Grow Cardinal Climber (Ipomoea sloteri) for Spring to Frost Color

  • jack Officer
  • May 30, 2023

Ipomoea sloteri

Cardinal climber, I. sloteri, is a young annual vine with purple, trumpet-like flowers within the Convolvulaceae household that’s simple to develop and supplies sprawling coloration from summer season to frost. It grows quick and is a favourite of butterflies and hummingbirds.

The red flowers of cardinal climber ( Ipomoea sloteri) in bloom.

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On this article, you’ll discover ways to domesticate this species at residence.

Cultivation and Historical past

Cardinal climber is a cultivated species that was by no means wild.

It’s an easygoing plant that likes full solar however will tolerate half shade. Poor to common soil with a virtually impartial pH, an inch of water every week, and good drainage are all that’s wanted for cultivation. Topping out at six to 12 ft, it likes to have room to roam.

I. sloteri originated in 1897 when a person named Logan Sloter crossed a purple morning glory, I. coccinea, with a cypress vine, I. quamoclit. He did this manually and took each precaution to guard the crops from contact with every other pollen.

A single red cardinal climber flower in bloom.

Eleven years later, one of many crops lastly produced a seed – only one! It was subsequently planted and produced over 500 extra, and a brand new species was born.

Famous botanist L.H. Bailey acknowledged the plant some years later in one in every of his scientific journals, Gentes Herbarum, Vol. 1. Fasc. 3, 1923. In it, he referred to a letter he had acquired from Sloter, stating that this was not only a “likelihood hybrid.” Bailey was actively cultivating the species himself at this level and printed a photograph of it.

Sloter’s makes an attempt to cross I. sloteri with every of its dad or mum crops had been unsuccessful.

Ipomoea sloteri or cardinal climber leaves. Close up.

The I. sloteri hybrid is exclusive as a result of it has 4 units of chromosomes, two from every dad or mum, qualifying it as an allotetraploid, whereas most flowering crops are diploids, with one set from every. The botanical implications are past the scope of this text.

You could discover cardinal climber listed botanically as Quamoclit sloteri, Ipomoea (Quamoclit) sloteri, and I. x multifida.

As well as, the cypress vine, I. quamoclit, one dad or mum of this hybrid, can also be referred to as cardinal climber.

The distinguished options of each of cardinal climber’s dad or mum crops are fairly seen within the hybrid. Its leaves are heart-shaped just like the morning glory, and feathery just like the cypress. Its flowers have the pentagonal perimeter of a morning glory with the smaller diameter and deep trumpet of the cypress.

Just like the cypress vine, I. sloteri’s blossoms are roughly one inch throughout, in contrast to these of morning glory, which common over two inches. Crops could attain a top of six to 12 ft tall when given room to unfold. Bear in mind that they could turn into invasive, as it is a self-sower.

It needs to be famous that there’s one other plant that goes by the frequent identify of cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis), so please don’t be confused by the 2.


To domesticate this plant in your property, you’ll want to start out with seed. It’s a self-sower, so in hotter areas, it’s possible you’ll discover that it not solely comes up once more subsequent yr, it could be so prolific that it turns into invasive.

Deadheading previous to seed formation is a strategy to sluggish self-propagation, however this vine produces many blossoms every day all through the rising season, and the duty is a frightening one.

A bonus of rising cardinal climber over cypress vine, is that you could interplant it with each cypress vine and morning glory, members of the identical household, with out encountering cross-pollination and potential adjustments to its traits.

How one can Develop

Rising cardinal climber is straightforward. You could start forward of the final frost, or simply after. Right here’s how:

  1. Begin seeds indoors 4 to 6 weeks earlier than the final frost date.
  2. Scarify seeds with a nail file and soak in a single day.
  3. Fill an egg carton with potting medium or use seed starter blocks.
  4. Place a number of seeds in every cell/block.
  5. Cowl the seeds flippantly with about 1/4-inch potting medium.
  6. Maintain the medium evenly moist, however not soggy.
  7. When seedlings have one set of true leaves, skinny them out and retain the strongest one in every cell/block.
  8. Put together your backyard by digging down about six inches, working the soil free, and eradicating all weeds.
  9. Transplant total cells/ blocks into the backyard or massive containers with a depth of at the very least 12 inches. Don’t deal with the seedlings, because the roots are particularly fragile.
  10. Depart an area of six to 12 inches between crops.
  11. Alternatively, it’s possible you’ll direct sow after the hazard of frost has handed.
  12. Preserve even moisture till crops are established, about an inch per week. Don’t fertilize.
  13. Present assist for rising vines comparable to an arbor, fence, or trellis.
  14. As soon as established, crops ought to require no intervention.
A cluster of red cardinal climber flowers againts a blue sky.

Rising Suggestions:

  • Preserve even, however not soggy moisture in the course of the germination, seedling, and transplant phases.
  • Transplant total seed starter cells or blocks to keep away from damaging fragile roots.
  • Permit ample room to roam.
  • Be ready for probably invasive progress, as this plant is a vigorous grower and self-sower.
  • Don’t apply fertilizer. Morning glory-type vines thrive on neglect, and infrequently fail to flower optimally in soil that’s too organically wealthy.

The place to Purchase

I. sloteri seeds are obtainable from Eden Brothers in 1-ounce, 1-pound, and 1/4-pound packages.

Red cardinal climber flowers.

Cardinal Climber Seeds through Eden Brothers

You’ll discover that the botanical identify listed within the product entry is “Ipomoea x multifida,” which as we talked about is a synonym for I. sloteri.

Regarding Cultivars

There are not any cultivars of I. sloteri. Each package deal of seeds that bears this botanical identify or one in every of its synonyms will produce the identical richly saturated purple, pentagonal blossoms and palm-like leaves of the unique hybrid seed.

Nonetheless, cypress vine, the opposite cardinal climber, has cultivars comparable to I. quamoclit ‘Alba’, which has a white blossom, in addition to pink and purple varieties.

Managing Pests and Illness

There are not any pest or insect issues particular to this species.

It is a dense, sturdy grower that leaves little room for weed progress. Due to this fact, competitors for water which will weaken crops, decreased airflow that raises humidity and invitations fungus, and the potential for insect infestation are usually not typically an issue.

As well as, oversaturation that additionally invitations fungus is unlikely with seeds sown in a location or container that drains properly.

Fast Reference Rising Chart

Plant Sort: Cultivated tender annual vine Flower Colour: Deep purple
Native to: Hybrid developed from dad or mum crops native to Central and South America Tolerance: Drought, deer
Hardiness (USDA Zone): Brief-lived tender perennial in Zones 8-10; annual in Zones 3-7 Soil Sort: Poor to common
Bloom Time: Summer season to frost Soil pH: Almost impartial, 6.1-7.8
Publicity: Full solar to half shade Soil Drainage: Properly-draining
Time to Maturity: 70 days Companion Planting: Morning glories, cypress vine
Spacing: 6-12 inches Makes use of: Flowering vines for arbors, trellises, and fences; hiding eyesores; floor cowl
Planting Depth: 1/4 inch (seeds) Attracts: Birds, butterflies, bees
Peak: 8-10 ft Household: Convolvulaceae
Water Wants: Minimal Subfamily: Ipomoeae
Upkeep: Minimal Genus: Ipomoea
Pests & Ailments: None Species: sloteri

NOTE: The seeds of this plant are extremely poisonous to people and pets, and its vines could also be invasive.

Finest Makes use of

Cardinal climber grows equally properly within the backyard and in containers with a depth of about twelve inches. It seeks assist because it matures, attaching itself to no matter is in its path. Direct fledgling vines up and onto a construction to create an ornamental, intertwined show.

Alternatively, permit vines to creep in a horizontal path so they could develop as a groundcover.


Seed savers shall be completely happy to know that I. sloteri produces true from seed.

You could harvest seed on the finish of the rising season by accumulating the brown pods earlier than they crack and disperse their contents.

Merely rub them between your thumb and index finger and accumulate the dropping seeds in a bowl. Take away all chaff and place the completely dry seeds an hermetic jar, envelope, or zippered plastic bag. Retailer in a cool, dry place.

A Vigorous Downside-Solver

Plan now to make cardinal flower a part of your outside residing area. Buy high quality seed and sow it in a location the place it might probably unfold with out restraint.

red Cardinal Climber, Ipomoea sloteri, in morning sun.

It’s additionally a fast-growing choice for areas of difficulty. Think about using it to:

  • Camouflage a rusty chain hyperlink fence.
  • Create a privateness display utilizing lattice or a trellis.
  • Beautify porch posts which have seen higher days.

With just a few seeds and just a little creativeness, cardinal flower is certain to earn its hold, including coloration and curiosity to your gardening scheme from summer season to frost.

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