Purple Bell Vine - Seed
Seed for this climber requires no prior treatment.Sowing
Sow under glass in January and February.
Sow in the garden from the start of May.
If sowing indoors, it is easiest to use a propagator on the windowsill. Fill pots with a potting compost and plant one seed per pot. Just lay the seed on the top of the soil and do not cover it as the Rhodochiton germinates in the light. Press it carefully in and carefully sprinkle the pots with water. Heat will do the rest. Prick the seedlings out into larger pots and keep them cool... perhaps in a cold frame. This will hold them back until it is warm enough to plant them outdoors.
Plant your Purple Bell vine seeds outdoors in a sunny spot in the garden from mid-May either against a wall or a climbing frame if you do not want to keep them over winter, or, in a large planter with a climbing frame if you do (then you can stand the planter anywhere). If directly into the garden, do not expect flowers the first year as the seeds need a lot of light to germinate.
Seedlings are sensitive to frost so do protect them with garden fleece if frost is forecast.
The seeds will germinate in 12-40 days.
Purple Bell Vine is an annual that reaches up to 3 metres high. In temperate climes it is actually a perennial.
The plant has a pretty, heart-shaped, 6 cm long leaf often veined in purple. The lovely purple flowers dangle very attractively on slender stems.
This profusely flowering Rhodochiton atrosanguineus 'Purple Bells' is perfect for in large attractive planters on a patio or decking! Also looks great hanging from baskets and window boxes over balconies.
When the flowers are overblown and fallen off, the colourful bracts hang on the plant for a while yet - looks lovely!
With its origins in the jungles of Mexico, this plant has recently been classified as a member of the Plantaginaceae family (plantain), sub Antirrhinum (snapdragon)
Water extra during dry periods and keep the surrounding soil free of weeds. Your Purple Bell Vine will thrive if you do this. They are very undemanding but do not like to stand in too much wet. They well even do well in poor soil conditions. Purple Bell Vine reacts well to a fertiliser containing relatively more potash than nitrogen. The plant will bloom from July into the autumn. Topping off will create a compacted and bushier plant encouraging side shoots that will also bloom. Regular topping off will get the most flowers! This vine can grow to as high and as wide as 3 metres.Surviving the winter
Rhodochiton atrosanguineus 'Purple Bells' can even flower in its first year. This is really a tub plant that can make it through the winter simply by standing it safely indoors in a frost-free area. If placed in the light it will retain its leaves - in the dark it will lose them. Either way, keep the potting compost just damp. Prune back hard in the spring and stand outdoors once more. It will usually expand quite a lot in the 2nd year.