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Best uses

A great interesting vine for a sheltered spot. It looks great trained up a structure in garden beds among other plants or on its own against a wall or trellis or even up a tree so the flowers can arch out of the tree to give a weeping effect. They can even be trained into an interesting standard for something different. Young plants can take a little while before they settle and flower.

Physical characteristics

A semi-evergreen, woody climber reaching 5m tall and 3m wide.

Flowers and foliage

Arching panicles of flowers with lilac-purple, star-shaped calyxes are borne from spring on and off to autumn. Leaves are oblong to elliptic, dark green above and paler beneath with a sandpaper-like texture.

Preferred site

Petrea will tolerate a range of conditions once established, from moist to dry but perform best in full sun to part shade in moist but well-drained soil. They will tolerate coastal conditions as long as they are protected from strong wind. They will also cope with cooler temperatures and will tolerate light frosts but on the whole frost-free sites are preferred.

Preparation for planting

Always choose healthy, well-grown plants and plant after autumn rains. Before planting, ensure the root ball is saturated and remove the planter bag or pot with minimal root disturbance. Trim any broken roots and plant at the same level as in the container. Dig a hole twice the diameter of the root ball and firm in and water once planted. Make sure plants are watered well until established if planting in a drier period. Plant with some general slow-release fertiliser and then every spring apply an organic-based fertiliser such as blood and bone at a handful per square metre as new growth begins.

Maintenance tips

Apply an organic mulch annually to help suppress weeds and conserve moisture. Feed annually in spring with a balanced fertiliser such as blood and bone at a handful per square metre in spring as new growth begins. Prune off wayward branches after flowering to keep in the plant tidy. This can be carried out after flowering in autumn.

Pests and diseases

Usually trouble-free.

Location at Auckland Botanic Gardens

Wedding Garden