Tag Archives: Tecomanthe

Plant Collector: Tecomanthe montana

Pink and cream hanging bells of Tecomanthe montana

Pink and cream hanging bells of Tecomanthe montana

Most visitors tend to think that the dainty pink and cream trumpets mean this climber is a lapageria (Chilean bell flower) but far from it. Tecomanthe montana is a tender climber from New Guinea. We tried it in the garden and it survived a couple of years before it succumbed to winter. This plant is grown under complete cover though it has its roots in the ground. It is by far the showiest tecomanthe when in flower.

Apparently there are only five species of tecomanthe. Our own native form, T. speciosa, was found as a single plant on the Three Kings Island and has been saved by commercial production. It has much bigger leaves and is a very strong grower. Unless you train it along a horizontal frame, it tends to shoot up the tallest tree where it will produce its pale lemon trumpets right on top where you can’t see them. We also grow T. venusta under complete cover but it is even more tropical than T. montana and only occasionally flowers for us. When it does, its pink trumpets appear out of the gnarly bare wood of the climbing stems. We gave up on the Queensland species, T. hillii because it mildewed badly with us. All of the tecomanthes are forest climbers from the tropics or sub tropics. Montana came to us from former Pukeiti director, Graham Smith, who gathered the seed in New Guinea. It is not the easiest plant to get established but if you can find the right conditions, it is a winner in spring.