The rare yellow petunia Ipomoea hederifolia var. yellows was a new discovery for me this year. It does have yellow tubular flowers, which I love, but it quickly outgrew its container and I had to plant it in the garden.
Spanish flag vine, always a favourite of mine. I mean, come on, Ober! It looks almost unreal, but it’s a good candidate for potting, as long as you know it won’t bloom until late summer, and it can get a little out of hand, though not as aggressive as the regular ones. Blue petunia may be, although it is related. Taxonomists used to list it as Mina lobata, but it actually belongs to the family Cyclamenidae (Petuniaceae), the correct name being Ipomoea lobata.
Firecracker Vine is a very striking site when in bloom. It is also easy to grow from seed. Look for the pink and white forms as well, but they are harder to find. Its gradient coloured flowers are always commented on and even the foliage is attractive as each leaf has a beautiful shape.
Some of my favourite annual vines remain the most common. Sky blue petunias, such as ‘Sky Blue’, are pure nostalgia for me, having lived in New Jersey and planted them on a chain link fence behind my home. It was a small, long garden in Trenton, but full of plants. Just like my grandfather’s garden was near Trenton. That’s where I first saw passionflower vines growing, right behind my grandfather’s chicken coop. In the early 1980s, he was almost 90 years old and didn’t speak much English, but he wanted to show me what passion vines looked like when they were in bloom. I should mention that they are also suitable for large containers, but I didn’t include them here because they are not true annuals.
Speaking of Rhodochiton atrosanguineus , the pronunciation is a bit of a mouthful, but wisteria is undoubtedly the most showy and perhaps the best performer of all container vines.
I will admit that the finest displays come from the purple bell vine, Rhodochiton atrosanguineus. It used to be hard to find, but I occasionally find seedlings at some local nurseries in the Boston area. Like most vines, when you find it as a seedling, it won’t flower and the seedlings look rather weak and unpromising. All I can say is that if you find it, it gets it, because very few plants put on such a show. Last year, my towers were so attractive that I placed them as objects around the garden. They are that attractive. You can grow them from seed, but it takes some patience.