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Vines and Creepers


Swiss Cheese Plant leaf of older plant

Latin: Monstera deliciosa
Family: Araceae
English: Swiss Cheese Plant, Swiss Cheese Vine, Split-leaf Philodendron
Indonesian: Daun Jendela Besar

Since long this plant has been one of my favorites. Already as a child I was fascinated by its large dark green leaves with holes. Young plants have simple heart-shaped leaves, but the larger the plant grows the more cut and perforated its leaves become. Though Monstera deliciosa often is grown in pots with light soil, it actually is an epiphytic climber. It likes a shady humid environment. With good support it will reach great height.
The plant in the picture has grown already a long time ago out of its pot and is about 3 meters high, what is still very moderate. The size of the leaf is about 1 meter by 75 cm. A part of its aerial roots stick to the wall behind it, others spread up to several meters across the terrace around. Some of the roots enter the soil in the garden bed next to the terrace. The plant can grow up to 10 meters high and probably more, but for this my garden lacks a shady place with support.

Older plants will produce creamy-white flowers with a pleasant fragrance. The flowers will turn into long green fleshy fruits that are edible and taste like a cross of pineapple and banana.




Latin: Clerodendrum thomsoniae
Family: Verbenaceae
English: Bleading Heart Vine
Indonesian: Nona Makan Sirih

The Bleading Heart Vine has dark green ovate leaves and has sprays of flowers with large white calyces and bright red petals. It thrives well in shade and will need trellis or a shrub as support, as it does not develop tendrils or sticky roots.

During the dry season the Bleeding Hear Vine in my garden is not that conspicuous as many of its leaves die and there are no flowers. As soon as the rainy season starts it develops new branches and leaves and starts flowering again. It climbs up a trellised fence, but has regularly been helped by twining its branches in order to keep it in shape.


Mansoa alliacea - flower buds

Mansoa alliacea - full bloom

Latin: Mansoa alliacea (Pseudocalymma alliaceum)
Family: Bignoniaceae
English: Garlic Vine

As all parts of this beautiful climber smell like garlic, it is clear where its English name came from. Usually you will only notice the odor when you crush its leaves or prune its branches. When the plant is in full bloom though, the smell will be strong, especially after the flowers become wet with rain. If you are not a favorite of garlic you better do not plant this vine near a door or window that is often opened. If you like garlic you could use the leaves as a food flavor like is a practice in the Amazon rainforest.

The vines of the Garlic Vine attach itself with strong twining tendrils. The leaves are bright green and up to 15 cm long. The flowers are first beautiful deep lavender and have a white throat. Later the flowers fade to a pale lavender and finally become almost white. All three flower colors can be found on the plant simultaneously.

In my garden this vine grows vigorously and has to be pruned regularly. After it climbed a 3 meter high wall I thought it had done a really good job. But later it spread on top to the wall and found the water tower as a support. Finally it reached a length of 12 meters and still would go on if there would be a higher support.

Abundant bloom finds place two or more times during the rainy season. In other months incidental clusters of flowers appear. The flowers are regularly visited by sunbirds looking for nectar.



Latin: Thunbergia grandiflora
Family: Acanthaceae
English: Trumpet Vine, Sky Vine, Bengal Trumpet
Indonesian: Bunga Madia

This member of the Acanthaceae family is popular because of its large flowers that depending on variety vary from white or light blue to mauve. These grow in clusters on drooping branches of the vine and have a diameter of about 7 cm. The individual flowers usually do not last longer than a single day, but every day other flowers in the clusters will open. Thunbergia grandiflora has heart-shaped leaves with a rough surface. It is suitable for growing on top of a fence or along trellis or wire. It likes a sunny or partially shaded place.

In some areas in the tropics this plant seems to be inclined to become a weed, because of easily growing root pieces. I do not know of any cases in Indonesia.

First it was hard for me to understand the supposed vigorous growth of this plant, as it started slow. But now it is well established I witness it myself and even think the plant might have been the inspiration for the violently growing vine in the movie "Jumanji". With regular intervals new shoots appear from the ground around the mother plant and if not pulled out, these gain within a couple of weeks a length of several meters. The older the plant becomes, the further away the new shoots appear.


Pothos climbing 3 meter high wall

Latin: Epipremnum pinnatum 'Aureum'
Family: Araceae
English: Pothos, Variegated Philodendron
Indonesian: Sirih Gading

Pothos is a plant that is easily propagated  by cuttings and is as well easily cultivated. Probably most people living outside the tropics know it as a pot plant. In the tropics it is often used as ground cover under trees and shrubs, because it grows well in the shade. Once the plant finds a tree or wall for support it will climb and develop leaves that are more than ten times bigger than the initial plant.

Pothos has yellow and white marbled heart-shaped leaves. Coloring will vary with amount of light and age of the leaves. Though Pothos likes shade it can stand full sun for a part of the day. At change of seasons its leaves may burn and wither, but soon new leaves will develop.

The plant in the picture grows against a wall and has leaves of about 40 cm in length. Its has developed small roots that stick to the plaster. The plant has to be pruned regularly to avoid overgrowing of the plants around it.


Trees - Palms - Foliage Plants - Ground Covers - Flowering Shrubs
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