How to Plant and Grow a Cardinal Climber

How to Plant and Grow a Cardinal Climber

The cardinal climber is a noteworthy plant for several reasons, starting with its history. This annual vine is the result of a red morning glory hybridization done by home gardener, Logan Slaughter, in Ohio (Ipomoea coccinia(and the cypress vine)I), two types of vines native to Central and South America. After years of trying, Mr. Slaughter finally succeeded in 1908. The fast-growing vine with ferny foliage and bright trumpet-shaped flowers was named after him. i.slaughter.

What is striking about this plant is that it reproduces plants identical to the original (hybrids usually do not do this). The flowers begin to appear in mid-summer and continue to open until the first frost, closing at night. They produce a lot of nectar, so planting a climbing cardinal plant is a great way to attract pollinators to your garden.

Like all morning glories, cardinal climber is toxic to humans and pets.

Overview of the Cardinal Climber

Genus name Ipomoea slaughterhouse
Common name Cardinal climber
Plant type Annual, Fine
a light sun
to rise 10 to 15 feet
an offer 1 to 2 feet
Flower color red
Season features Autumn bloom, summer bloom
Special features Attracts birds, good for containers, low maintenance
Spread seed

Where to grow cardinal climber

Plant this annual vine in full sun and well-drained soil with a near-neutral pH. The best place is at the base of an arbor or trellis in a foundation garden or near a yard where you can enjoy the antics of hummingbirds and butterflies. You can also grow it as a fast-growing seasonal ground cover to fill in bare spots left by spring bulbs.

The cardinal climber is a good choice for containers as well, but should be kept off the ground so it doesn't grow on top of other plants. This vine will cling to trees and shrubs, so make sure this is the look you have in mind when planting it next to these specimens.

How and when to plant a cardinal climber

Cardinal climbers don't like to be transplanted, so it's best to start them from seed. Ideally, seeds should be sown directly outside after all danger of frost has passed and the nighttime temperature remains consistently above 50 degrees Fahrenheit. If your growing season is very short, you can also start seeds indoors four to six weeks earlier than your average last season. Frost date.

Sow the seeds ¼ to ½ inch deep and 4 to 6 inches apart. Compact the soil and keep it evenly moist but not saturated. Once seedlings emerge, thin them out to 10 to 12 inches apart.

More instructions on starting a cardinal climber from seed can be found under How to Propagate a Cardinal Climber below.

Cardinal climber care tips

a light

The cardinal climber needs full sun to thrive, at least six to eight hours per day. It can grow in part sun, but there will be fewer blooms. Check how sunlight looks in your garden before you decide where to plant your cardinal climber.

Soil and water

The vine prefers moist, well-drained soil but adapts to a variety of soil conditions, from nutrient-poor sandy soils to rich loamy soils with a near-neutral pH between 6.0 and 7.2. It tolerates dry soil but grows best with regular deep watering, especially during prolonged dry periods.

Temperature and humidity

Cardinal climber is a heat- and frost-loving vine. With the arrival of warm summer days, it begins its growth spurt and blooms from mid-summer until the plant is killed by the first autumn frosts. It also tolerates moisture.


The vine does not usually need fertilizer unless it is planted in poor soil or grown in a container where nutrients are washed out of the soil. Apply a complete balanced fertilizer, diluted to half strength, about once a month during the summer. If the soil is too rich, you will get lots of vines but few flowers.


The cardinal climber is also low maintenance when it comes to pruning. Flowers don't need to be dead. You can prune vines to tame their vigorous growth.

Potting and replanting the cardinal climber

The size of the pot needed depends on how you want to let your cardinal climber grow. If you plan to trellis it, the container should be deep and large enough to hold the trellis, so take that as your guide. Choose a container made of a heavy material (glazed ceramic or clay) so it does not tip over under the sheer weight of the vine. If you don't want to trellis the plant, a 12-inch diameter container is sufficient.

Make sure the container has large drainage holes. To give the container more weight and stability, start with a layer of pebbles or small rocks at the bottom before filling with a well-draining potting mix. Keep in mind that container plants need more frequent watering and fertilizer than plants in the ground.

Because the cardinal climber is an annual, it will not require replanting during a single growing season.

Pests and problems

The cardinal climber doesn't have major pest or disease problems, but rabbits and deer love to eat it.

How to Propagate a Cardinal Climber

Cardinal climber is best propagated from seed. It is an enthusiastic self-seeder, so keep your eyes open for the small, round seed pods inside the papery brown caps in late fall. Store the pods inside a clean, dry jar in a cool place until you are ready to plant them.

Prepare seeds for germination by soaking them in warm water for 24 hours or scraping them with sandpaper; Both methods will thin the seed coat. Proceed as described above under How and When to Plant a Cardinal Climber.

Frequently asked questions

  • Does the Cardinal climber come back every year?

    No, the vine is grown annually. However, in warm climates, the cardinal climber perpetuates itself by reseeding so you can expect additional plants next year.

  • Does a cardinal climber need a trellis?

    It depends on how you want to grow. If it is intended as a ground cover, its sprawling growth habit is welcome, but if you don't want it covering other plants and clinging to anything within reach, erect a sturdy, well-anchored trellis at least 8 feet high at planting time.

  • Is the Cardinal Climber an invader?

    Cardinal climber can become a weed when it spreads, and can therefore behave like an invasive plant. This works well if you grow it as a ground cover, but can be a problem if you want to grow it as a climber.

You may also like...

Leave a Reply