Plant Description

Thunbergia natalensis

Thunbergia natalensis

Unlike the rampageous climbing versions of the genus Thunbergia, such as black-eyed Susan (Thunbergia alata, which I recall scrambling over trellises and arches in the garden of my childhood, with its cute, bright orange flowers with jet-black throats) and the muscular vine Thunbergia grandiflora (sometimes called the Bengal clock vine or skyflower), some of the shrubby Thunbergia are useful in a Sydney garden. My favourite is the South African Thunbergia natalensis, a compact shrub (reaching a height of around 1 m), with funnel-shaped, powder-blue blooms in late spring and summer. It likes friable, well-drained soil and is best in a semi-shaded spot. Over time, it can form a wide clump. It dies down completely over winter. It looks very pretty grown nearby another South African plant, Plectranthus zuluensis, which, unlike most Plectranthus, flowers in flushes from late spring until autumn, and has lacy flowers in the same soft blue hue as the Thunbergia. Thunbergia natalensis can be propagated by cuttings or divisions of the clump.

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Thunbergia natalensis
Out now in my Sydney garden.
Flowers November and December.
Plant Family: Acanthaceae

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