San Marcos Growers LogoSan Marcos Growers
New User
Wholesale Login
Enter Password
Home Products Purchase Gardens About Us Resources Contact Us
Nursery Closure
Search Utilities
Plant Database
Search Plant Name
Detail Search Avanced Search Go Button
Search by size, origins,
details, cultural needs
Website Search Search Website GO button
Search for any word
Site Map
Retail Locator
Plant Listings


  for JUNE

Natives at San Marcos Growers
Succulents at San Marcos Growers
 Weather Station

Products > Podranea ricasoliana
Podranea ricasoliana - Port St. John's Creeper
Image of Podranea ricasoliana
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Vine
Family: Bignoniaceae (Bignonias)
Origin: South Africa (Africa)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Pink
Bloomtime: Summer
Height: Climbing (Vine)
Width: Spreading
Exposure: Full Sun
Seaside: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Medium Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 25-30 F
Podranea ricasoliana (Port St. John's Creeper) - A large, sprawling, woody vine that clambers without tendrils up through trees fences from which the stems arch gracefully outward but without support is good as a groundcover. The evergreen pinnate glossy green leaves have 7 to 9 leaflets with pointed tips. In our climate the flowers begin to appear in clusters at the branch tips in mid to late summer and are present until first frost. The lightly fragrant pale pink bell-shaped flowers have maroon stripes from the petal base leading down into a cream and followed by long narrow beanlike fruit.

Best flowering in full sun with occasional water but will grow in shaded areas as well. It is often listed as being tender to frost but we have actually found this plant can actually handle short duration temperatures down into the low 20s F with little damage and it even rebounded well after our December 1990 freeze when temperatures dropped to 18 F. Tolerates near coastal conditions. Pruning should be done in late winter and early spring prior to the plant's growth phase. It good as a large-scale groundcover in a warm location as the stems root wherever they touch the soil or to cover large areas of chain link fence it is very pretty in bloom and attractive to bees.

Podranea ricasoliana was thought to be native to around the Mzimvubu River at Port St Johns in South Africa, which is why it is usually called Port St. John's Creeper but some botanists feel that it might not be indigenous to southern Africa at all and that it was instead introduced by early traders from elsewhere, though since it is now grown worldwide it is difficult to actually determine its origins. It was documented as being grown at The Royal Botanic Garden at Kew from a plant sent from Port St. John in 1867 and it was in cultivation in Europe as early as 1870. The name for the genus is and anagram of the closely related genus Pandorea of Australia, which this plant was originally described as a species of. Pandora is from Greek mythology as the first mortal woman sent to earth by the gods. The specific epithet honors the Florentine general and politician Vincenzo Ricasoli (1814-1891), in whose garden near Port Ercola, Italy the plant was cultivated. It was from this location that the plant was first described in 1887 which noted Ricasoli's plant was grown from seed collected in Brazil. Other common names include Zimbabwe Creeper (likely from confusion with another species Podranea brycei), Queen of Sheba and Pink Trumpet Vine.

We first started growing this plant when our nursery opened in 1981 and while its flowers are certainly very attractive, this plant's ultimate large size, sprawling form and habit of losing lower leaves were not great selling points and we decided to discontinue growing it in 2010. We still had a large specimen planted along our fence line near the front of our nursery and it truly is a glorious sight when in full bloom and because people kept inquiring about this plant, we decided to again grow it and have done so since 2017 since people kept asking why we were not growing the plant that so prominently flowered in front of our nursery. 

This information about Podranea ricasoliana displayed on this web page is based on research we have conducted in our horticultural library and from reliable online resources. We also will relate observations we have made about it as it grows in our nursery gardens and other gardens visited, as well how our crops have performed in containers in the nursery field. Where appropriate, we will also incorporate comments that we receive from others and we welcome hearing from anyone with additional information, particularly if they can share cultural information that would aid others in growing this plant.