Petrea volubilis

Petrea volubilis in the garden of Anne Prescott, Sydney

This very unusual plant, sometimes called purple wreath, is a delightful woody-stemmed evergreen creeper. It has its most spectacular display in early spring, but reblooms in late spring or early summer with another significant flush; further flushes may also occur later in summer! It has trusses of simple violet flowers held within cross-shaped lilac calyces, which persist long after the flowers have fallen, prolonging the show. It has curious sandpapery evergreen foliage and grows well against a pillar or across the edge of a verandah roof. It needs sun and good soil to be seen at its best, but seems to cope quite well with dry times. It can grow to 6 m or more, but it can be controlled by cutting it back after flowering has finished. It has its origins in Mexico and South America. It needs to be protected from cold winters in its early years, but once established, it will flourish and develop quite thick stems.

Flowers in February, March, September, October, November, December.

 Out now in my Sydney Garden.