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PlantFiles: King's Mantle
Thunbergia erecta

Family: Acanthaceae (ah-kanth-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Thunbergia (thun-BER-jee-uh) (Info)
Species: erecta (ee-RECK-tuh) (Info)

Synonym:Meyenia erecta

3 vendors have this plant for sale.

12 members have or want this plant for trade.

View this plant in a garden

Tropicals and Tender Perennials
Vines and Climbers

4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade
Light Shade

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Late Spring/Early Summer
Mid Summer
Late Summer/Early Fall
Blooms all year


Other details:
Flowers are fragrant

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From softwood cuttings
From seed; sow indoors before last frost
By simple layering

Seed Collecting:
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

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10 positives
No neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive lukeeladee On Jul 19, 2014, lukeeladee from Brooksville, FL wrote:

I got this shrub about 1990, it grew quite quickly once I planted it. Never having seen one, I was more or less on a hit or miss. When it lost all its leaves due to frost I assumed they were dead, cut the branches back to near the ground and it put forth all new. One year I was not so quick to cut them and was surprised to see the leaves coming back. I now cut just any stragglers. This past year was the first time I actually saw seedlings from the seeds--I am now potting them. One day it was very quiet and I heard this popping sound, it was the seeds exploding and sending their seeds flying. That explained why I had seedlings as much as ten feet away. My plant is about 5-6 feet tall and about as wide. One of the seedlings is now about 12 inches tall --and it has bloomed already.

Positive Debyrd On Jun 10, 2014, Debyrd from Fairhope, AL wrote:

I picked up this plant at a roadside plant stand about 8 yrs. ago. I put it into a semi shaded spot, popped an old enamel bucket with the bottom rusted out on top of it (mostly so I wouldn't dig it up next season when I couldn't remember what I had planted) and it has thrived. It even survived through the record breaking lows this winter. It was slow to come back but is blooming full and beautiful now. I heaped the bucket with mulch to keep it warm when the temps started to drop and I give it a dose of fertilizer every year or so. I even neglect it and forget to water it because it is a long haul for the hose and still, it lives! It doesn't do so well as a cut flower but it's a gorgeous, all summer splash of color for your garden. We live in Fairhope on the Eastern shore of the Mobile Bay in lower AL.

Positive KanapahaLEW On Aug 20, 2012, KanapahaLEW from Alachua, FL (Zone 8b) wrote:

T. erecta is deciduous in my humid z8b/9a gardens, coming back every year for 5 years, even after winters with temps as low as 18F deg. It hardly seems tropical, and reaches 5 to 6 feet in height by mid-August.

Positive Anjana On Apr 13, 2011, Anjana from Delhi
India wrote:

I am growing this plant in a pot in Bhiwadi, Rajasthan. In the shade. Has been blooming quite a lot for a month or so. The cream receptacle from which the flower emerges adds to its beauty. Got the plant from a nursery.

Positive BLBdixie On Jul 11, 2010, BLBdixie from Saint Petersburg, FL wrote:

My husband dug this bush up about 15 yrs ago from a demo job he was working on. We planted it in the back yard next to a shed & it is now about 12' tall & 5' wide & will bloom all year unless we have a very cold winter such as we had this year here in St. Petersburg, Fl. Then it will drop most of its leaves & wait for it to warm up before putting out new ones, than it can't wait to start blooming. The whole bush is now covered & I love the color of the blooms (ours is yellow & purple). We never knew what it was called until last week when we went to this great nursery that carries a lot of native & garden friendly plants - they had some.
If you can get your hands on one it is well worth planting.

Positive spotzim On Jul 11, 2006, spotzim from Palo Alto, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

I've had this plant growing in semi-shade under a redwood tree (sequoia) for years. It seems deciduous (not evergreen) and dies back in Feb or March. I trim the dead stalks, and the new green comes back happily. It has spread some since I planted the original (from a 1-gallon container) and now roots in an area 2- to 3-feet in diameter. It's not invasive, however, just increasing its foothold slowly after about 20 years. The bush itself spreads 4 to 5 feet, and it's almost 3 feet tall. It blooms with intense blue flowers most of the summer. I water with a drip line. Occasional sprinkler, too.

Positive HarryNJ On Aug 19, 2004, HarryNJ from Ocean Grove, NJ (Zone 7a) wrote:

The nursery I work for received a couple of these plants along with other assorted tropical climbers a few years ago. I'd never seen the plant before and conveniently there were a couple broken branches which I brought home a rooted in water. They seem to root very easily and quickly, and were potted up within a couple weeks. They began blooming the second summer, and although I can't say that the plant has ever bloomed heavily (there are usually just a couple flowers at a time) it does bloom reliably from mid summer through late fall. The flowers are always a surprise since it seems that the buds remain hidden in the foliage until the blooms pop out, and it seems that most of the bud set occurs near the base of the plant. The plant is now in a 12" pot, is about 40" high and for me grows as a sort of thin stemmed shrub with no inclination to climb at all.
It seems to remain pest free, even though I have been battling a pretty serious mealy bug and mite infestation on some other plants for the past year or so. The only down side to the plant is this: it grows profuse leafy growth from spring through mid-summer. At about the time of the first flowering many of the leaves develop yellow/brown tips and edges and fall off. I'm not sure if this is a natural thing or if I just haven't found the correct fertilizing/watering/lighting requirements for this plant. In any event the flowers are striking and the plant itself seems very tough, even if it does look a bit ratty at flowering time.

Positive boots1 On Jul 4, 2004, boots1 from Ruskin, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

I planted three of these beautiful plants to go over a trellis about a month ago. Some of the tendrils have already reached six feet. They are all healthy and insect free. I am anxious to see if they seed or not as I am trying to root some now.

Positive swerk On Jun 16, 2004, swerk from Los Alamitos, CA wrote:

This plant is one of my favorites in my garden. It is not always easy to come by in the nursery. In southern California it dies back completely into the ground in the fall and re-emerges in spring. The flowers are absolutely wonderful and it seems to bloom from early spring until late summer or fall. I
have them in partial shade/sun. I hope more people will give this lovely plant a try.

Positive butterflypea On Nov 13, 2002, butterflypea wrote:

Thunbergia erecta is one of my favorite flowers in my garden. I use it at the back of the border in many of my beds.I love the royal purple flower with the yellow throat. It can be grown as a bush with weeping branches or it can be trained like a vine. It sometimes produces seeds which will make volunteer seedlings; but that doesn't happen often. Here in Hawaii it blooms year round.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Fairhope, Alabama
Mobile, Alabama
Palo Alto, California
Stockton, California
Apopka, Florida
Bartow, Florida
Big Pine Key, Florida
Boca Raton, Florida
Boynton Beach, Florida
Brandon, Florida
Brooksville, Florida (2 reports)
Cape Coral, Florida
Deland, Florida
Delray Beach, Florida
Gainesville, Florida
Hobe Sound, Florida
Hollywood, Florida (2 reports)
Inverness, Florida
Jacksonville, Florida
Labelle, Florida
Merritt Island, Florida
Mulberry, Florida
Naples, Florida
New Smyrna Beach, Florida
Ocoee, Florida
Oldsmar, Florida
Palm City, Florida
Pompano Beach, Florida (2 reports)
Port Charlotte, Florida
Port Saint Lucie, Florida
Ruskin, Florida
Saint Augustine, Florida
Saint Petersburg, Florida
Sarasota, Florida
Tampa, Florida (2 reports)
Vero Beach, Florida (2 reports)
Wellborn, Florida
Winter Park, Florida
Winter Springs, Florida
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Saint Helena Island, South Carolina
Baytown, Texas
Floresville, Texas
Houston, Texas
Lake Jackson, Texas
Portland, Texas
Spring, Texas
Weslaco, Texas

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