How to care for your pink bignonia or Pandora bush

Pink bignonia or Pandora shrub (Podranea ricasoliana) care
Pink bignonia or Pandora shrub (Podranea ricasoliana)

Do you want to enjoy the pink bignonia from your windowsill? This bignonia ( Podranea ricasoliana ) is a very ornamental vine. Its abundant and beautiful flowering, at the end of the summer, will delight everyone who has the opportunity to contemplate it.

Do you want to own it exclusively? Well let’s go … This plant is undemanding and very grateful: a mild climate (no strong frosts in winter) and sufficient light is basically what you need.

How is the pink bignonia?

Without a doubt, the pink bignonia is a vine to take into account. With its agile growth (it can reach more than 5m in height ) it will dress any wall in a reasonable period of time, always on the condition that you help it with some support – it thinks that it lacks tendrils or adventitious roots with which to climb.

This vine belongs – of course – to the bignonaceae family , like its relative, the red bignonia. In fact both are very similar both in appearance and requirements. However, curiosities of life have a different origin: the pink bignonia or Pandora bush, comes from South Africa and not from the American continent.

The trunk of the bignonia is short, very woody and twisted, giving the bush an aged appearance over time. Its leaves are deciduous, compound and arranged in an odd-pinned way. They are made up of between seven and eleven lanceolate or ovate leaflets, which always end in a terminal one.

These are the flowers of the pink bignonia (Podranea ricasoliana)

The flowers of the pink bignonia are the reason why I am writing this article today, you simply have to see them. A chorus of trumpets will appear at the end of summer and also in autumn, splashing the green tangle with color. When they open they will surely captivate you with their flared appearance and the contrast of their violet markings on the pink petals.

Uses of pink bignonia

Pink bignonia is definitely an outdoor plant and, while it will do well in semi-shade, it will flower more if you place it in the sun . Cultivate it if possible in soil, it will grow with more energy, although choosing a large planter will not have major problems either. You just have to guide it through your fence, wall or lattice as it progresses.

The Pandora bush, regardless of its place of origin, will feel comfortable in the entire Mediterranean fringe and consequently in any other place with similar conditions. Withstands the sea breeze to some extent, so it is not uncommon to see it in coastal towns. Its limit towards the interior will be the low temperatures, being able to hold up to about four degrees below zero.

Cultivation and care

So far we have seen that pink bignonia likes the sun and mild temperatures , so it will be good to place it facing south -or at least where it has enough light- and if possible in a place protected from the wind. Although when the radiation is excessive you can place it in half shade.

Pink bignonia (Podranea ricasoliana)

A good practice, come winter, is to mulch the soil (at the base of the trunk) using dry plant material -for example pruning remains-, in this way you will protect the roots from frost.

The pink bignonia has no manias when it comes to soil ; The universal substrate used for most plants will suffice. However, ensure that the land has sufficient drainage. Avoid clay textures and, if it is going to be stored in a pot, check that the evacuation of water through the holes is fluid.

The watering in summer should be abundant, but without flooding the land or could suffocate their roots -of help Hence the importance of a adequate- substrate. With the drop in temperatures, the frequency decreases, until just watering during the winter.

Despite not having great nutrient requirements, organic fertilizers will be interesting for this plant. Add worm humus in spring, you will improve the physical conditions of the substrate and add minerals. It will thank you by increasing its flowering.

When to prune it?

The great vigor of this climber will force you to keep it under control. Not only will you have to guide her by cutting and tying here and there to prevent her vines from hanging anarchically, but it will be advisable to prune more from time to time .

The best time for these more severe prunings – perhaps every two or three years, depending on the size of your garden – will be in late winter (before its branches begin to sprout). Lower it in height without fear as far as you consider. When summer arrives, you will have recovered the lost ground.

Plagues and diseases

Pink bignonia tends to masterly avoid pests , although with the arrival of summer and if the weather is too dry, some red spider mites may appear . You will have to be more careful with certain diseases. If you tend to puddle the substrate , fungi will appear – be careful when watering! -.

Now that you know both the pink bignonia and its red-flowered relative, you can decide which one you prefer for your garden. This time I’m not going to get wet, I like them the same, what am I going to do! Honestly, I would not know which one to take sides.

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