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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 are have maroon stripes from the petal base leading down into a cream and followed by long narrow beanlike fruit. Best in full sun with occasional water. Often listed as being tender to frost, 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 plants 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. This plant is 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 aall 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, thought we still have a large specimen planted along our fence line near the front of our nursery and it trully is a glorious sight when in full bloom.  Information displayed on this page about  Podranea ricasoliana is based on the research conducted about it in our library and from reliable online resources. We also note those observations we have made of this plant as it grows in the nursery's garden and in other gardens, as well how crops have performed in our nursery field. We will incorporate comments we receive from others, and welcome to hear from anyone who may have additional information, particularly if they share any cultural information that would aid others in growing it.