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Products > Muehlenbeckia complexa
Muehlenbeckia complexa - Wire Vine

Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Vine
Family: Polygonaceae (Knotweeds)
Origin: New Zealand (Australasia)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Cream
Bloomtime: Spring
Synonyms: [Muehlenbeckia axillaris, Hort.]
Height: Climbing (Vine)
Width: Spreading
Exposure: Sun or Shade
Seaside: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Medium Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 10-15 F
Muehlenbeckia complexa (Wire Vine) - A twining evergreen vine that can climb or clamber over any support to reach 20-30 feet tall and without support becomes a sprawling tall groundcover of equal width. Dense, wire-like stems are covered with interlaced tiny small round light green leaves. Tiny creamy-green colored flowers are produced in late spring into early summer. Full sun to part shade with regular irrigation. It is hardy to at least 10-15 F. Cut back or shear to desired shape or to contain - plant recovers rapidly. This plant is useful in coastal plantings, works great for covering banks, walls, structures and topiary - it creates a nice soft effect and is fast growing. In Peter Riedel's (1873-1954) landmark book Plants for Extra-Tropical Regions, he mentiones that one of the best ways to use this plant is to train it up to the top of a 6 foot tall wire fence and then keep it clipped from both sides to maintain it as a 2 inch thick screen. He also notes that as a young plant it makes an attractive hanging basket specimen. Muehlenbeckia complexa grows naturally along coastal and lowland areas of North and South Islands in New Zealand. The name for the genus honors French physician and botanist Henri (Henrich) Gustav Muehlen (1798-1845). The specific epithet is Latin meaning "embracing" in reference to the enlarging tepals that surround the fruit. Other common names for this plant include Maiden-hair Vine and Mattress Vine, though these name are also used for Muehlenbeckia axillaris with the smaller-leafed low growing plant sometimes planted as a low ground cover, and these two species are sometimes confused in the nursery trade. Muehlenbeckia complexa has long been in cultivation in California as evidenced by inclusion of this species in Francesco Franceschi's (AKA Emanuele Orazio Fenzi) Santa Barbara Exotic Flora: A Handbook of Plants from Foreign Countries that listed all plants he found growing in Santa Barbara when he arrived in 1895.  The information provided on this page is based on research we have conducted about this plant in our nursery's library, from what we have found about it on reliable online sources, as well as from observations in our nursery of crops of this plant as well as of plants growing in the nursery's garden and those in other gardens. We will also incorporate comments received from others and welcome getting feedback from anyone who may have additional information, particularly if it includes cultural information that would aid others in growing  Muehlenbeckia complexa.