Tunbergia erectus – flowering indoor shrub – Beautiful indoor plants

Luxurious tunbergia, which in Europe is called “black-eyed Suzanne” – one of the brightest annual garden vines. These tropical plants are so good at vertical landscaping that the possibility of growing different types of tunbergia in greenhouses and rooms is often forgotten. As well as the diversity of these plants, including not only the steeplejack. In temperate climates, growing indoors is the only way to preserve tunbergia as perennials. One plant became a room star, the most spectacular of the shrub species – Thunbergia erect. Large and elegant funnel-shaped flowers and whole leaves give it a special nobility.

Tunbergia erect is a flowering indoor shrub. Farmer Burea-Uinsurance.com Flora Toskana

Tunbergia erect – bushy relative of black-eyed

Among the species of tunbergia, the majority of highly decorative plants are vines. Curly, with flexible shoots up to 2 m long, they easily fill any support and amaze with the brightness of the foliage to the same extent as the abundance of flowers.

Shrub species are less common and are almost never used in horticultural culture. But on the other hand, in greenhouses and rooms, it is the shrub tunbergia that have proven themselves much better. While tunbergia winged and other climbing species suffer from a lack of lighting indoors, shrubs such as tunbergia erectus adapt well to living rooms.

Strictly speaking, erect tunbergia (Thunbergia erecta) can not be ranked as full-fledged shrubs. It produces thin, straight, uncontrollably stretching to more than a meter and drooping shoots, easily acquiring the shape of a half-liana (without formation).

But drooping branches should not be misleading. Tetrahedral, strong, sparsely branching, thin, but strikingly numerous branches of tunbergia create strong and lush bushes.

Plant height is usually limited to 60-70 cm, but in fact it all depends on pruning: indoor tunbergia erect can be both more compact and larger. When grown outdoors, this tunbergia can exceed 1,5 m.

These are fast-growing shrubs that can bloom in the second year when grown from seed and usually reach full decorative effect in the third or fourth year after sowing. The ability to thrive, necessitates pruning, but also allows the plant to recover quickly and cope well with damage.

The leaves of this tunbergia are typical of the entire genus. They sit in pairs, quite rarely, with large internodes, which creates the illusion of a much rarer and more graceful crown than that of garden vines and especially winged tunbergia. The maximum length of the leaves is 7 cm. They are triangular-ovate, with a wedge-shaped base, a strongly pointed tip and a jagged edge.

Unlike other tunbergia, the erect ones are not characterized by a soft edge, which gives the leaves a muted bluish color. The main dark green color with a cold shade is strongly softened by the dullness of the surface.

Thunbergia erectaThunbergia erecta. Farmer Burea-Uinsurance.com Flora Tuscany

How does erect tunbergia bloom?

Tunbergia erect blooms very profusely. On long pedicels, singly, not huge, but large flowers up to 5 cm in diameter bloom from the axils of the leaves. Funnel-shaped flowers with a fairly large and narrow tube and a wide open corolla resemble morning glory and gloxinia in shape. A light, almost white tube, large sepals emphasize the dark, purple-lilac color of the flat five-petalled corolla and make the yellow-orange spot in the fauces even brighter.

This is not the most fragrant plant, but in a closed room its light and very pleasant, unobtrusive smell is felt much better than outdoors.

Tunbergia erect, like all tunbergia, blooms in the garden only from mid-summer until the arrival of severe cold weather. But in room culture, she is one of the candidates for the role of a continuously blooming perennial. With the right choice of conditions and quality care, flowering can continue even during the cool winter. The start of flowering directly depends on what kind of lighting the plant is in. In the absence of additional lighting, erect tunbergia blooms from May to September.

The erect tunbergia has several decorative forms with other colors. White-flowered Alba – small-flowered variety with dark leaves. And here Caerulea – a very interesting shape with a lighter and brighter shade of lilac-purple color.

Tunbergia erecta alba (Thunbergia erecta alba)Tunbergia erecta white-flowered (Thunbergia erecta Alba). Farmer Burea-Uinsurance.com Shanti Dhama

Growing conditions for indoor tunbergia erect

For the successful cultivation of this species, it is enough to take care of a cool wintering and proper lighting. This is a typical flowering plant, not overly demanding and not the most capricious. In many ways, indoor tunbergia are similar to ordinary indoor shrubs and trees with a pronounced dormant period. Only fresh air is even more important for them.

Lighting and placement

Tunbergia erectus adapts very well to any bright spot. Unlike many horticultural crops, she is not afraid of direct sunlight and light shading (but still not worth experimenting with a strong shade). The brighter the lighting, the more abundantly this plant blooms and the thicker its foliage.

The best place for erect tunbergia is considered to be eastern and western, as well as partially southern window sills. She feels great in office premises, halls, lobbies, conservatories – where there are no problems with lighting and low temperatures.

Good lighting of erect tunbergia will be required even during wintering. Despite moving into the coolness, the plant still requires normal lighting. Otherwise, the shrub will stretch out, shed its leaves and, most likely, die. If you rearrange the tunbergia in a more illuminated place for wintering or organize additional lighting, you can achieve a continuation of the flowering period.

When changing location, it is better to adapt tunbergia to changes in lighting gradually, without subjecting it to severe stress.

Temperature control and ventilation

Erect thunberg is very difficult to call heat-tolerant. This plant, when grown both in rooms and greenhouses, prefers moderate temperatures and rather cool content. During the period of active growth of this tunbergia, it is quite comfortable in ordinary room temperatures from 21 to 25 degrees Celsius. It is better to avoid sudden jumps in these indicators, especially during the flowering of the plant.

The dormant period for all tunbergia that are grown as perennials should be the same. A drop in temperatures below 12-15 degrees should not be allowed (erect tunbergia can withstand 10 degrees of heat, but only for a short time). The optimum air temperature throughout the winter is about 15-16 degrees.

If there is no opportunity to provide a cool wintering, it will be extremely difficult to preserve the tunbergia and it is better to use it as an annual plant, replacing it with new ones grown from cuttings.

During the summer, Tunbergia will prefer to be outdoors or in rooms with constantly ajar windows. It looks great in gardens and terraces, and can add to the collection of plants on the balcony. It is possible to take out erect tunbergia to fresh air as soon as the night temperatures exceed 15 degrees. At the same time, it is better to protect the erect tunbergia from drafts in the rooms.

Tunbergia will prefer to be outdoors during the summer.Tunbergia will prefer to be outdoors during the summer. Farmer Burea-Uinsurance.com slottstradgarden

Caring for erect tunbergia at home

This is not the easiest plant to care for, but you cannot call Tunbergia capricious. Standard watering and feeding, regular pruning, and removal of wilting flowers are just a few of the essential care items. To avoid problems with the plant, you just need to closely monitor it, noticing any deviations from the norm.

Watering and air humidity

For erect tunbergia, a standard watering strategy for all crops with a pronounced dormant period is fine. Throughout the entire phase of the active growing season, tunbergia are watered abundantly, preventing water from stagnating in the pallets and drying only the top layer of the soil. After the end of flowering, or, even if it continues, with the arrival of autumn and a decrease in the duration of daylight hours, watering is gradually reduced. And by the time of transfer to the cool, the plant is transferred to a light moisture content of the substrate.

But letting the substrate dry out completely throughout the year is not a good idea. Tunbergia erect during a drought partially sheds its leaves, although it recovers quite quickly, but significantly loses its decorative effect. The average frequency of watering for this plant is up to 4 times a week in summer and 1 time in 2 weeks in winter.

Tunbergia erect prefers medium humidity; in a very dry environment, its leaves suffer. But there is no need to raise the indicators by installing permanent humidifiers. Optimum humidity values โ€‹โ€‹are about 50-60%. Typically, a simple leaf spraying is sufficient for this crop. During flowering, these procedures must be carried out very carefully so that drops of water do not fall on the buds and blossoming flowers.

The leaves of this type of tunbergia can be wiped off dust with a damp sponge.

Top dressing and composition of fertilizers

Fertilizers are applied to the water for irrigating tunbergia only during the active growth phase and until the end of flowering. If flowering continues in autumn or winter, then the fertilizing is halved. In spring and summer, they are brought in once every 1 weeks.

Tunbergia erectus reacts equally well to both mineral and organic fertilizers. For this, plants use universal fertilizers with a balanced composition of elements. Indeed, with an insufficient amount of nitrogen, the plant will not release the mass of leaves that is so necessary for a lush crown.

But you should not use pure nitrogen fertilizers for it, preferring complex preparations. During the budding period, you can carry out several dressings with fertilizers with a high potassium content.

Pruning and shaping upright tunbergia

Most tunbergia lianas are pruned quite hard after flowering. Erect thunbergia can only be cut off easily, no more than a third of the length of the branches, and at completely different times. If you do not carry out regular annual pruning, in the third year the bushes lose their decorative effect and need to be replaced with new plants. Cardinal pruning on this tunbergia is not carried out and does not give results.

It is best to prune in the third decade of February or early March, before the plant begins to grow and transplant. The main task of pruning is to stimulate more abundant flowering on annual shoots.

As with any other plant, sanitary pruning is also mandatory for tunbergia – cutting out weak, damaged, unproductive and oldest branches.

The formation of a plant into more compact bushes should be started from the first year, so that you do not need to cut the branches too much to maintain their shape in the future. Neat strict figures cannot be created from this bush. Pinching the shoots stimulates the thickening of the plant.

Despite the status of the shrub, tunbergia is erect, especially if the plant is large and has not been restrained in growth, most often it needs support to maintain an erect shape. Installation of grids or circular supports is needed only for tunbergia, the height of which exceeds 60 cm.

As in the garden tunbergia, on the room erect tunbergia, you should regularly pinch the fading flowers, since the formation of seeds stops flowering.

As in garden tunbergia, on room erect tunbergia, you should regularly pinch the fading flowersAs in garden tunbergia, on room erect tunbergia, you should regularly pinch the fading flowers. Farmer Burea-Uinsurance.com Flora Toskana

Planting, containers and substrate

This plant does not require annual replanting. Only very young plants are transplanted annually in the first two years. For adult tunbergia, transshipment with a frequency of 1 time in 2-3 years is sufficient.

For tunbergia, medium-sized, standard containers with a height slightly exceeding the diameter are used. Drainage holes are required.

Thunberg erectus can be grown only in loose, permeable and nutritious soil. When choosing ready-made substrates, it is worth stopping at special soil mixtures for trees and shrubs or a universal substrate with a coarse texture. If the soil is mixed independently, then it is better to prefer a simple soil mixture of equal parts of humus, sand and sod soil. For this plant, only neutral or slightly acidic substrates are suitable.

If it is necessary to install supports for the plant, this is done before transferring it to a new container. High drainage is laid at the bottom of the tanks. The soil is not strongly compacted during transplantation.

Diseases, pests and growing problems

Moving into rooms, tunbergia does not lose its stamina. Even in closed greenhouses or living quarters, it is remarkably resistant to disease and pests. Only in the vicinity of already infected crops and a serious violation of conditions can it be affected by whitefly or spider mites.

Reproduction of erect tunbergia

Despite the fact that erect tunbergia can also be grown from seeds, another method is most often used – cuttings. The tops of the shoots remaining after the pre-spring pruning are shortened to cuttings of 8-10 cm, treated with rooting accelerators. They take root easily in water, sand and substrate.

For tunbergia it is not even necessary (although desirable) to create greenhouse conditions. After rooting, the plants are seated in several pieces in separate containers. They are able to bloom already this year.

Plant seeds can only be obtained by artificial pollination. They are sown in the spring, in an ordinary sandy-peat substrate, deepening by 3-5 mm. For germination, you need moderate heat (about 18-20 degrees) and bright lighting, covering with foil or glass with daily ventilation.

Seedlings dive or thin out at the stage of the second true leaf. Such tunbergia will bloom fully only in the second year, but the first flowers can be appreciated by autumn.

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Anna Evans

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