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Lophospermum [Lo-fo-sper-mum] plants are an herbaceous scrambler or climber species from the Plantaginaceae family along with:
- Veronica plant (Speedwell)
- Angelonia plant
- Russelia (Firecracker plant)
- Hebe Plants
Traditionally these plants were a part of the Scrophulariaceae family and native to Guatemala and Mexico.
There is a close relationship between these plants with other genera, especially Rhodochiton and Maurandya, which leads to confusion over certain species’ names.
Lophospermum Scandens and Lophospermum Erubescens are cultivated as trailers or climber ornamental plants.
Numerous cultivators are often grown under the trade names like Lofos®.
Lophospermum Plants Care
Size & Growth
These perennial climbers have fibrous roots and have twining leaf stalks which help them climb.
They have long branched stems, which become woody with age, especially at the base.
In certain species, the stems emerge from a bulb-like, swollen structure at the base, called woody caudex.
The leaves of these plants are heart-shaped or triangular with toothed edges and pointed apex.
The leaves and stems often have a purplish shade.
These plants are self-cleaning and vigorous, and grow about 7’ feet high and spread about 18” – 24” inches wide.
Flowering and Fragrance
Lophospermum plants produce deep-throated flowers in purple, violet, and red shades.
Hummingbirds pollinate the large flowers.
Light & Temperature
The different species of this plant need a varying amount of shade or full sun.
Most of the plants prefer more than six hours of full sun, some prefer four to six hours of partial shade, and others need full shade for around four hours.
It is essential to provide the plant with the right amount of light it needs.
Supplemental lighting is beneficial during early spring for optimal bloom.
The ideal temperatures during the initial two weeks of growth for this plant are between 60° – 65° degrees Fahrenheit (15° – 18° C) until the roots start developing.
Afterward, the plant prefers the day temperatures around 65° – 75° degrees Fahrenheit (18° – 24° C) and night temperatures around 55° – 60° degrees Fahrenheit (13° – 15° C).
The USDA hardiness zones for this plant are 7 – 11.
Watering and Feeding
When Lophospermum plants are planted, it’s best to water lightly, as this aids in root development.
The plants must be kept slightly dry, but wilting needs to be avoided.
Afterward, watering must be done uniformly, and a balanced liquid fertilizer must be given.
The transition to higher potash feed is ideal once the buds start becoming visible.
Soil & Transplanting
Lophospermum prefers slightly sandy well-draining soil.
While these plants are not very fussy about the pH levels of the soil, 6 to 6.5 are ideal.
Utilize a perlite or pleat mixture, and ensure the soil is kept moist, but not soggy.
Grooming and Maintenance
These plants are self-cleaning, which means there is no need for deadheading.
In case the plant becomes too long, it’s best to wrap it with tendrils.
Avoid trimming and cutting the vines as new flowers emerge from them.
When planted in colder regions, these plants must be transferred indoors or must be maintained as annual.
It is best to save up its seeds to grow more of these plants next season.
How to Propagate Mexican Twist
The propagation of this plant is done through cuttings.
- Ensure the cuttings are immediately planted in pots.
- Pinch out the tip during its initial growth period to encourage breaks in the plants.
- Once a secure root system has been formed, these plants should be transferred in hanging baskets.
Lophospermum plants quickly grow and produce trailing shoots vigorously.
These must be pinched to allow the plant to bush out.
However, once the trails have adequately formed, avoid the pinching as this would prevent flower buds from forming.
The compost must be consistently moist and liquid feed given after every ten days.
Sow the seeds during the spring season, shallowly and thinly.
Ensure the temperature is between 60° – 70° degrees Fahrenheit (15° – 21° C) till the germination process starts.
Mexican Twist Pest or Diseases
While Lophospermum doesn’t face significant diseases or pests issues, it’s best to lookout for western flower thrips, snails, slugs, shore flies, red spider mites, leaf miners, whiteflies, fungus gnats, and aphids.
Make sure to water this plant at the base to prevent fungal issues.
Monitor for Pythium, Phytophthora, Rhizoctonia, Powdery Mildew, and Botrytis diseases, and spray a fungicide after planting for prevention.
Lophospermum Plants Uses
These plants attract hummingbirds and butterflies, which enhances the beauty of any garden.
They look great in pots and hanging baskets.