Friday, August 26, 2005

Black-Eyed Susan Vine

I grew black-eyed susan vine from seed this year. The vine is no relative of the traditional black-eyed susan, Rudbeckia, but a warm season, annual vine. I ordered the “Blushing Susie” variety from Park’s and planted all 10 seeds in a rectangular planter.

In March, as I waited for the seeds to sprout, I found full grown BES vines for sale at a local nursery. They were already clambering up the small trellises inserted in their pots and covered in cheery flowers. I smugly noted the $12 price tag and congratulated myself for being clever enough to grow 10 for $2.50.

Seven of the ten seedlings sprouted in late spring. Once we were safely past our last frost, I set the container outside and adorned it with a large trellis. I was underwhelmed by the growth rate. At last, by July, one of the plants had climbed halfway up the trellis and began to bloom. Quite unlike the vine pictured on the Park’s website, my single vine showed only a bloom or two at a time. (They also failed to “blush.") Disappointed, I vowed to never plant this vine again.

Meanwhile, I had become disgusted with the morning glory I had planted in a birdcage on the deck and ripped it out. In its place, I transplanted a black-eyed susan vine, plucked from the end of the row of plants in the original container. It took off, quickly covering the cage. It is now blooming almost as profusely as promised.

The vines in the original container have reached the top of the trellis. There are no more blooms. No vine, other than the first, has shown a sign of flowering. Now, though, I think the fault is mine.

I was so eager to create a lush, flower-covered trellis, that I did not observe the plant spacing as directed on the seed packet. Because I over-planted the container, the vines were too crowded to develop properly and bloom. The plant that I removed and gave its own pot is proof of how much happier this vine is with more space. It grew faster and is blooming more heavily. I may grow black-eyed susan vine again, but I will be sure to follow the spacing instructions next time.


Blogger Jenn said...

Annual poppies are also very picky about spacing, I have found by the same process you descibe. Oops.

I took this year's seed from the stunted plants in the container planting and scattered them in an empty bed. Looking forward to seeing the results of this experiment next spring.

8:13 AM  
Blogger Zoey said...

I really like that vine, Kasmira. I am also underwhelmed with my morning glory this year...too many yellow diseased looking leaves. I will have to remember this one for next year.

4:15 PM  

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