Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Cardinal Climber
Ipomoea sloteri

Family: Convolvulaceae (kon-volv-yoo-LAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Ipomoea (ip-oh-MEE-a) (Info)
Species: sloteri (SLO-ter-eye) (Info)

Synonym:Ipomoea x multifida
Synonym:Quamoclit multifida
Synonym:Quamoclit sloteri

6 vendors have this plant for sale.

48 members have or want this plant for trade.

Vines and Climbers

36-48 in. (90-120 cm)
4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)
6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)
8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)

6-9 in. (15-22 cm)

Not Applicable

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun

Seed is poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:
Mid Summer
Late Summer/Early Fall


Other details:
May be a noxious weed or invasive
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

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 seed; sow indoors before last frost
From seed; direct sow after last frost
Scarify seed before sowing

Seed Collecting:
Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds
Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored

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There are a total of 39 photos.
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24 positives
7 neutrals
1 negative

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive Lovehum On May 13, 2014, Lovehum from (Zone 6b) wrote:

In my zone I can't plant this in the ground until temps are consistently warm. It don't really take off until late August, faster in full sun. Just in time for hummingbird migration though. I was surprised how woody the oldest growth got. I imagine this plant must be amazing warmer climates.

Positive salmon_patty On Jun 17, 2013, salmon_patty from Springfield, MO wrote:

in my yard in southwest Missouri this annual comes back in the same place year after year. it gets no help from me. seeds start germinating toward the end of june, so germination depends on shorter days or soil temperature. it's a great plant for attracting hummingbirds but it can be invasive. I suggest dropping seeds on the ground where you want it to come back year after year. at the bottom of a telephone pole would be a great place. at the end of the first season, let the plant go to seed. then after the first frost let the vine dry out and tear it down. be careful how you dispose of the vine as it will still have seeds on it and they'll grow wherever if you're not cautious. I love the looks of this vine and the way it attracts hummingbirds.

Positive DonnaLMcC On Sep 17, 2012, DonnaLMcC from Evanston, IL wrote:

I have had the packet of seeds for 3 years. 1st yr 2010 I planted only a few seeds in a grouping and the vine was rather thin. 2nd yr 2011 I planted more seeds in better soil and enjoyed watching it climb up a tall metal stake. This yr 2012 I planted all that were left and really watched it take off (if that is what other folks call invasive). It is such an amazing plant with those feathery leaves and then the larger ones.

Who knows how to harvest the seeds? Please let us know!

Neutral CCPikie On Aug 19, 2011, CCPikie from Elmhurst, IL wrote:

I'm growing this vine because I've seen the RubyThroated hummingbirds visit one frequently in a neighbor's garden. I planted seeds indoors in peat pots a couple of weeks before last frost, which germinated well. After planting out it took quite awhile for the vines to get established. I now have two vines of pretty good size. They're just forming buds now and I expect flowers in a few days. I'd like to have seen blooms before mid August. These vines require very frequent watering, or they wilt. We're nine inches ahead of normal for rainfall here, and it's not nearly enough. Pest free.

Positive fixpix On Mar 30, 2010, fixpix from Oradea
Romania wrote:

i got some cardinal climber seeds (5x) and all sprouted.
when with just a few sets of leaves, i saw flower buds.
they turned red.
i am sure in a couple of days i will see flowers.
am surprised to see flowers so early in the spring and also on such young and small plants, considering it's a vine.
i can see the difference between this one and the cypress vine.
leaves are quite different.
got one potted in my apartment, two potted but on my parents' porch in the sun and one planted directly in the flower garden by a plum tree.
first time ever to experience this vine and i hope to have the same positive experience at the end of the fall.

Neutral Blackwill On Jan 28, 2010, Blackwill from Bakersfield, CA wrote:

Neutral only because I have not experienced it yet...

I picked up a packet of Ferry-Morse "Cardinal Climber Vine" seeds at one of the Home Improvement centers here in Bakersfield, California (Zone 8b or 9a, depending on time of day, i guess..).

I have planted the seeds at the base of my two Bradford Pear trees in the front lawn (Jan. 25th, 2010).

I am hoping that they will flourish, and climb the trees to provide some much needed color and textural interest to the yard.

I will post an update as/if they progress.

Neutral grrrlgeek On Nov 26, 2009, grrrlgeek from Grayslake, IL (Zone 5a) wrote:

I. sloteri is an allotetraploid species derived from Ipomoea ×multifida. I. ×multifida is a cross between I. coccinea and I. quamoclit. Both are referred to as Cardinal Climber.

Positive DMgardener On Sep 28, 2009, DMgardener from (Daniel) Mount Orab, OH (Zone 6b) wrote:

Well, sort of. The flower were larger then I exspected, and were a rich scarlet. But the groweth was so slow!!! And it never did take off. But otherwise, it is a very good Ipomoea. The flowers were super early(!), a big +.
I was kind ashtonished to see the heart shape, after noticing that I. coccinea (which was growing on the other side of the house) has heart shaped leaves and the I. quamoclit has feathery leaves. The Cardinal Climber has a happy medium of them both!

Positive rare_bird On Sep 4, 2009, rare_bird from Independence, MO wrote:

I planted seeds from WalMart in planters alongside a fence surrounding the patio, in late May. By the end of June the vines were weaving in and out of the fence and up and over shephards' hooks holding other plants. The hummingbirds ignore the feeder, preferring the lovely red trumpets. I was surprised and delighted when the foliage began to turn to autumn hues in late August - gold, orange, deep red and even a dusty purple. Will plant in containers again next spring.

Positive lehua_mc On Aug 31, 2009, lehua_mc from Portland, OR (Zone 8b) wrote:

Further north the Cardinal Climber has shown no invasive tendencies. Granted, I sowed the seeds late, near Memorial Day, as a last thought to cover a struggling woody shrub (& shed), which has since come back. Instead of mass take over I have a dainty vine climbing determinedly skyward with yes, the hummingbird magnet small red tubular flowers. I'm watching for seeds, mostly because I don't think it will over winter and I consider the experiment still open. Moisture has got to be key, since our summers are quite dry.

Positive rileyriley On Aug 16, 2009, rileyriley from Charlottesville, VA wrote:

Grew it in a pot and it went wild!!! I loved it, but give it a lot of room. Would never plant it in the ground - would probably eat all the other plants! Has anyone ever seen the stupid movie "The Ruins" ?

Negative dmj1218 On Sep 6, 2008, dmj1218 from west Houston, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

One of the biggest problematic invasive plants I deal with--literally "chokes" out the life of surrounding plants in a matter of days. If you are located in the deep south please do not plant this--your neighbors will have to contend with its problems for years!

Positive RustyStar On Aug 9, 2008, RustyStar from Redondo Beach, CA (Zone 10a) wrote:

Here in Southern Cal (Redondo Beach), growing beautifully up the side of a white wooded wall. Of note is that the red flowers are delicate looking - although they are tubular in shape (attracts hummingbirds really well!), they do not have a "thick" wall to them - thus, the plant looks very lacey and airy -LOVE IT! Virtually pest free! Started from seeds right in the ground and they have performed so incredibly well. Also note that the red is a beautiful clear "Christmas" red - so lovely!! Will be sorry to see these go! :)

Positive brutusmother On Jul 20, 2008, brutusmother from Grand Rapids, MI (Zone 6a) wrote:

I purchased seeds for this plant in Grand Rapids. It goes by the common name Cardinal Vine. I have planted this the last three years.

Positive nolabug On Apr 22, 2008, nolabug from New Orleans, LA (Zone 9b) wrote:

I found this vine to be a very fast grower. I purchased seeds from Target labeled 'Cypress Vine, Cardinal Climber.' The plant grows easily from seed. It has proven very temperature flexible and pest free, unlike my morning glories which are constantly troubled by caterpillars and aphids. Planted in January in Zone 9, this plant was the first to top my fence and also the first to bloom. I pruned off the minor shoot until it got to the top of the fence with its main vine and all of these cuttings rooted and became vigorous plants.

Positive stephanotis On Jan 24, 2008, stephanotis from Queen Creek, AZ (Zone 8b) wrote:

I bought a packet of Cypress Vine seeds, started them in peat pellets, and every single one germinated. By the time they started twining I could see that the leaves were different on some of the seedlings. I had both Cypress Vine and Cardinal Climber seeds, and they were identical. I went ahead and planted all of them in a huge ceramic pot with an obelisk, and sat back to see what would happen. I was rewarded with mountains of foliage and lovely little red flowers from both sets of vines. The pot was set so it received a.m. sun, then shade for a few hours, then late afternoon sun, and then shade again. I had a hard time getting the watering right; I did find out that it's a fine line for these little vines between too much and not enough moisture. It's hard to strike a good balance here in the summer in Arizona. The vines eventually died out, and I collected seeds, though I have no idea again which are which. This year I will be planting them in the ground for the first time, feeding acidic fertilizer, and monitoring the water, which will be easier with them in the ground. I expect a spectacular show on the fence line, and will be sure to take pictures to post here later.

Positive jasljohns On Oct 11, 2007, jasljohns from San Antonio, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

I found no need to scarify the seed prior to planting, and sowed it directly into my garden at the base of the supports for my tomatoes. The effect is attractive and has significantly reduced the need to tie up the tomato vines.

Positive WUVIE On Oct 3, 2007, WUVIE from Hulbert, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

If I had a nickel for every time this plant was mixed up
with Cypress Vine. Sigh.

Cypress Vine has a light and airy, almost fern-like foliage.
The seeds look, quite frankly, like mouse droppings.

Cardinal Climber has larger foliage on which the leaf structure
is significantly wider. The seeds resemble typical Morning
Glory seeds.

Thanks for letting me get that out. I feel better. :-)

Positive Sherlock221 On Jun 30, 2007, Sherlock221 from Lancaster, KY wrote:

If you find this plant too invasive -- I have a suggestion. It was recommended to me by a nursery as a container plant that would grow even in concrete planters. It did extremely well in the concrete planters, climbing up my lightposts, which looked very nice indeed! When it got unruly, I simply trimmed it back. It did not come back on its own this year, so I would have to replace it each year in this area (Kentucky). It grows very fast, so it works well as an annual that gives you quick color and interest. Recommended as a container plant. The leaves are pretty and fern like and the flowers a beautiful shade of red. It looked very nice growing up our black lamp posts.

Positive Galop On Mar 23, 2006, Galop from Washington, DC wrote:

Very beautiful deep red flowers on dark green. Attracts humminbirds. Moderate care (watering about once everyweek, normal soil). Flowers look like they're on fire in sunlight.

Positive MollyMc On Sep 17, 2005, MollyMc from Archer/Bronson, FL (Zone 8b) wrote:

Clearly I have been confused about the difference between the Cypress Vine and the Cardinal Climber, until today. I have both plants here and the Cardinal Climber grows faster, longer and is much fuller that the Cypress. Both leaves appear to be lacy, but the Cardinal is less so.

So when I plant those seeds that I just threw into the same envelope, I will get a mix of both plants.

Neutral RON_CONVOLVULACEAE On Jul 19, 2005, RON_CONVOLVULACEAE from Netcong, NJ (Zone 5b) wrote:

This interesting species was first created by successfully hybridizing Ipomoea coccinea and Ipomoea quamoclit,thus creating the new species of Ipomoea x multifida which when it had become fully stabilized after several generations was given the updated binomial of Ipomoea sloteri =an allotetraploid derived from Ipomoea x multifida..
The new species shows a flower most like the I.coccinea,sepals most like Ipomoea quamoclit,but with a new leaf shape with divided foliage like the I.quamoclit,but with the overall heart shape(!) of the Ipomoea coccinea.

Positive MN_Darren On Sep 6, 2004, MN_Darren from Saint Paul, MN wrote:

In cold climates, it appears that this vine will grow slowly until about late August when it will explode into rapid growth and blooming. I suspect that it's triggered by a combination of warm soil and shortening days. It will grow like a thug until the first frost, which will kill it dead. No chance of reseeding here in Zone 4. I like to plant it near beds of flowers that tend to collapse by late summer so that the Cardinal Climber will cover it all in a lovely blanket that builds upon the structure of dead annuals poppies, or other plants past their prime. There are definitely two variations of this plant. We have grown it every year for about ten years and this year the seeds we bought produced a much finer, lacy leaf that is quite a bit prettier than the others we have grown. Both have the same red flowers.

Neutral clantonnaomi On Sep 29, 2003, clantonnaomi from Iredell, TX wrote:

Although this seems to be a great hummingbird plant, it is very invasive in Central Texas. It reseeds every year, and the more I pull it up, the faster it grows. I will certainly never have to replant it.

Positive slynx On Sep 28, 2003, slynx from Oklahoma City, OK wrote:

Patience is the key with this plant. In Oklahoma the soil can dry out quickly. If you need to frequently water due to hot/dry cliamate, I recommend that you spread about one half cup of coffee grounds into the soil to keep the pH fairly low. I have seen the pH of my soil rise (due to watering with 7.5pH tap water) to at least 7.1 after almost 35 days af minimal rainfall.
This plant does well when planted with Four O'Clocks (I.jalapa).

Positive sfm On Sep 17, 2003, sfm from Bradford, NH wrote:

I added the Cardinal Climber only as an afterthought to a containered Mandevilla vine. It out-performed the
Mandevilla; and the humming birds love it! I'll harvest the seeds shortly, and will try it on a trellis on a
west-facing garage wall next year.

Neutral katchip On Sep 8, 2003, katchip from Rockingham, NC wrote:

I started out planting some seeds I bought at Food Lion. Had 40 or so plants. When I planted them outside only 3 survived. The 2 that have done the best are planted in high acidic soil, and seem to love it. The hummingbirds and butterflies are always on the flowers. The hummingbirds like to hide in it as well.
Rockingham, NC

Positive suncatcheracres On Aug 1, 2003, suncatcheracres from Old Town, FL wrote:

I too am somewhat confused about the nomenclature of this plant. My mother, who grew up in South Louisiana, always called this vine "Cypress Vine," so that's what I have always called it. A friend, who was raised in Baltimore, Maryland, corrected me this summer and said it was called "Cardinal Climber." Well, her plants do have a finer leaf than mine, but I am still trying to figure out if we are both right or both wrong! "The Southern Living Garden Book," the Bible of gardening in the Southern USA, lists both "Cypress Vine" and "Cardinal Climber" as common names for I. quamoclit (Quamoclit pennata) and does not list this species, but my book was published in Feb. 1998, so I really don't know if it is up to date.

I find the human propensity to try to "qualify the unqualifiable" intensely interesting, and it is most apparent in the constant debate--may I say squabble?--about plant names. Yet how else can we communicate with each other with some degree of accuracy? Well, whatever its name, this is a beautiful plant and useful for wildlife.

Positive Karenn On Jul 31, 2003, Karenn from Mount Prospect, IL (Zone 5a) wrote:

In my zone 4b/5a area, this is grown as an annual vine. It matures and blooms very quickly, but does not "self-sow" lasting seed for the next year. Very attractive foliage; attracts butterflies as well as hummingbirds!

Positive defjef On Jun 25, 2003, defjef from Lake Mary, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

Cypress Vine is still a very common name for this plant (so common in fact that I have never heard it called anything else) from Texas to Florida. Obviously it has nothing to do with true Cypress, but the name still exists.

Positive viner On Mar 19, 2003, viner wrote:

Plant doesn't re-seed in Northeast. Soaking the seed, after scarification, speeds germination to 3 - 5 days at room temperature.

Neutral Terry On Aug 5, 2001, Terry from Murfreesboro, TN (Zone 7a) wrote:

Often mistaken for Ipomoea quamoclit (aka Cypress Vine), this closely-related plant is a cross between Ipomoea coccinea and I. quamoclit) with slightly coarser leaves.

Very attractive to hummingbirds, self-seeds readily.


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

Elmore, Alabama
Queen Creek, Arizona
Paris, Arkansas
Bakersfield, California
Calistoga, California
El Sobrante, California
Hawthorne, California
Merced, California
Oroville East, California
Redondo Beach, California
Sacramento, California
West Covina, California
Apopka, Florida
Dade City, Florida
Deland, Florida
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Fountain, Florida
Hollywood, Florida
Braselton, Georgia
Cordele, Georgia
Ellijay, Georgia
Aurora, Illinois
Elmhurst, Illinois
Frankfort, Illinois
Mount Prospect, Illinois
Springfield, Illinois
Thomasboro, Illinois
Waukegan, Illinois
Indianapolis, Indiana
Tipton, Indiana
Indianola, Iowa
Fort Scott, Kansas
Barbourville, Kentucky
Corbin, Kentucky
Lancaster, Kentucky
Prospect, Kentucky
New Orleans, Louisiana
Zachary, Louisiana
Patuxent River, Maryland
Somerville, Massachusetts
Bellevue, Michigan
Fremont, Michigan
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Mason, Michigan
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Byhalia, Mississippi
Olive Branch, Mississippi
Brunswick, Missouri
Cameron, Missouri
Fair Play, Missouri
Independence, Missouri
Saint Louis, Missouri
Springfield, Missouri
Henderson, Nevada
Bradford, New Hampshire
Brick, New Jersey
Brooklyn, New York
Elba, New York
New York City, New York
Ronkonkoma, New York
West Kill, New York
Canton, North Carolina
Greenville, North Carolina
Rockingham, North Carolina
Rowland, North Carolina
Tobaccoville, North Carolina
Wake Forest, North Carolina
Wilmington, North Carolina
Cincinnati, Ohio (2 reports)
Garber, Oklahoma
Hulbert, Oklahoma
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Portland, Oregon
Millersburg, Pennsylvania
Quakertown, Pennsylvania
Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania
Mount Pleasant, South Carolina
Lafayette, Tennessee
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Austin, Texas (2 reports)
Brownsville, Texas
Dallas, Texas
Desoto, Texas
Fort Worth, Texas (3 reports)
Georgetown, Texas (2 reports)
Houston, Texas (2 reports)
Midland, Texas
San Antonio, Texas (3 reports)
Spring, Texas
Provo, Utah
Salt Lake City, Utah (2 reports)
Dutton, Virginia
Seattle, Washington

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