I like to germinate Thunbergia seedlings in damp kitchen towel rather than seed trays. I appreciate it is not the conventional way to do things, but I do like to watch their progress and see them spring to life so quickly. Sowing in damp kitchen towel also reduces the mess when propagating indoors in winter.
I want to share these with you as the first seedlings of the year! They came up in about a week in a heated propagator in January. Not all the seeds germinate at the same time, and it takes a good two to three weeks for most to germinate. 60-80% germination seems to be a good rule of thumb, but not if you let them dry out or cool down too much, so keep a close eye on them. I will keep them going a bit longer to get as many of the seeds to germinate as possible.
Iíve now transplanted the seedlings into small pots in the greenhouse for growing on. They are not totally hardy, so Iíll grow them on for some time before hardening off and planting out into containers for selling in the local market and shop here in Veryan in Cornwall. These climbing plants from Southern Africa are a beauty and this is a new deep orange variety called ĎOrange Wonderí.
Thunbergia alata mostly flowers in orange, but sometimes also in white and yellow. If you like more colour, you can try Thunbergia 'Mixture'.
Remember to plant these out in a nice sunny position, in well drained soil with plenty of water. They grow well in containers. You need to provide support for the tendrils to climb through, such as a trellis or obelisk, and the plants climb up to about 2m in one season. Use several plants in a pot and at the base of a trellis. They will die down once frosted. Thunbergias are half hardy perennial plants, and they may survive winter in warmer UK gardens and re-appear from the ground in late spring. They are good reliable annuals for the rest of the UK, and very easy to grow.