A royal vine

Petrea volubilis.

Wisteria vines were in full flower last week in southern California, and while this member of the pea family can be invasive it also can be quite beautiful. Our Petrea volubilis or queen’s wreath, is sometimes said to be the tropical version of wisteria, but its flowers are much more delicate. Petrea is winding down its late winter flowering, but pretty racemes of lavender/purple flowers remain around the garden house. And there are Petrea vines along the fence by the pergola, including a white one. The corollas fall away rather swiftly, but the calyces stay in place for a long time. Petrea is an assertive vine that will lay claim to the nearest fence, trellis or tree, and it may be cut back quite hard after flowering. Full sun and fast-draining soil will provide for its needs; mulch and a palm special fertilizer will keep it happy.