Monday, July 12, 2010

Plant Find: Lotus maculatus

While in Seattle last month, we visited a nice nursery.  It's always neat to see what plants are found in different regions of the country.  The coolest and most different plant that I saw (by far) was the Lotus Vine (Lotus maculatus).

This plant is also called Parrot's Beak as a common name, which seems very appropriate.  Another person described the blooms as looking like lobster claws.  I'm not sure where the species name maculatus comes from.  The Latin root word means spotted or speckled and I don't see any features of this plant that match that description.

Lotus maculatus at Seattle nursery
The foliage looks a lot like a ground cover that we had growing in our corner garden for a while.  The name escapes me.  It was a frosty looking perennial creeper that came back one or two years, but not this year.

Unfortunately, this plant is listed as hardy in only zone 9b and greater.  If I have a good opportunity to buy one of these plants, I'd be glad to grow it in my greenhouse.  It would look very cool in a full hanging basket, as it kind of droops.

While it requires zone 9 hardiness, it has the strange requirement of cooler temperatures in order to bloom.  I found comments online saying that temperatures as low as 40F were necessary.  Others said temperatures in the range of 55-60F would incite blooming.

It seems that the coastal northwest climate is a pretty good fit for this plant during the summer, as it likes partial sun and lots of water.  But Seattle is zone 8, so I imagine that it is grown as an annual.  In Oklahoma I have a feeling that it would be wilting constantly and my only chance at seeing a bloom would be if I could keep it alive until the Fall and keep the temperature moderately cool in my greenhouse.

1 comment:

  1. Whoa! That is gorgeous! Hope you can find one.