By Delilah Onofrey, Suntory Flowers
Photographs courtesy of Suntory Flowers
One of the more unusual annuals you’ll find at an independent garden center or online plant retailer is Lofos lophospermum. Beautiful trumpet flowers cascade from elegant foliage that resembles grape leaves. Native to Mexico, lophospermum is also known as creeping gloxinia.
Go Long Or Go Short
The classic Lofos varieties in Wine Red and White will reach a length of seven feet, creating a stunning display. Plant these beauties in hanging baskets and window boxes, or even train one up a trellis or weave it through a fence. Lofos provides a gorgeous summer screen. Imagine setting plants on top of pillars or a pergola with the gorgeous flowers and foliage trailing down. I’ve seen them grown on metal mesh umbrellas in trial garden exhibitions.
Looking for a more manageable option? Lofos Compact varieties in Compact Rose and Compact White will reach a length of about two feet and produce more flowers on top of the plant. Flowers are smaller but in greater number. These varieties present nicely in hanging baskets and as spillers in combination container plantings. They can be trellised, too, in tomato cages, an interesting application I saw last summer for a more upright presentation.
Lofos Care Tips
Lofos plants are hardy in USDA Plant Hardiness zones 8-10. For best results, plant in full sun and provide plenty of water. Vigorous and self-cleaning; no deadheading is required. If the plant gets too long, just wrap the tendrils in on the plant. Do not trim the vines because that is where the new flowers will bloom. Lofos blooms from the top to the end of the vines. Depending on conditions, there will be times when it goes out of flower, but blooms will return as long as temperatures are warm.