Tropaeolum tricolor and vertical gardening

Peter Taggart
Thu, 14 Jul 2011 12:20:00 PDT
as I understand it, this tecnique for making 'cusions' out of small climbers
involves a daily arranging of the growing tips so that they grow in a coil
circling the pot.
Peter (UK)

On Thu, Jul 14, 2011 at 4:50 PM, Jane McGary <>wrote:

> Max asked
> >My T. tricolor tubers have arrived well in advance of my plant to
> >construct a window box for them, and I am considering trying them in
> >"woolly pockets" instead:
> >
> >These are breathable felted polyethylene bags used in vertical
> >gardening: Height = 15 inches, Length = 24 inches Volume = .40 cubic
> >feet.
> >
> >Does anyone have experience with this type of product or thoughts
> >about it's suitability to T. tricolor?
> >
> >In case you're wondering why I want to windowbox this plant, the
> >location will provide the best winter sun I can muster.
> I expect this Tropaeolum would grow at least for a season in almost
> anything, as long as it is kept moist during its early growing
> season. One thing to know about it is that different wild populations
> grow in different conditions; some are much moister during its
> flowering period than others. It's impossible to know which type one
> gets from a commercial source. All of them, however, go dormant by
> early to midsummer, so they might not be the best choice for a
> prominent position such as Max is suggesting. There's also the
> question of how warm the soil would get -- the tubers might not do
> well if heated too much. If Max uses the pocket planter, it would
> probably be best to store it in a shaded place during dormancy, even
> though he doesn't live in a terribly hot climate.
> Another thing I've noticed about this and other small tuberous
> Tropaeolums is that they flower best when given a vertical support
> rather than trailing down or along the ground. In my bulb collection
> they have been given twiggy branches to keep them from strangling
> nearly flowering stems. T. tricolor is particularly strong in its
> upward tendency and it would probably try to cling to the outside of
> the pocket material to go up. In nature they climb up through shrubs.
> (Some of the bigger ones, such as T. incisum and T. polyphyllum, are
> trailers that spread out on the soil surface and might be a better
> choice where a trailing plant is wanted.) This year I bought some
> small decorative "tuteurs" (pyramidal wire supports) to put over them
> for next winter's growth. Another possibility was suggested by a
> photo in the AGS bulletin of a show plant grown by Joy Bishop: she
> had made a dome of chicken wire and placed it over a pot containing
> T. brachyceras, training it back and forth over the dome to create a
> very pretty (if hardly "in character") flower-covered cushion,
> probably the most sensible way to get one of these fragile climbers to a
> show.
> Jane McGary
> Portland, Oregon, USA
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