Remember Duran Duran? Well today's gorgeous specimen reminds me of a lyric from one of their more provocative hits. Girls On Film. Recently, while tripping the light plantastic I came across an exotic floral-fall of a vine. It had lush exotic foliage and was covered with sprays of cherry and pink flowers that reminded me of falling stars. Standing before this vine I felt as if I had been transported to the foot of a waterfall of beauty. It was a very calgon moment. This bountifully blooming vine is called Quisqualis indica. It's a woody climber that comes from faraway exotic locales like India, Malaysia, and East Africa. It's got cool common names like Rangoon Creeper and Drunken Sailor. It's also commonly referred to as Chinese Honeysuckle. Whatever you want to call it, Quisqualis indica is all about its floral display. Anywhere from May to September it can kick out an outrageous outpouring of narrow, 6" long trumpet-like flower buds that first open white at night. The following days the flower color blushes pink then turns a rich cherry red color. The display is awesome! Interesting thing...the flowers kind of smell like a drunken sailor. A bit heady, tangy, with a touch of fruity funk. Definitely unforgettable.
Quisqualis indica is not often seen but looks cool to grow. I hear it's a bit of a runner but if you keep it in check and direct it to cover an arbor or trellis it makes a glamorous accoutrement for a garden setting. This evergreen vine can grow up to and beyond 40 feet. Quisqualis indica likes full sun, well-draining, fertile soil, regular water, and thrives best in temps above 40 degrees fahrenheit/4 degrees celsius. However, it is hardy down to around 30 degrees fahrenheit/-1 degree celsius. So that makes it a tender perennial in my book. The kind you want to bring indoors when the temps are heading below its hardiness. One other thing to note about this vine is that it is thorny. The thorns are hooked and can catch you if you're not careful. With its super sumptuous flowers, fascinating fragrance, and lux look, Quisqualis indica is yet another exotic vine worth knowing and growing.