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Gardening in the Rainy Zone.
Canary Creeper Gone Wild
by Debbie Teashon
Ideas are one thing; reality can be another. I thought planting a Canary Creeper (Tropaeolum peregrinum) into a hanging basket was a good idea. Fill it with one canary creeper vine, two Fuchsias (F. ‘Swingtime’ and F. ‘Gartenmeister Bonstedt’), one Impatiens ('Sonic Series Burgundy'), two Begonias (B. 'Picotee' and B. 'Scarle't), and a licorice plant (Helichrysum petiolare ‘Lemon Licorice’), and it will be lovely. The vine’s deep lobed leaves would be interesting and the small canary-yellow flowers would be an excellent contrast next to the bright, blousy begonia blooms. One vine would be adequate, and being contained it should behave itself.
Similar to trying out one of those Pinterest DIY ideas you find on the Internet, it was a recipe for disaster canary creeper here, canary creeper there, everywhere a canary creeper! Up on the beam where the basket hung, it climbed until it was blowing in the wind high above the ground. Meanwhile, down at the basket, it was swamping all the other plants. That little vigorous seedling became like a two-year old toddler screaming for attention, "I’m here, I’m there, look at me!"
I’ve grown this vine in containers before where it vigorously climbed all over a chair, so you would think I would know how it behaved. However, I threw my experience out the greenhouse window as I planted up the hanging basket of my vision. Maybe I can salvage this with some artful pruning. When it’s perfected, I can post a photo of it here as monument to my creativity, taking down the evidence of my imperfections. Nah, I want to see this basket play itself out, redirect some of those wanton stems to expose the other plants. Who knows, maybe it will still become a masterpiece.
My conclusion to this experiment is this: Next time, the canary creeper can grow all by itself. This is not a plant for a tidy look. Plant two in a hanging basket, stand back, and watch it cover its world with a wonderful, loose array of stems holding striking, deep-lobed leaves and tiny, bird-like flowers.
Let me know your thoughts about this hanging basket in the comments below!