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Thunbergia alata - Black-eyed Susan Vine

Common Name: Black-eyed Susan Vine[1]

Scientific Name: Thunbergia alata

Description: Tender perennial twining vine grown as an annual; bright yellow-orange, sometimes cream tubular shaped blossoms with a distinct chocolate-purple center

Size: 5 to 8 feet

Cultural Information: Prefers moist but well-drained, fertile soil and full sun to part shade; Requires a trellis or some support of the tendrils; prefers morning sun and afternoon shade and does not like intense heat. Soak seed in warm water 1-8 hours before sowing in pots or in the ground after last frost. Can be used in planters and hanging baskets, boxes, urns, and rock work. [2]

USDA Zones: Can survive a minimum temperature of 45 degrees

Historical Notes: This showy tender perennial vine is native to tropical Africa and India and was introduced to Britain in 1823. It was often listed as an evergreen climber for hot houses in early 19th-century catalogs. Joseph Breck described yellow, white, and orange flowered varieties by mid-century and Peter Henderson and William Robinson both recommended it as a half-hardy annual climber for short trellises, or against walls.


  1. This article is based on a Center for Historic Plants Information Sheet.
  2. Denise Wiles Adams, Restoring American Gardens: An Encyclopedia of Heirloom Ornamental Plants, 1640-1940 (Portland, Oregon: Timber Press, Inc., 2004), 152.

Further Sources


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