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October 27th, 2021

Mexican flame vine – ole!

by R.S. Walsh

The Mexican flame vine (Senecio confuses) is a prolific bloomer and quite the rambler. This plant is a Central American native from Mexico to Honduras, so of course it loves the hot climate of Southwest Florida. With lovely dark green foliage it climbs, winds and rambles over any fence, trellis, arbor or anything else it can grab ahold of. Each flower has bright orange petals that lean towards the reddish side of orange with sunny yellow centers. What butterfly wouldn’t want to land on this irresistible flower?

This vine is an evergreen, it likes well-drained soil and once established its water needs are moderate, it does not like to be too wet. Mexican flame vine is a good accent for any butterfly garden. Many of our butterfly species, including monarchs, are attracted to the profusion of bright orange flowers it produces. It is also attractive to bees and hummingbirds. It would be great trained onto a structure as a centerpiece for a flower or butterfly garden or along a fence line for bright, visual interest. This vine blooms mostly in the summer, but will bloom other times of the year when the bright sun shines. Allow the Mexican flame vine to wind its way into your garden and let it bloom for you.

This column is a joint effort by all at In The Garden located at 3889 Sanibel Captiva Road, Sanibel, Florida, 33957.

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