|The Spanish Flag - Ipomoea lobata|
The Spanish Flag - Ipomoea lobata is an ornamental twining plant grown for its warm combination of flame-crimson, cream and yellow blooms. Native to Brazil, the common name related to the colours of the old Spanish colonial flag. An unusual association as Brazil is in fact a former Portuguese colony.
When growing from seed, soak them overnight in cold water or file a tiny notch in the seed coat before sowing.
Sow just one seed per 3 inch pot 1/4 inch deep in a good quality compost such as John Innes 'Seed and Cutting'.
This should be done in early spring at a temperature of around 21-24 degrees Celsius.
Place the pots into a propagator or seal inside a polythene bag and leave in a warm bright room, but out of direct sunlight. Germination will usually take between 10-16 days.
Once the seedlings have emerged you can remove the pots from the propagator or polythene bag and grow on in cooler conditions. Once they are big enough they can then be transplanted into 5 inch pots but do not disturb the root system as you do so.
Gradually acclimatise to outdoor conditions for 10-15 days before planting out but only after all risk of frost has gone and the weather has warmed up. Plant each specimen 12 inches apart in their final position outside
Mina lobata will require a sunny sheltered and warm site in rich, moist soil. It will need support to tie itself into and given the chance will grow up to around 6 to 8 feet tall.
Its Mexican origins mean that it will not survive outside in a northern European garden without a protective environment. With this in mind, if you wish to keep the same plant year after year consider growing it is a large container as Mina lobata does not like having its roots disturbed by lifting and re-potting.
In these circumstances the plant will need to be moved to a greenhouse once the temperature starts to drop below 10 degrees Celsius. Over the winter, feeding can be stopped and watering will need to be reduced, however the compost around the roots must be constantly moist. It can be taken back outside once it has been hardened off in the spring.
For related articles click onto the following link:
How to Grow Mina lobata - the Spanish Flag
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HOW TO GROW THE SPANISH FLAG FROM SEED - Ipomoea lobata
MINA LOBATA - The Spanish Flag
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