Mina lobata, more commonly known as the Spanish flag, is a succulent plant native to South Africa and is often used as an accent in gardens and floral arrangements because of its bold, colorful leaves. Spanish flag can grow up to one foot tall and spread about three feet across. It makes a great addition to any garden if you know how to grow it properly, but it can be challenging if you don’t have the proper conditions and care instructions in place. The following tips will help you grow Mina lobata, so that you can enjoy this stunningly colorful succulent in your own home or garden.
Looking for something beautiful to attract butterflies and hummingbirds to your garden? Consider planting mina lobata, a vividly colored annual vine with blossoms that resemble bursting fireworks.
What is Mina Lobata, Exactly?
The vine Mina lobata (Ipomoea lobata) is endemic to Mexico and Brazil. It is related to morning glories, however, its blossoms remain open all day, unlike its morning glory siblings.
Mina lobata vines are hardy in zones 10–11 and are used as perennials. We, on the other hand, cultivate them as annuals.
In a single season, the vines may grow 6–10 feet. The leaves have a fleur-de-lis form and are heavily lobed. That is where the “lobata” part of their name comes from. Lobata is Latin for lobed. The leaves grow to be 2 to 6 inches long.
Mina lobata is cultivated for its stunning blooms. They are not only brightly colored but also have a distinct form. Racemes support the blooms. Individual flowers develop on a central stalk in a raceme flower. The fact that the individual blooms develop on just one side of the central stalk distinguishes mina lobata flowers.
The tubular blooms develop on one side of the racemes, which grow to be 6 inches long. As the blossoms grow, they become orange, yellow, and cream in color.
The multicolor gradient includes hues seen in the Spanish flag, earning the vines the moniker “Spanish Flag.” Other gardeners prefer the vines as Firecracker Vines because the blossoms resemble pyrotechnics.
Blooming occurs from mid-to-late summer until autumn.
Mina Lobata Growing Instructions
Plant Mina lobata vines in full sun, which is 6 to 8 hours of direct sunshine every day. Your vines will not blossom as effectively if you attempt to cultivate them in partial shade.
The vines should be spaced 12 inches apart in well-drained, slightly acidic to slightly alkaline soil. You’ll need to give them a climbing structure, such as a trellis. Mina lobata can be cultivated in pots, although it requires some type of climbing support.
When they start to develop buds, treat them with a fertilizer designed for blooming plants. More flowers will result from this. Avoid nitrogen-rich fertilizers, which stimulate foliage rather than flowers.
Throughout the growing season, Mina lobata vines shed their leaves near the bottom of the vines. To cover the leaf loss, put some low-growing plants at the base of your vines.
Mina Lobata Seed Growing Instructions
The seeds of Mina lobata have a tough outer shell. You may either delicately nick the coating with a sharp knife without damaging the embryo within, or you can gently sand the coating thinner using fine-grit sandpaper or a nail file.
Before sowing, soak the nicked or sanded seeds in warm water for 24 hours.
Direct sowing mina lobata in your yard is the simplest approach to cultivating it from seed. Plant your treated seeds at least 2 weeks after your last frost and your soil has warmed. Warm soil is essential. Tropical seeds will not germinate if planted on chilly soil.
The latest frost in my zone 6 New Jersey garden is in April, but I don’t plant any tropical seeds or plants until the end of May since the earth hasn’t warmed up yet.
12 inches deep and 12 inches apart, plant your treated seeds. In 5–14 days, the seeds will germinate.
Before you spread your seeds, make sure you have your trellis or whatever you want them to climb on in place. When you install the trellis or other support after your seeds have germinated and your vines have started to develop, you risk damaging the fragile young roots.
If you want to get a head start on the season, start your mina lobata seeds inside. 6 weeks before your final frost, treat your seeds and plant them inside. Plant them in peat pots or other biodegradable containers 12 inches deep. Keep the soil at 65°F to 70°F with a heat mat. In 5–14 days, the seeds should germinate.
Plant your seedlings in your garden two weeks after the last frost has passed and the earth has warmed. Warm soil is essential. In chilly soil, your seedlings will not grow and may even die. The soil may take longer than two weeks to warm up following the previous frost.
Before you plant your vines, set up your trellis or other support. Plant your seedlings in their biodegradable pots so that the delicate new roots are not disturbed. They should be 12 inches apart.