Black-Eyed Susan

Thunbergia alata

Swartoognooi (Afr.), Isiphondo

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A fast growing, long flowering creeper with orange, yellow, cream or white flowers with usually a black center. It is very versatile, can tolerate many types of soil and only uses a moderate amount of water. Can also handle light shade and needs warm conditions to thrive. Attracts insects and birds when flowering in summer. Used in traditional medicine. ZA Distribution: KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga.
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Planning

Difficulty

Easy

Flowering time

Summer, Autumn, Spring

Fruiting time

Autumn

Harvesting

Allow seedheads to dry on plants, remove and collect seeds.

Propagation

Seed

Sow seeds in shallow holes and cover. Germination takes 10-15 days but germination can be speeded up by soaking seeds in water overnight.

Cuttings

Take herbaceous stem cuttings or softwood stem cuttings in late spring or early summer.

Layering

Simple layering. Using U-bent wire, pin a low-growing stem to the ground, leaving the last 15-30cm of stem exposed. Cover pinned area with soil, bend the tip until vertical & cut bark at the bend.

Special features

Attracts useful insects

Butterflies, bees, flies and other insects visit flowers for nectar.

Pot plant

Black-eyed Susan can be planted in a container provided with a trellis to grow along.

Hedge plant

It makes a pretty hedge that quickly creep up a fence or other support structure.

Attracts butterflies

Attracts bees

Special features

Origin

South Africa, Eastern Cape, Limpopo, KwaZulu-Natal, and Mpumalanga.

Natural climate

Tropical

Environment

Light

Full Sun, Partial Shade, Partial Sun

Soil moisture

Moist

Soil type

Loam, Sand, Clay

Soil PH preference

Neutral, Acid, Alkaline

Frost hardiness

Half-Hardy

Uses

Notes

An attractive quick growing garden creeper, ground cover and screen.

Personality

Family

Acanthaceae

Flower colour

Cream, Yellow, White, Orange

Scent

None

Problems

Whiteflies, scale, spider mites on indoor plants. These plants are susceptible to powdery mildew fungi, so begin an organic antifungal program if the lower leaves turn brown and twisted. Also bothered by slugs, snails, aphids, powdery mildew, rust and leaf spots.

Related Problems

Companion plants

Felicia amelloides, Merwilla plumbea, blue Agapanthus, Dietes grandiflora, Carissa macrocarpa, Gardenia thunbergia, Duvernoia adhatodoides (pistol bush) and white Plumbago auriculata

Credits

profile iconThunbergia alata
by Shirley Smithies, National Herbarium, Pretoria, January 2007 (Copyright South African National Biodiversity Institute, South Africa)
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Knowledge and advice

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