Coral Vine (Antigonon leptopus)
White Coral Vine
This native of Mexico is widely cultivated in Texas and the Gulf South for its striking, lacy pink, dark rose pink or white flowers. Like many of our popular heirloom plants, it has at least several common names, such as 'heavenly vine' and 'Rose of Montana'.
It is a vigorous vine, with heart-shaped leaves, that needs the support of a trellis, fence, or tree. The first hard freeze of autumn kills all the top growth, but established plants return readily the next year from sweet potato-like tubers that some sources describe as edible. It is generally root hardy in the southern half of our state, and can be easily grown in containers elsewhere.
Coral vines are easily grown, but must have good drainage and at least a partially sunny exposure. They are very drought tolerant, and really begin their landscape display after the first good rains of late summer and fall. A white form is sometimes available.
Propagation is by division or seeds. It is best to start the seeds early in the spring so that the vines will grow and develop tubers before frost.
A. Leptopus is an integral part of many southern gardens. At its best, it graces a garden like fine lace. The foliage is attractive and sufficiently dense to provide summer shade on trellises and arbors.
I planted one in combination with a vigorous old climbing rose, and it is a very successful combination, with the rose ('Trier Rambler') having a pale pink color and the coral vine much darker. The rose provides support for the coral vine, and the combination is striking.