Cup and Saucer or Creeping Gloxina for Shade?

stacianMarch 22, 2012

Hi all!

I've been doing a crazy amount of research to see what kinds of vines I could grow on a long wood fence in our backyard which gets what the landscaper called partial shade or bright shade that would cover that fence in one season.

What I've learned the hard way is that certain vines need quite a long time to establish themselves because they need to develop an extensive root system.. like our creeping fig, which for some reason or another isn't even sticking to the fence ;/ grrr...

I have found two vines that are annuals or perennials in other regions but seems like here in Socal they may be evergreen and I would love someone who grows either one to chime in and let me know how it does in shade (if ya know) or if it is indeed evergreen here in Socal and how fast it will grow. Annie's Annuals say both grow extremely vigorously in one season - enough to cover the fenced area of around 20 feet in length.

#1 is the cup and saucer vine (Cobaea scandens)

#2 creeping gloxina or climbing snapdragon (Asarina erubescens)

I will be getting both (or either) from Annie's Annuals, which I hear is a great company.

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I guess this vine is pretty rare or no one knows if it's evergreen.

I'm also looking at Silver Lace Vine, that will supposedly grow in shade, from Lazy S's farm's website info at least. I'm just worried about it getting too big and too far away from the wall. I suppose that's just a matter of training it close to the trellis.

Any input on these vines would be great.


    Bookmark   March 26, 2012 at 6:10PM
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nancy_in_venice_ca Sunset 24 z10

Hi stacian.

I had a volunteer that I let grew in my yard since I needed a vine in a shady area. I think it's a silver lace vine. One of the worst gardening mistakes that I've ever made - invasive and not particularly attractive in medium shade. I still haven't eradicated that curse; each time I think I've destroyed it, it makes a come back via the neighbor's neglected side yard.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2012 at 7:20PM
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hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

Star Jasmine is a reliable long-term performer in Southern California. Yes it takes a couple of years to establish before it grows big enough, but then you will have a reliable screen for many years. "Quick fixes" have their own set of problems, and patience can be rewarded. Why not cover your trellis with shade cloth or vinyl panels for a year or two if you must have privacy right away?

    Bookmark   March 26, 2012 at 8:44PM
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Thanks guys. I've taken the invasiveness issue into account and I think from what I've read, the fact that it's in shade will control some of the rampant growth since even plants like honeysuckle grow much more vigorously in the sun.

We do have some honeysuckle planted elsewhere in the garden because of the happy memories the smell brings back but we have chosen the non-invasive kind and are training them very close the trellis. The honeysuckle we have planted on the same northern facing wall hasn't really grown... I think because of the conditions.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2012 at 9:30PM
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Min3 South S.F. Bay CA

annie's annuals in richmond, (northern ca) is raving about this plant in her online catalog.
she says sun or part shade here and it can grow 12' in a season. she will answer questions. i just planted one.
good luck with whatever you choose. min

    Bookmark   March 27, 2012 at 5:08PM
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Interesting--I just helped my sister pick some vines for her house in the Bay Area. So far we planted 4 things, including both of those plants. Both are Annie's plants, although the Cobaea from a nursery in Half Moon Bay (Flora Farm Landscaping--a fantastic small nursery). The Asarina is from Annie's retail store in Richmond.

The Cobaea (Cup and Saucer) is in a bit of a cave almost, so it's lower part should remain fairly heavily shaded and it will grow into a spot with a fair amount of sun (against the South-facing wall of the house). The Asarina (Creeping Gloxinia) is in a fairly sunny spot next to a short West-facing wall. Both seem to be doing great so far. They've only been in the ground for about a month. Neither is blooming yet, but if you are interested in more info (now or later) let me know. I have taken photos, but there's not much to see except small plants that look fine. The Asarina in particular is growing fast.

This is a pretty sunny part of the Bay Area--I would imagine sunnier than Venice, with more temperature extremes and cooler nights. A lot of plants that do well in San Francisco in full sun need some shade in that climate, particularly in the afternoon. They do get frost, sometimes, although I don't think they got much this winter. It's sort of where Sunset zone 15 meets zone 16 meets zone 17...I'm not even sure what they technically are for sure.

I linked below to a picture I took of Cobaea scandens (Cup and Saucer vine) at Flowerfland Nursery in Albany (near Berkeley) a couple months ago. It is a really nice plant, and the flowers are bigger than they appear in the photo.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   March 29, 2012 at 3:04AM
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I thought I would add my personal bias...I hate creeping fig--mainly because it's such a monster.

I would remove it before it's too late and replace it with another vine. Annie's should be able to sell you something. Maybe Rhodochiton, or certain Passifloras would work, depending on your tastes. Passiflora loefgrenii is a really nice plant and I think should grow in part sun/light shade. Apparently they have to grow it in full shade in Florida because of the heat and it blooms fine. I'm not sure whether the P. loefgrenii x caerulea hybrid can take that much shade. It has a reputation as a very vigorous grower (perhaps too vigorous). It's flowers are not as nice as the P. loefgrenii hybrid in my opinion, but the leaves might be nicer looking. P. loefgrenii leaves sometimes look a bit ratty, although it might look great in your climate.

P. antioquiensis might be another choice, but you would have to find a source--probably Grassy Knoll exotics has it. It might not bloom for a year, or two...If you are looking for a vine that is truly stunning, that would be one. It's a spectacular plant, and few people have the appropriate (nearly) frost free/mild summer climate that the plant needs. It grows really well in Garden Grove (near Los Alamitos, I'm told). Elizabeth at Grassy Knoll would be a great person to ask for advice choosing a vine. They have many Passifloras (over 100) as well as some other vines and I would recommend both them and Annie's highly.

There are two Passiflora antioquiensis hybrids that are really nice, Passiflora x exoniensis (antioquiensis x tripartita var. mollissima) and P. 'Mission Dolores' (P. parritae x antioquiensis). Both probably like more sun than P. antioquiensis and are more vigorous growers. Both are available (in theory) at both Annie's and Grassy Knoll. My bias would be to go with Grassy Knoll but either should be fine.

Another plant that Annie's sells that might work is Tropaeolum peregrinum. I grew one of these from Annie's against a North-facing fence in Sunnyvale (Sunset zone 15) that didn't get much sun. It grew great but only for one year. I think it should be a perennial in Venice. Neither Rhodochiton nor Tropaeolum peregrinum are big vines, but they should grow significantly and bloom well in their first year.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   March 29, 2012 at 4:18AM
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I noticed that one of your first questions was maybe not answered. I have not grown these plants before, but my impression is that they will be evergreen in a frost-free climate. I think that if it gets frosts maybe Cobaea goes semi-dormant? Maybe Asarina freezes back? These are guesses, but I think you are pretty safe in Venice. The people at Annie's could tell you for sure.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2012 at 9:26PM
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Hi Mark4321,

Thanks for all of your input! Mark and Min3, I called Annie's annuals and they said unfortunately no one on the phone could help me with my questions about the asarina and the cup & saucer - the only information they had was already on the website. If I had questions beyond like whether or not the plant was evergreen in my climate, I would have to email them and one of the horticulturists would get back to me. I emailed them a few days ago and hope to hear back soon.

Here in the Venice area, I don't I need to worry about any plants freezing back. Temps never drop under 50 for the most part and if they do, it's for maybe a day or two.

Annie's said "they recommend" cutting the vine down in the winter but really didn't say if it was necessary. Mark - you don't mind updating us on your vines, that would be great. I always love seeing pictures :)

    Bookmark   March 31, 2012 at 3:13AM
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bahia(SF Bay Area)

Asarina is more of a short lived perennial, so not really suited for use as a permanent fence cover, but it is well suited to shade. The Cobaea will be a permanent vine, but blooms better with more sun if that is why you want to grow it, and is also a very aggressive grower that will want to overtake anything close by; probably not the best choice for a typical small lot Venice beach garden. The Star Jasmine on the other hand is a well behaved vine that will fill in densely and also bloom heavily in quite deep shade, but is not super fast the first year. You can speed up the process however if you start with 15 gal sized vines already trained as espaliers, they would be full 5 x 5 foot squares. Many of the Passion vines will grow fast and bloom well with shade, such as Passiflora membranaceae, but also tend to grow into other plants and need continual trimming to control size. Lavender Trumpet vine, Clytostoma callistegioides is another useful vine for shade. You might also consider using espaliered Camellia sasanqua's or Abutilon hybrids for a shaded fence/wall; Abutilons can bloom all year round in Venice. As has been stated, super fast growth isn't always without its downsides; they may require frequent pruning or be shorter lived...

    Bookmark   April 1, 2012 at 12:19AM
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