Tuesday, August 25, 2015


There used to be a wonderful horticulture program at Richland College in Dallas, with amazing greenhouses and demonstration gardens, and I was lucky enough to spend several years studying there before they shut it down. The most spectacular thing I ever discovered there was a plant called Butterfly Vine.

They had a plant sale there every year, and my Propagating instructor had taken some cuttings from that vine and potted them up, so I bought one. She warned me that it might take several years for it to get "butterflies", but I thought it was worth the wait. Unfortunately, the year it finally came into bloom, we got transferred to Houston.  I hope it's making someone else very happy these days.

I searched all the nurseries in Houston, but never came across it again, and more or less forgot about it. Then one day, three or four years ago, I stumbled across a plant by that name and put it in this bed downstairs, hoping it would eventually cover that section of porch railing.

Unfortunately, all it ever got was a few insignificant yellow blooms each year, but no butterflies. I came to the sad conclusion that there must be more than one kind of Butterfly Vine, and mine was the wrong kind.

So, imagine my glee when I stumbled into Gardenville Nursery over in San Marcos one fall, and discovered a massive Butterfly Vine growing right there on their shop trellis, covered in these!

You see the "butterflies" start out the lime green color you saw above, but then turn sort of a coral-ish bronze, and finally self-preserve right there on the vine to a parchment-like texture. An older vine covered in swarms of these? Well that's truly something to behold!

I asked them if they had any for sale, and they told me they had earlier, but they were all gone. However, they planned to take some more cuttings just as soon as they had a spare moment. I kept checking in, again and again, and finally brought one home about a year ago. Guess what I discovered right after planting it in a big pot upstairs? The original vine, downstairs on the porch rail, had a few butterflies on it! And now, just a year later, the new one does too! Could life get any better?

Yes, apparently so, cuz earlier this summer I wandered into a Lowes or Home Depot, and discovered a tableful of Butterfly Vines, covered in blooms, while still in their pots! I guess the commercial growers finally figured out how to grow these things! So I bought one more and planted it on the left side of the trellis below, to balance the massive coral honeysuckle on the other side and give us year-round interest, since the honeysuckle peaks in spring/early summer, while the butterfly vine peaks late summer/fall. Best of all? So far the deer haven't bothered any of them! (knock on wood)

Can you even imagine? Not one, not two, but three Butterfly Vines in full bloom here, a couple of years from now? SQUEE!!!

1 comment:

musingegret said...

Becky, those are really really lovely; thanks for educating me!