By mid August, the flowers in the garden are heat-stressed and looking a little tired (just like me ;) but my favorite summer vine is still going strong and growing by leaps and bounds!
This is my third summer with Black-eyed Susan vine. It blooms all summer long until frost, which is typically November here in North Carolina.
Blooms slow during the heat of summer, but pick back up in September. I planted it two years ago to trail along a bench and it was still blooming for pumpkin season. You can see it climbing my bench and paired with pumpkins, here.
Black-eyed Susan vine is an easy-to-grow annual and an excellent climber and choice for a trellis or fence. No relation to Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta), it climbs 8 to 10 feet in a single growing season, and up to 20 feet in frost-free areas, Zones 10 and 11.
It prefers full to part sun, with afternoon shade ideal here in the hot, sunny South.
I picked up two small vines from the garden center that I planted on each side of the ladder in early May, but it’s easy to grow from seed once the threat of frost has passed. Soaking the seeds in warm water overnight before sowing will speed germination.
The “eye” is actually the throat of the flower that’s a brownish-purple shade.
I added some garden twine to train it to climb the ladder. By July, the ladder was covered with vine and cheery yellow flowers. I have to keep the vine in check to prevent it from climbing the Limelight hydrangeas next to it, and you can see it weaving its way through the silvery foliage of the artemisia.
My ladder is going on its third summer. It’s been painted, sealed and repaired twice.
I knew using it outside would shorten its lifespan, but I couldn’t resist planting it next to my Potting Shed. It seemed like garden serendipity when I found it at an antique mall already painted green and eerily close to matching the trim color of the shed.
Last spring, my hubby removed and replaced the plywood steps that were splitting and chipping away. I matched the green paint at Lowe’s to paint the new boards for the steps. I also gave the entire ladder several additional coats of paint to provide some added protection from the elements.
This spring when I went to move the ladder, I discovered it was on its last leg. My hubby used $2 mending plates and bolted the pieces back together. I painted the plates and gave the ladder several more coats, keeping my fingers crossed that it would survive another year.
It’s serving as a trellis, with the vines hiding its Frankenstein-esque repair. ;)
I ‘planted’ some galvanized watering cans on the steps of the ladder provide a little garden art and interest.
And I ‘grew’ flowers to add to the watering cans with magnets for a fun, blooming embellishment.
The small metal flowers were leftover from my Repurposed Door Knob Hose Guards.
Black-eyed Susan vine is long blooming, heat tolerant and doesn’t require deadheading. The most common varieties are yellow or orange, but you can find it available in other colors by seed.
Water it until established and then weekly during the heat of the summer and you’ll be rewarded with blooms all summer long until frost!