This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V23", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
The twining Rhodochiton volubile, is an old but rather rare summer climber to be found in only a few collections at the present time.
Why it is thus neglected is to me very strange, but I notice that the name is not to be found in any of the catalogues of our nurserymen, with the single exception of Mr. John Saul's, so that the lovers of pretty vines have but little chance to become acquainted with this singularly interesting climber.
It is a half shrubby climber, with a slender purple stem, and alternate cordate leaves of a bright green color, the under side having somewhat of a purplish tinge; the singular flowers being produced from the axils of the leaves on footstalks upwards of three inches in length. These footstalks are also of a light purplish color, and are somewhat twisted. The singular flowers are composed of a large calyx, of a purplish rose color, and the corolla tube is about one and three quarters of an inch long, of a deep purple color, and in well grown and healthy specimens are produced in the greatest abundance from July till frost. The quantity and profusion of bloom depend most essentially upon the manner in which the plant is grown, so that the finer the plant is grown the more profuse will it bloom.
To flower this pretty species to perfection in the open air, prepare the place where the plant is to stand by digging the soil to the depth of two feet at least, and working in a good portion of well-rotted manure or leaf mould. After all danger of frost is over set out a good, strong and healthy plant; give attention as to training, and in the event of dry weather a thorough watering should be given at least once a week. On the approach of frost cut the plant back, take it up and pot it carefully, using ordinary potting soil. If given a light, warm and airy situation it will occasionally produce a few flowers during the winter months, if it can be kept free from the red spider to which it is unfortunately very subject; and on this account it should be frequently and freely syringed when grown under glass.
Propagation is effected by cuttings.