Flame Flower – Tropaeolum

This is the brilliantly coloured climbing Flame Flower, which does so well in the north or in a northerly position and is invaluable for covering trellis or for planting at the base of established conifers, where its rapid growth and brilliant scarlet flowers brighten the darkest corner during summer and autumn. Its additional value lies in its rapid growth. If the tuberous roots are planted in early April in a deeply dug soil, containing some humus, the foliage will have covered a trellis by late June when it comes into flower, that is if it is in a position it likes.

This means a cool soil which must never be allowed to dry out, at any rate until the plant is established. For this reason the plant rarely does well in the dry, sunny climate of south-east England, but if its requirements are noted it should present no difficulties. From mid-June it will benefit greatly from a mulch of peat or leaf mould.

tropaeolum majus, oost indische kers


  • Tropaeolum polyphyllum. This is a dwarf-growing golden yellow species, not as hardy as speciosum and should be planted 9-10 in. deep in the north. It is useful for covering a low trellis or for brightening dull shrubs.
  • T. speciosum. The Flame Flower or Climbing Nasturtium, which likes a cool, moist soil and a similar climate. As the plants are sometimes difficult to establish it is better to purchase the roots started into growth from pots. Most nurserymen cater for this trade.

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