Cardinal Creeper

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This vigorous and attractive flowering vine is native to the West Indies.

Plant details:

Common name: Cardinal creeper
Botanic name: Ipomoea horsfalliae

The genus name, Ipomoea, is from the Greek, meaning ‘worm like’. It is interesting that both parts of the scientific name of this plant contain diphthongs, that is the vowel sounds are run together: oe in Ipomoea, and ae in horsfalliæ.


An evergreen, twining climber, with vigorous woody stems and deep green, glossy foliage. It grows up to 3m (10′), and bears clusters of long, tubular, crimson or plum coloured flowers from summer through to winter.

Good points:
  • beautiful plum coloured tubular flowers
  • attractive, ball-shaped buds
  • dark green, glossy foliage
  • flowers for many months of the year
  • fast growing climbing plants
  • can form a tuber with age (this becomes a problem if you try to dig the plant out, as it will sucker from the tuber)
  • difficult to find, as it is hard to propagate

Although not as vigorous as many of the closely related morning glory plants, (Convolvulaceae, or morning glory family), cardinal creeper needs a strong structure to grow on and regular pruning to train the plant and keep it under control. It prefers a rich, well-drained soil and a position in full sun.
Getting started:

Cardinal creeper is only available in Queensland. Expect to pay $15 for plants in 140mm (6″) pots, and $25 for 200mm (8″) pots.