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Thu04172014

Last updateSat, 11 Jan 2014 11am

Potted Desert Garden

Ever since my trusted nurseryman introduced it to me years ago, the Tangerine Beauty Crossvine has been one of my absolute favorites. It can be planted in the ground and is an aggressive grower that can cover a structure in a year or two.

Planted in pots, the Crossvine is a little slower-growing—but it will take off in its second year. Therefore, you will want to use a large pot with plenty of root room: 24-inch pots or larger are best. Provide something for it to climb on—a trellis, arbor or archway. If there is no trellis on the archway, I have successfully used fishing line connected to small eyehooks screwed into the structure.

Attractive to bees, butterflies and birds, the heavy blooms of the Crossvine are its main fascination. The vines become saturated with clusters of 2-inch, trumpet-shaped flowers—in various shades of orange, brick and red. It seems like they live to bloom!

Leaves on the vine are usually 4 to 6 inches long and 2 inches wide, and glossy dark green in summer. They will have a ruddy red color when temperatures approach 32 degrees. In areas like the Coachella Valley with mild winters, the vine is evergreen, but flower production will fall off.

The Crossvine does best in full sun, but will grow in partial shade, although with fewer flowers. After the plant is established, some say it could be considered to be drought-resistant—but in our desert heat, do not let it dry out between waterings. Prune after flowering as needed. After blooming, dark-brown, woody seed pods will form.

Marylee Pangman is the founder and former owner of The Contained Gardener in Tucson, Ariz. She has become known as the Desert’s Potted Garden Expert. Marylee is available for digital consultations, and you can email her with comments and questions at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ; and follow the Potted Desert on Facebook.

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