How to Grow Cardinal Climber / Cypress Vine (Ipomoea x multifida)


cardinal flower plant blooming

By Jennifer Poindexter

Do you have a bare front porch, fence line, or trellis? If so, you should look into growing the cardinal climber.

This plant demands attention due to its beautiful green leaves and bright red flowers. If you’d like a vining plant to wake-up a dormant space around your home, you’re in the right place.

I’m going to walk you through the basic information you need to grow a cardinal climber. I’ll share the adequate growing conditions, planting tips, how to care for the plant, and even potential issues you should be aware of.

If you’re interested in learning more about this plant, then come along with me as I share what you should know about how to grow a cardinal climber.

Growing Conditions for the Cardinal Climber

The cardinal climber is named honestly. This plant stands out due to its wing-like foliage and bright red blooms.

It’s generally grown near a trellis of some type as the plant is known for attaching to anything it can and growing vertically.

The bright red blooms are useful when drawing pollinators. However, this plant is also considered toxic to dogs, cats, and horses.

Therefore, you should be mindful of the placement of a cardinal climber. Also, you should expect to see it bloom throughout summer and fall.

Now that you know a little about the cardinal climber, let’s talk about the plant’s ideal growing conditions.

Cardinal climbers are annual plants that are related to the morning glory. They’re only hardy in planting zones ten through twelve.

Therefore, in most cases, these plants will only grow for a single year. You may grow the plants in the ground as a climbing plant, in a hanging basket as a trailing plant, or even in a container.

Expect the cardinal climber to grow between six to fifteen feet long and be between two and nine inches wide.

Wherever you grow them, ensure the area has full to partial sunlight and well-draining soil. As you can tell, the cardinal climber is a low-fuss plant that produces vast amounts of beauty.

Find a growing location which meets the needs of your cardinal climber and add this unique and vibrant plant to your surroundings.

cardinal flower seed pod

How to Plant the Cardinal Climber

After you’ve selected the right growing location for your cardinal climber, it’s time to discuss how to plant it.

The most common form of propagation is from seed. Should you choose to sow the seeds directly, prepare the soil for the growing location by tilling the dirt between six and twelve inches in depth.

From there, plant the seeds ¼ inch deep when all threat of frost is over. Place one foot of space between each seed.

Keep the soil evenly damp until the seeds sprout. If you need to thin them to where there’s one foot of space between each plant, do this as the seedlings begin to emerge.

cardinal flower seed

It’s best to sow the seeds directly into their planting location as they don’t like having their roots disturbed.

The other method for planting cardinal climbers is to start the plants indoors from seeds. This is a good growing method if you live somewhere with a short growing season and don’t have the time to wait for the seeds to germinate outdoors.

Begin the growing process four to six weeks prior to the final frost date. Soak the seeds overnight before sowing them.

Then fill a growing tray with well-draining, nutritious soil. Plant the seeds ¼ inch deep in the soil and mist it with water.

Wrap the growing tray in plastic wrap to create a greenhouse effect, and place the seeds in a warm location with bright, indirect light.

It should take approximately ten days for the seeds to germinate. When the seeds sprout, unwrap the tray and continue to supply adequate moisture, heat, and lighting.

When the roots are strong enough, and frost is over, harden the seedlings off and transplant them in their permanent growing location.

These are the two methods most recommended when growing a cardinal climber. Select the method which works best for you and begin growing this flowering annual as the weather permits in your area.

Caring for the Cardinal Climber

As with most annuals, there’s very little care required for cardinal climbers. These flowers shouldn’t need to be fertilized unless the soil they’re planted in is very poor.

However, they will need water. It’s important to water these flowers deeply as this will provide necessary moisture while also encouraging a stronger root system.

To practice the deep watering method, add water to the plant for a longer period of time, fewer days of the week.

Not only does this reduce the amount of time you spend watering throughout the week, it also saturates the roots at the time of watering while supplying moisture to the ground around the plant.

As the days progress, the plant should dig into the ground to retrieve more water. In doing so, this creates a deeper root system which makes it stronger as well.

Cardinal climbers may need to be watered more frequently if grown in a container of any kind as there’s less soil to retain moisture.

Therefore, ensure you’re checking the soil surrounding the plants regularly to know when more water is needed.

You may test the soil by inserting your finger into the dirt surrounding the plant. When it’s dry to your first knuckle, it’s time to water the plant again.

This is probably the biggest part of caring for cardinal climbers as they don’t tolerate drought well.

If you grow cardinal climbers in the ground, be sure to keep weeds down. You may do this by hand picking the weeds or by applying mulch around the base of established plants.

Mulch not only serves as a weed barrier but may also help the plants with retaining moisture.

You may also prune your cardinal climber. It’s important to remove any unruly, diseased, or damaged parts of the plant.

It’s wise to also thin the plant out as needed to encourage better airflow as it continues to grow.

Deadheading and pinching the ends of the foliage is helpful as well to encourage greater blooming and a girthier plant.

Take all of these points into consideration when providing adequate care to your cardinal climber plants. In doing so, you’re giving these plants every reason to produce vibrant blooms and add tremendous beauty to their growing location.

Garden Pests and Diseases Which Could Impact the Cardinal Climber

When it comes to growing cardinal climber plants, there isn’t much they require protection from. It’s uncommon for this plant to be threatened by any type of disease.

They do have a few pests which commonly impact them. Whiteflies frequently draw to cardinal climbers.

These pests can be treated with insecticides or by spraying the plant with soapy water. This should dislodge the pests and their homes from your plants.

Rabbits and deer enjoy munching on cardinal climbers. You may protect your plants by utilizing fences around them or by sprinkling granular deterrents around the plants.

The only other issue you should be aware of when growing cardinal climbers is they self-seed easily. This can cause them to take over areas unintentionally.

Therefore, use your judgment on the best growing method for these flowers. There’s less chance of them becoming invasive when they’re grown securely in a container rather than in the ground.

When growing a cardinal climber it’s vital to understand the potential threats that could harm it.
Plus, you must understand the risk of the plant becoming invasive.

Understanding potential hurdles should allow you to remain alert to any problems and hopefully avoid major set-backs throughout the growing process.

You now have quite a few tips to help you grow the cardinal climber plant. These are gorgeous flowering vines that add bright colors to many areas.

Though these flowers are low-maintenance, they do have a few threats around the garden, and they can become invasive due to their self-seeding abilities.

Consider the pros and cons prior to planting this flower along with the best growing methods. This should allow you to enjoy the beauty of the cardinal climber while minimizing the plant’s set-backs. 

Learn More About Cardinal Climbers

https://hort.extension.wisc.edu/articles/cardinal-climber-ipomoea-sloteri/

https://plants.ces.ncsu.edu/plants/ipomoea-x-multifida/

https://extension.illinois.edu/annuals-site/cardinal-climber

cardinal climber seed pod with text overlay how to plant and care for cardinal climber

The post How to Grow Cardinal Climber / Cypress Vine (Ipomoea x multifida) appeared first on Gardening Channel.

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