produce hundreds of simultaneous blossoms in a massive, dome-shaped array.

A: Mexican Flame vine is a good candidate to be grown as annual, thanks to these features:
- extremely fast growing
- it flowers in small size and young age
- long flowering period (2-3 months depending on conditions), throughout early Spring into Summer, sometimes it has a second blooming season by end of Summer.
- we keep large mature plants in stock year round, so you can have blooming size specimen as early as spring once your temperatures reach 65F so the plant will feel comfortable and develop quickly.
- easy to propagate - more plants can be made for next year season.

In winter, a potted plant can be cut back and kept in semi-dormant state indoors - garage, enclosed patio, with temperatures around 50F and above. Some gardeners from North prefer to plant a tropical specimen with a pot into the ground (make sure to add extra drainage holes), and when winter comes, it makes it easier to dig it out and save till warm season.