Thursday, 4 September 2014

Prince Kuhio vine / Rare morning glory- Ipomea horsfalliae

ipomea horsfalliae

This interesting member of the Morning Glory vine family is quite hard to get hold of - and when you do, it is likely to be pretty expensive. This is because the vine is hard to propagate and can be a temperamental grower - obviously nothing like its weedy relatives!

The common or weedy Morning glory (Ipomea indica) - a fast grower that is considered a pest in many countries (although it is still pretty and not a problem in cooler climates).

This plant has an interesting history in Hawaii. James, a fellow gardener in Hawaii, told me that the local name for this plant is the 'Prince Kuhio vine'. Prince Kuhio was from the ancient kingdom of Hawaii and brought it back from Europe, where it had previously been brought back from South America. The name has stuck and it is known as such.

Below is a photo supplied by James's:


In Australia, the stunning pink version is known as the 'Cardinal Creeper'. It is grown (or, more correctly, was grown) a lot in the subtropical state of Queensland. Today it has pretty much disappeared from the gardening scene and is only found in a few Botanic or public gardens.

The Cardinal Creeper is considered very hard to propagate. Cuttings rarely strike well, and seed is difficult to obtain and germination is erratic. This helps explain why it is so hard to get hold of. 

Being a lover of plants which are tropical and those that are rare, I had to try this one. When I eventually got hold of one (it wasn't easy!) I was told by many that it wouldn't survive in our warm-temperate climate.

Truth is, I needn't had worried. The plant grew rapidly right from the beginning and even flowered profusely in winter (I thought that was the indication of a warm winter, but no, apparently their main flowering season is winter). 

The only negative point about this vine is that I wouldn't recommend it for privacy screening. It tends to grow wispy and leggy - it doesn't branch that much (and this I have observed in both in my and warmer climates).

Happy Gardening!

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