Hi, I am Millie Davenport, a horticulture Extension agent with the Clemson University Home and Garden Information Center. Today we are going to look at Cross Vine (Bignonia capreolata).
This morning we are in the South Carolina Botanical Gardens and we are looking at a native vine that is actually evergreen to semi-evergreen. This is Cross Vine (Bignonia capreolata). The reason this gets the name Cross Vine, that I originally thought was because of the way the stems and the leaves met, it does create a nice cross pattern here that actually I often have used that for identification purposes. The true reason for it getting its name the Cross Vine is that you get a cross pattern right here in the pith where there is a green line going across.
Today we are going to look at two cultivars or selections of this plant. The one we are looking at here is ‘Jekyll’. And as you might guess, ‘Jekyll’ does come from the name Jekyll Island in Georgia which is where it was selected. It was chosen for its really nice vibrant orange flowers. Now, the actual straight species itself has more of a reddish brown outer coloring to the trumpet and more of an orangey yellow color to the center.
The one thing we do lose with the cultivars that we are looking at today is the fragrance. The actual species has a beautiful mocha fragrance to it and we lose that with these selections. ‘Jekyll’ is really nice because of its nice vibrant colors; it’s got a nice show with lots of flowers and really nice foliage. One thing about ‘ Jekyll’ that has proven to be really nice about this selection is that it is more reliably evergreen and also that it is more cold hardy than the other selections and species itself. Now, ‘Tangerine Beauty’ that is an older selection that is available. And, ‘Tangerine Beauty’ has flowers that are a bit smaller but they do have a lot of flower power and give you a really nice show. Cross Vine in general is going to grow best in a full sun area. If you have an area with a bit of part shade it will do okay there, but you are not going to get quite as many flowers as you would with a full sun area. You want to place it in a moist soil that’s well drained. But, it will tolerate a lot of different soils, from sandy to clay soils all thru the state of South Carolina. Cross Vine has a really great ability to climb up different surfaces.
So, if you are looking for something to add to a trellis or a fence in your landscape this would make a really nice addition, plus it’s a native plant that would be great in any landscape.