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Products > Petrea volubilis
Petrea volubilis - Queen's Wreath

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Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Vine
Family: Verbenaceae (Vervains)
Origin: Central America (North America)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Violet
Bloomtime: Summer
Height: Climbing (Vine)
Width: Spreading
Exposure: Full Sun
Irrigation (H2O Info): Medium Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 25-30 F
Petrea volubilis (Queen's Wreath) - An evergreen clambering and twining vine that in Central America can grow to great heights with support (25-40 feet) but in cultivation is more often seen as a espalier subject or a smaller vine though plants to 20 feet have been noted in Southern California. It has long elliptic shaped leaves to 8 inches long that are dark green above and lighter below and rough to the touch like sandpaper. Several times a year (spring through early summer and again fall into winter) appear the 1 foot long terminal raceme of flowers, resembling that of wisteria. The tubular blue flowers only last a few days but the larger and more showy bluish purple calyces remain, fading first to blue and finally to a pale gray color. The dark green foliage, with its gritty texture, acts as a foil to the pale calyces, so that the floral display appears as pale stars on a dark background. The flowers are attractive to bees, butterflies and hummingbirds and useful in flower arrangements but cut only at the base of the raceme as the flowers wilt if part of the woody vine is left attached. Plant this beautiful vine in full sun or light shade in a well-drained soil and give regular irrigation throughout the warmer months of the year. This tropical vine from is native to Southern Mexico, Central America, northern South America and the Caribbean and does best when planted in near frost free gardens, although the plant in the nursery garden withstood the hard freeze of 1990, with temperatures in the high teens F and did not drop any leaves on the three nights at 25 F in 2007. There is also a beautiful plant that billows over a 6 foot tall fence in the garden of a home just down the street from the nursery that looks outrageous when in full bloom. This plant was named by Linnaeus to honor of the young Lord Robert James Petre (1713 - 1742) of Ingatestone Hall in Essex, a patron of botany. The specific epithet is from the Lation word 'volubil' meaning "turning", "circling" or "spinning" in reference to the twining method this vine uses to climb. Queen's Wreath is the most often used common name for this unusual vine, but it is also called Purple Wreath and Sandpaper Vine. The first names are in reference to the flowers and the later to the rough surface of the leaves.  The information on this page is based on research conducted in our nursery library and from online sources as well as from observations made of this plant as it grows in our nursery, in the nursery's garden and in other gardens that we have visited. We have also incorporated comments received from others and always appreciate getting feedback of any kind from those who have some additional information, particularly if this information is contrary to what we have written or includes additional cultural tips that would aid others in growing  Petrea volubilis.