Well, that's kind of what happened to me. I tried to take a shortcut, and in this instance it worked, but it's not the advised way to go.
You see, when I started gardening, I realized that nothing would live in our soil. It was pure clay. Brick almost. What's a girl to do? Amend is the regular route. But I wanted a shortcut.
I really knew nothing about my crossvine (Bignonia capreolata) when I bought it, except it was a plant native to many southern states, including Texas. It seemed to me that native plants that might grow in the naturally hard soil. And I could skip a step.
Except for a few areas (which still includes where this vine is planted), my soil is nicely amended now. But it took a long time to get it that way. And miraculously, the crossvine turned out to be a beautiful shortcut.
|Crossvine (Bignonia capreolata)|
If you want to try a crossvine, here's some thing you might want to know:
- Sometimes it won't bloom until it reaches the top of the structure. I had to wait a few years for mine to reach the top of the wall and start blooming, but its evergreen leaves were pretty to look at while I waited.
- It attaches itself by little tendrils with sticky pads, so it will climb almost anything. I put mine on a trellis to start it growing up the outside wall, but after it got the hang of it, it just took off.
- It's a natural hummingbird magnet.
- Evergreen, it grows in zones 6 through 9, up to 40 ft, in full sun to partial shade.
- Blooms in spring, and again in fall.
Mine is allowed to just grow and hang down upon itself. As it takes pruning easily, I've seen others train their crossvine neatly across their house, up an arbor, draping a gazebo, across the top of a fence, or climbing a tree. It is said if you cut into the stem, you can see a cross sign, thus the name crossvine.
Versatile. Tough. Attracts hummingbirds. Evergreen. Easy. An orange spectacle when it blooms. My shortcut.