Spanish flag is a sign of summer. This tropical vine, also called firecracker vine, is in the morning glory family and prized for its quick growth—easily scrambling 18 feet or more in two months—and showy flowers in shades of red, orange, yellow, or white. Perfect for quickly cloaking a pergola or providing shade on an arbor, Spanish flag is easy to grow from seed. Seeds of this heirloom are occasionally hard to find at local garden centers, so you might have to buy it from an internet source.
Planting Spanish Flag
Warm, spicy colors of Spanish flag make it a wonderful complement for a color garden. Provide a sturdy support, such as a fence, pergola, arbor, or trellis, and pair it with other tropical plants. Canna, an easy-to-grow tuberous plant with large leaves and bold flowers, is a great companion, as is crocosmia. Dahlia, lantana, and coleus are easy-to-grow partners sharing Spanish flag's tropical vibe.
Spanish Flag Care
Spanish flag grows well in well-drained soil where it receives at least 8 hours of bright sunlight a day. Like its close relative morning glory, Spanish flag seeds have a tough outer layer. Help seeds break through their hard coat by soaking them in warm water for a few hours or overnight prior to sowing. Even with soaking, Spanish flag seeds are slow to germinate, requiring up three weeks in consistently warm soil. Because it is slow to start, Spanish flag doesn't usually begin blooming until August or later. Give plants a jump start on the growing season by starting seeds indoors 6 to 8 weeks before the last average spring frost date in your Zone.
Once seeds emerge and the air temperatures are regularly above 70° F, Spanish flag will begin to grow with gusto. Expect the delicate yet vigorous vines to grow 18 feet or more over the course of a season so they'll need a sturdy trellis, arbor, or fence to scramble up.
Spanish flag is a favorite food source of hummingbirds, bees, and butterflies. Limit the use of insecticides and herbicides in your landscape to promote these winged visitors. Enjoy them up close by planting Spanish flag near a porch, deck, or patio.