Throughout the year, Cuernavaca is an explosion of colorful flora. We love nothing more than to plant and nurture our choices and let them spill over the walls to be enjoyed by others.
In the Sierra Alta region, begonias, bougainvillea, carnations, daisies, jacarandas, jasmine, lilies, marigolds, poinsettias (the official flower of Cuernavaca), tulips, and violets. Wherever you go, you will be delighted with the fresh, delightful fragrance of flowering plants and trees.
While the front wall of my home here in Cuernavaca is covered with bougainvillea, I have always been jealous of my neighbor on the other side of the street. While her wall is also covered with flowering plants, it has more Llamaradas than bougainvillea. Note the magenta bougainvillea petal peeking around the llamarada flowers in the photo above. This morning as we both carried our garbage out for pickup, I couldn’t help but smile at the beautiful wall. We had a conversation about the name of the flowering plant. She was not sure of the name and only planted it because she thought it was beautiful. I agreed, and she pointed out a similar flowering plant inside her garden that was a distinctive shade of red. I snapped a few photos on my phone and headed to my computer for research. There I found out that the vines on the front of the property were Llamaradas Sudamericana (Pyrostegia Venusta) and the vines inside were Madreselva del Cabo.
As it turns out, the Llamaradas are often confused with Madreselva del Cabo (Tecomaria Capensis), see photos to the right, which is a similar plant in Mexico that is normally redder, and there is a yellow version as well.
I learned that the Llamaradas are members of the flowering vines of the Campsis Radicans family. Llamaradas originated in Brazil and slowly made their way north. Today, they can be found scattered lightly over Southern Mexico, extending to the high desert of San Louis Potisi. While most are a brilliant orange color there are also yellow flowers more rarely. Llamaradas are referred to in English as the Brazilian Flame Creeper, Vine, or Orange Trumpet, and can be found in throughout Florida and can do well in milder climates of the USA when grown in greenhouses.
They grow quickly and cover well. As an adult plant, they are hearty and require only pruning to keep them from overpowering the garden as they will not only climb walls but trees as well and as they are drought resistant, do not require extensive watering.
While bougainvillea is among the most popular, you will often see it mixed with a smattering of Llamaradas Sudamericana (Pyrostegia Venusta) or South American Flare or Trumpet Vine in various shades of orange and yellow. It is also referred to in English as the Brazilian Flame Creeper, Flame Vine, or Orange Trumpet. Trumpet vines are a member of the Campsis Radicans family.
Llamaradas are a vigorous plant that produces lush vines and masses of showy, brilliant orange trumpet-shaped blooms from midsummer to the first cool spell. If you have access to a healthy plant, you can easily start a new Llamarada vine from cuttings.
Propagating Llamaradas cuttings can be done any time of year, as the vines root readily. However, starting Llamaradas cuttings tends to be most effective in spring when stems are tender and flexible. Prepare a planting container ahead of time. A small pot is fine for one or two cuttings, or use a larger container or a planting tray if you plan to start several cuttings. Be sure the container has at least one drainage hole. Fill the container with clean, coarse sand. Water well, then set the pot aside to drain until the sand is evenly moist but not dripping wet. Cut a 4- to 6-inch stem with several sets of leaves. Make the cutting at an angle, using a sterile knife or razor blade.
Remove the lower leaves, with one or two sets of leaves remaining intact at the top of the cutting. Dip the bottom of the stem in rooting hormone, then plant the stem in the moist sand. Place the container in bright but indirect light and normal room temperatures. Water as needed to keep the potting mix consistently moist, but never soggy. After about a month, tug gently on the cutting to check for roots. If the cutting has rooted, you’ll feel a slight resistance to your tug. If the cutting offers no resistance, wait another month or so, and then try again. When the cutting has successfully rooted, you can transplant it to its permanent spot in the garden. If the weather is chilly or you aren’t ready to plant your trumpet vine, transplant the vine to a 6-inch pot filled with regular commercial potting soil and allow it to mature until you’re ready to plant it outdoors.
Tough and beautiful, Llamaradas rise to 13 feet (4 meters), scaling trellises or course walls using their aerial roots. The plant produces 3-inch (7.5 cm.) long, bright orange flowers in the shape of trumpets. Pruning Llamaradas is critical to establish a strong framework for the plant.
It takes two or three years for Llamaradas to develop a strong framework of branches. To accomplish this, you’ll want to start pruning Llamaradas the year after you plant them. Since Llamaradas blooms in midsummer on current year’s growth, severe fall pruning won’t limit the vine’s flowers the next summer. In fact, pruning Llamaradas properly encourages the plants to produce more flowers every summer. The plant is prolific and sends up multiple basal shoots. It’s a gardener’s job to reduce that number to begin building a long-term framework for the flowering shoots. This process requires cutting trumpet vine plants back in the fall. The following spring, it’s time to select the best and the strongest vine shoots and prune back the rest. This pruning procedure is appropriate for newly planted Llamaradas and also for mature vines that need renovation.
When to Prune Trumpet Vines
Your first job is to harden your heart to cutting Llamaradas plants in autumn. When you are cutting Llamaradas back, you can prune them off at ground level or leave up to 8 inches (20 cm.) of vine. This type of pruning encourages vigorous basal shoot development in spring. When new growth begins, you select several of the strongest shoots and train them to the supporting trellis. The rest must be cut to the ground. Once a framework of several strong shoots extends over the trellis or allotted space – a process that may take several growing seasons – pruning becomes an annual affair. In spring, after danger of cooler weather is past, you should prune off all lateral shoots to within three buds of the framework vines.