Ipomoea lobata

Ipomoea lobata flowers

An attractive annual climber with distinctive short clusters of tubular flowers in summer. The red and yellow flowers are reminiscent of bunting, hence its common name of Spanish Flags.

Family: Convolvulaceae (Bindweed family)
Botanical Name: Ipomoea
Common Names: Spanish Flags

Foliage: Light-green tri-lobed leaves on thin, strong, twining stems.

Flowers: Racemes of small, tubular, dark red flowers that fade to orange and yellow in summer.

Flowering Period: June to September.

Soil: Moist but well-drained soil (chalk, sand or loam). Acid, alkaline or neutral pH.

Conditions: Best in full sun. Plant in a west or south facing aspect, in a sheltered location.

Habit: Climbing, twining.

Type: Tender perennial, usually grown as an annual in the UK.

Origin: Mexico

Hardiness: Tender in UK, protect from frost.

Toxicity: The seeds of this plant are toxic.

Planting and Growing Ipomoea lobata

Thrives in ordinary moist but well drained garden soil. Best grown at the base of warm, sunny wall or fence. The long wiry stems will quickly twist their way up wires, trellises, pergolas or other supports.

Spanish flags make interesting cut flowers that last well in water.

Taking Care of Ipomoea lobata

Shelter from cold winds. Do not over water. Feed occasionally with a weak liquid fertiliser.

Pruning Ipomoea

Pruning is not necessary. Deadhead to extend the flowering period.

Pull up and discard plants to the compost heap once flowering has finished.

Pests and Diseases

Aphids may affect young shoots. Greenhouse grown plants are prone to red-spider mite.

Propagating Ipomoea lobata

Sow seed from February to April in 5in (12cm) pots of free draining compost in a warm greenhouse or on the windowsill. Germination takes 7-21 days. Harden off before planting out in late spring to early summer. Soaking the seeds in warm water for 30 minutes before sowing helps to encourage germination.

Varieties of Ipomoea lobata

Ipomoea lobata is fast-growing annual climber with a profusion of colourful flowers in summer. It can reach a supported height of 12ft (4m) or more. For sale at Crocus.

For Ipomoea purpurea and Ipomoea tricolor see Convolvulus.