by Matt Gibson
Indigenous to Mexico, the purple bell vine flower is a quick-growing, upward-climbing perennial with twining stems that are adorned with heart-shaped leaves, which are toothed and tinted dark green to burgundy around the edges. The vine also produces multitudes of deep maroon to dark purple bell-shaped pendants, tubular flower calyces that are three inches in length. These dangle blood red to deep purple petal tubes that protrude several inches from the center of the blooms. Purple bell vine (rhodochiton atrosanguineus) produces blossoms plentifully from late spring to late fall, and if it’s given the right support to attach itself to and twine around as well as the proper growing conditions, the vine can grow up to 10 feet in a single season.
Purple bell vine looks stunning in a hanging basket, where the exotic plant gently cascades over the edges and flows gracefully toward the ground. Alternatively, you can provide this exotic flowering vine with a support for it to cling to as it grows vertically, such as a trellis, wall, or pergola. This free-flowering beauty will cling to and grow over anything you put in its path, so feel free to get creative with your support items. A large statue, a birdbath, or garden wall are all wonderful supports for this vivacious vine.
Growing Conditions for Purple Bell Vine
Purple bell vine can stand a little bit of shade, but it thrives in full sun exposure and produces many more flowers when it has full access to the sun throughout the day. In extremely hot climate areas, afternoon shade is needed for optimal growing. As far as soil is concerned, purple bell vine needs a soil that is rich in humus, fertile, consistently moist and drains well. A loam-based soil rich in compost is best,
Purple bell vine is hardy in zones 10 and 11 and heat zones 2 through 8. If you live in a lower zone, try growing these vines in containers as an annual with a soil mixture consisting of two parts sphagnum peat moss, one part perlite and one part loamy soil mixed together thoroughly.
How to Plant Purple Bell Vine
Sow purple bell vine seeds indoors in late wintertime. Press seeds just beneath the soil’s surface, and keep them constantly moist but not waterlogged until germination starts to happen, which could take anywhere from two to six weeks’ time. After seeds start to germinate, harden off for 10 days or more before taking outside to place in their final home. Plant vines one to two feet apart.
Care of Purple Bell Vine
Keep the soil containing purple bell vine consistently moist, watering as soon as the top two inches becomes dry. Never allow the soil to dry out completely or become waterlogged, as the vine is fussy about hydration and will most likely die in subpar moisture conditions. Fertilize the soil once per month when watering to ensure sufficient nutrient intake for your purple bell vines. Using a 10-10-10 water soluble fertilizer at a ratio of one half teaspoon to every half gallon of water, keep soil moist and packed full of nutrients for the vines to feed on.
Because they can stretch up to 10 feet within one growing season, you will definitely want to provide some sort of support for the purple bell vines to grow on. Aside from the gardening go-tos of lattice or trellis structures, you could also construct a collapsible cone shape out of wood using string or plant ties to keep the plants’ stems from getting tangled. Make sure not to tie the string or ties too tight to allow some room for movement and growth. Keeping purple bell vines elevated off the ground will help to defend against fungal diseases while improving the plant’s air circulation.
Trim back the purple bell vines to promote more lateral growth and to make the plants bushier and more fruitful in blooms. Trimming back also helps to prevent tangling and to keep the vines more manageable.
Garden Pests and Diseases of Purple Bell Vine
Indoor vines may develop issues with infestation from aphids, whiteflies, or scale insects. The cure involves a trip to the garden center and the application of insecticidal soap or horticultural oil to affected plants.
Outdoor vines may survive the winter in the right hardiness zones, but the plants will die back to the ground and basically need to be started over from the beginning. Waterlogged or overwatered soil encourages fungal diseases, such as root rot and powdery mildew. Covering the base of the plant with a three-to-four-inch layer of mulch will help to prevent dieback, which tends to relieve stress on the plant as well. Diseased plants will need to be treated with a fungicide.
Using Purple Bell Vine for Indoor Bouquets
Purple bell vine blooms will not survive very long once removed from the vine, so using cut flowers for indoor bouquets is not really an option unless you will be satisfied with a very short-lived bouquet.
Video About Purple Bell Vine
Check out this video all about the purple bell vine, complete with growing and care tips: