Sunday, October 17, 2021

Jade Grows in Paradise

Large, curved petals of the jade vine.

Large, curved petals of the jade vine.

By Maria Lamb

You have to see it to believe it! Your first encounter with a jade vine in bloom will leave you in a state of awe. The one-of-a-kind strands of raw jade green, aquamarine or malachite, vary in color, intensity and luminosity. Each petal is unique. The right ingredients mixed with all the right chemicals, ideal temperature and geography bring about the many fine nuances of the color green. A green flower is rare in the plant kingdom. It is nature’s chemistry at its best.

The jade vine is native to the Philippines and is in danger of extinction due to  a canopy of jade vines during a hiking trek through a sweltering tropical jungle with its unique blooms swaying to and fro in the dank air. Just like its rainforest habitat, jade vines thrive in the heat and humidity of Marco Island. It is an ideal choice for gardeners looking for something exotic and spectacular. In our island paradise, you’ll find jade vines cascading down formal courtyard trellises and also twining itself up a plumeria tree in Old Florida backyard settings.

Scientific name, strongylodon Macrobotrys, is commonly known as jade vine or emerald creeper. It is a vigorous woody-stemmed evergreen vine and a member of

A single chain of the jade blossom measures 2-3 feet long.

A single chain of the jade blossom measures 2-3 feet long.

the pea or bean family. Stems are glossy purplish when young and harden to dark brown.

But the flowers set it apart from anything you’ve ever seen before in the plant world. Its green petals will unfurl during the cooler months of late March and early April producing a chain of curved finger-like blooms in brilliant hues of cerulean green about 2-3 feet long. Scientists tell us that the human eye is more sensitive to the color green than to any other color. As you gaze at a single petal or a cluster of luscious jade tendrils, dangling in mid-air, you are immediately soothed by its color. There are few greater rewards in nature than a jade vine in full bloom. In Marco, they start the blooming season late March into mid-April.

Planting tips:
Jade vines come in black, red or yellow, but green is the most spectacular. They are best grown in a sturdy trellis, pergola or over a fence. They love a sunny spot, and are not heavy feeders. They are Florida-friendly in their growing needs. Water only when soil is visibly dry. To purchase, visit your local nursery – if the jade vine is not available there, ask them to order it for you.


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