Garlic vine, Cydista aequinoctialis
||High (10-12 hours)
||Medium (2-3x week)
||12" x 12"
This lovely flowering vine originates in South America, from Mexico to Brazil, and also known as Ajos Sacha ("false garlic" in Spanish). It grows into a semi-woody vine that both twines and also attaches itself with tendrils to grow up and over objects. There are two special features that make this plant unique: First, the blooms, which are deep lavender with white throat, fading to a paler lavender as they mature. You will see three different color of flowers at the same time on the plant, giving the same effect in the landscape as yesterday-today-and-tomorrow (Brunfelsia). The vine blooms heavily twice a year, once in fall through winter, and again in mid to late spring, although it may have sporadic flowers on and off throughout the year.
Its other standout feature is that the leaves, when crushed, smell like garlic, although the plant is not related to the common edible onion or garlic at all. The entire plant is used medicinally by South Americans to reduce fevers, treat colds, throat, respiratory ailments, arthritic and rheumatic pain. Garlic vine is also somewhat effective as a mosquito repellent.
Garlic vine grows fast but is not extremely aggressive and will not become an unruly resident in the garden. It can be grown in containers as well. In any case, the plant appreciates well-drained soil with regular watering. Full sun is best. Garlic vine is great for screening a chain link fence and can also be used to ornament trellises, arbors and pergolas.
Like many other flowering vines, the garlic vine should not be overly pruned, as flower buds appear on new growth. Many gardeners make this mistake by pruning away the vines to keep new growth in check and as a result, plants refuse to produce flowers. Pruning should be done in late spring after the flowers are gone.
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