Native to tropical America and Mexico, the coral vine is a vigorous, quick-growing evergreen plant. This climbs to 25-50 feet or more. It has tendrils at the ends of the slender jointed stems. The stem is heavily clothed with hairy, papery, light green heart-shaped foliage. This is three to five inches in length. Arranged alternately, the light green foliage can have wavy edges.
Sprays of blooms open throughout the year. They are a real treat from winter through the spring. Up to 1 Ĺ inches long, these are bright pink to rose pink with a darker shade in the center. The cultivar ĎAlbum,í has white blooms. These open in long racemes from the leaf axils.
A member of the buckwheat family (Polygonaceae), this is a relative of the sea-grape and pigeon-plum, which are grown in sub-tropical regions. The fruits are in the form of three-angled, pointed achenes. It also produces edible tubers.
This species is known by a number of other common names, including pink vine, Mexican creeper, Confederate vine, coral creeper, Mexican vine, and Spanish vine.
Widely grown as an ornamental, this is best suited to zones 8 and southward where minimum temperatures tend to be no lower than ten degrees Fahrenheit. In warmer climates it will be evergreen. Elsewhere, including northern Florida, the plant may act as a perennial and be killed to the ground by cold weather. However, it quickly recovers once warm weather returns.
Originally used as an ornamental, this has escaped in parts of Florida and elsewhere, where it has become naturalized.
With the large leaves, this plant lends a coarse texture to the landscape.
Coral vine is propagated by seeds and cuttings.
So far as its cultural needs are concerned, coral vine needs full sun. Though it is drought tolerant, it has no resistance to salty conditions. Under most conditions, coral vine is unbothered by most pests other than caterpillars and chewing insects.
The plantís Latin genus Antigonon is from the Greek in reference to the jointed flower stalks.
For best results, it needs an arbor, trellis, pergola, porch, fence, or other support. Prune once a year to control its ultimate size.