Wonga Wonga Vine or Bower Vine
Pandorea jasminoides ‘Charisma’ has irregular green and cream variegated foliage, and soft pink flowers with a dark pink throat.
This plant genus, which comprises only six species of woody evergreen climbers, is named after Pandora, who has a place in Greek mythology thanks mainly to the ancient Greek poet Hesiodin. He tells of Pandora’s origins, and how she opened a container she had been told to keep shut, and in so doing unleashed all manner of evil. She closed it quickly, but by that time only ‘hope’ remained a captive. Hesiodin was not the only poet to tell the tale of Pandora, and versions and interpretations differ. When it comes to Pandorea jasminoides, however, there are no differences of opinion, and you don’t have to hope that it will flower abundantly, you can be sure that it will. P. jasminoides is of Australian origin and possesses some appealing characteristics: it blooms willingly, is easy to propagate and doesn’t require much maintenance. It is the ideal climber to decorate walls, hedges and trellises in prominent places, because the flowers are showy and the plant is evergreen and remains neat. The pretty, tubular flowers have a diameter of 3 to 5 cm and are usually white with a crimson or pink throat. The lush compound leaves clothe the slender stems from top to bottom, providing a neat background to the panicles of flowers, and taking centre stage when the plant is not in bloom.
P. jasminoides is a relatively light plant and ideal for smaller gardens, but it does get heavier and offer more wind resistance as it grows. When you plant it, make sure that the supports are strong enough and perhaps also install wire mesh between the supports so that the slender stems, which wrap themselves around any strut, can be trained upwards easily.
When do they bloom?
The flowers appear from late winter to midsummer.
Most suitable climate
This climber flourishes in our subtropical areas, growing so well that it requires regular pruning. It can only resist light frost, so in colder regions and gardens that experience frost you need to provide protection in winter. This is especially important for young plants. In the Western Cape it should be planted in sheltered areas so that it is protected from the cold winter wind.
What they need
Location: full sun and light shade. P. jasminoides also flourishes in large containers placed where the plant can find support, such as alongside the pillars of a pergola.
Soil: compost-enriched, loamy soil gives the best results.
Water: young plants need regular watering until they become established. Mature plants need less water and can survive periods of drought.
Fertilizing: apply potassium-rich fertilizer regularly during the summer months to ensure an abundance of flowers.
Pruning: Trim lightly after flowering to keep the plant neat and to prevent it from escaping to other plants or structures. Pruning out some of the lateral stems will stop it from becoming too heavy or dense.
In a nutshell
* Easy grower with a neat growth pattern.
* Produce an abundance of flowers over a long flowering season.
* Medium water requirements.
* Excellent in subtropical areas, adapts to most temperate climates.