The Rhodochiton atrosanguineum, or Purple Bell vine, a native of southwestern Mexico, is hardy to zone 9 and offers much to covet. Fast-growing, its glossy, heart-shape leaves contrast with cheery maroon flowers that have deep purple corollas and bloom all summer long. Purple Bell is easy to start from seed indoors in cooler climates. Once germinated, place it in the ground or a large pot with plenty of root space, in partial to full sun, and with a device for it to twine around. Then stand back, as it can grow to 10 feet in a season. Purple Bell may not have found its way to Bevis Bawa’s Sri Lankan idyll (see "The Brothers Bawa"), but it certainly would have piqued his interest.
Photo by: Marianne Majerus/MMGI
This article was first published in Garden Design May 2012