Thunbergia erecta "King's Mantle"
Uses: King's Mantle is most often used as a medium height, flowering bedding plant, but can also be used as an accent piece if allowed to grow naturally without trimming.
Characteristics: King's Mantle blooms a dark purple, trumpet shaped flower with a golden yellow center. The key feature of this plant is that it blooms throughout the body of the plant, not just on the tips of the branches, so even when sheared as a hedge, you will still see come color. Thumbergia is not the showiest flowering plant, but it's versatile. King's Mantle can be maintained as a bedding plant at heights ranging from 2' to 4', or as an accent piece. It grows in full sun or medium shade and has low water requirements.
Trimming: After established as a bedding plant, shear King's Mantle every other month, skipping the 'winter month.' The formal, hedged look will still be there, but the appearance of the plants will improve overall. When used as an accent piece, shear King's Mantle only once, in the spring. This should be a hard cut back down to an 18" 'rounded ball'. The plant will grow back very "spiky", but if done correctly, the result is a beautiful accent piece with flowers throughout.
Fertilizer: Fertilize in March, June and October with a well balanced, time released, granular fertilizer with minor elements.