AN evergreen tender and a twining perennial climber, the Jacquemontia violacea is widely grown in Asia and tropical America. It belongs to the Convolvulaceae family and the genus is named in honour of Victor Jacque Mont, a French naturalist.
It is a handsome creeper with a slender stem, fresh leaves and flowers, which ensures an almost endless dense trail on compound walls. It is therefore suitable for trellises or arbors or for growing in pots or tubs with a balloon framework. It grows to a height of five to six feet and is an eye-catcher in the garden.
Its leaves are small, thin, slightly hairy, alternate, cordate and two to four centimetres long. The flowers are violet blue or bright blue, funnel or bell shaped and are five to 12 in number, produced on loose cymose clusters having small, five angled corolla 1.5 cm across.
The blooms are borne abundantly in all seasons and attract insects and small birds. It is one of the best tropical climbers but needs a temperature of 15°C and above and bright sunlight for profuse flowering. This ensures that it forms a neat screen in the sun and semi-shade.
Well-drained fertile soil and an average water requirement ensures the production of more flowers. It is propagated through cuttings and layerings. The plant needs a thorough cleaning of dry shoots during the rainy season. Application of organic manure will favour a healthy appearance and production of new flushes and flowers. Neem cake application in the basin or soaking neem cake in water and applying it as foliar spray is advisable if pest and disease incidence are noticed.
Text and picture by
S. ELAIN APSHARA
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