Connect with us

Thai Life

Gardening: Two valuable Mexican climbers

Legacy Phuket Gazette



PHUKET: I am not talking about social climbers or even those intrepid fellows who scale up the sheer cliffs at Railay. Rather, I’m referring to two members of the vine brigade who have received less than their due footage in these columns.

I was reminded of the value of the garlic vine when I visited an estate, the common parts of which had been landscaped to mask unsightly concrete walls. Not yet in bloom, its foliage was already working away at the camouflaging process.

Mansoa alliacea has many merits. For a start it is self-supporting; the terminal leaflet is often modified into a tendril that clings to whatever is at hand. Moreover it has a profusion of deep lavender bell-shaped flowers with an attractive white throat. In the right conditions, these blooms appear at least twice a year. In fact, in my garden they seemed to bloom whenever exposed to the sun.

Furthermore, it is a very vigorous grower: my specimen, which developed a woody, two-inch thick stem, eventually reached 15 feet as it climbed into a neighboring devil tree. One important thing to be remembered is that the vine produces flower buds on new growth so it should not be pruned – as least if you want it to continue to bloom.

The climber possesses other unusual features which should endear it to any intrepid gardener. The crushed leaves smell like garlic, and can be used as a garlic substitute. Moreover, the entire plant has medicinal uses, especially for respiratory ailments and to alleviate fever. It can even be used as a mosquito repellent and is considered lucky. What more could you ask for?

Odontadenia is equally valuable as a climber, but much less well-known. Indeed I have only encountered it on one occasion, growing in a friend’s trellised roof garden where its habit was so profuse that numerous sunbirds were nesting in its foliage. It also hails from Mexico and I suspect its introduction to Asia is a relatively recent phenomenon.

Now beginning to gain recognition, it deserves to be better known in Phuket. The two-inch vivid yellow-orange flowers are bell shaped and are produced in great profusion – smaller but almost as spectacular as those of its relative, the allamanda.

Another close relative is called pentalinon luteum. It’s a bit different in that the striking blooms are invariably neon yellow. Just to confuse things, it is sometimes known as the yellow mandevilla. These flowers are produced, as with the garlic vine, at the stem tips. Given enough sun, it will bloom all year round. In common with the garlic vine, it produces tendrils, which are important if one wants a low-maintenance climber. The riotous foliage, sap-green in color, is a real bonus.

I currently have one, taken from a cutting, and growing in a pot: I will keep my fingers crossed when I transfer it to a wall-side setting – it’s too precious to lose.

If you have gardening or environmental concerns, contact Patrick at Many of his creative and academic publications can be found at his website: Green galoshes WordPress.

— Patrick Campbell


Want more Thailand news from the Thaiger family?

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS for instant updates on your mobile
📝️ Join the conversation on Thaiger Talk - discuss news & life in our Thailand forums
📧 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🔔 Subscribe to or Join our YouTube channel for daily video updates


Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Thailand33 mins ago

Unsatisifed with haircut, grandfather goes to police station for help

Coronavirus (Covid-19)39 mins ago

Thai DDC probe into Covid-19 vaccine recipient deaths to finish next week

Thailand1 hour ago

Good Morning Thailand | Situation in Hua Hin, bars petition for overturn of alcohol ban, Sandbox

Phuket Sandbox July 1st


Thaiger is getting behind local businesses for the restart of tourism in July - up to 50% discounts across all advertising packages in June!

Sponsored by image

Politics1 hour ago

Thammanat Prompaew said to be PPRP’s next secretary-general

Thailand1 hour ago

Pattaya security guard dies after crashing into garbage truck

Thailand2 hours ago

Killer’s sentence reduced from 10 years to 3, plus community service

Phuket2 hours ago

Over 300 Phuket businesses awarded SHA Plus accreditation ahead of re-opening

Chon Buri2 hours ago

142 new Covid infections in Chon Buri, clusters in market workers and close contacts

Phuket3 hours ago

Phuket 62% vaccinated, Sandbox ready to play in, hopefully

Coronavirus (Covid-19)3 hours ago

Friday Covid Update: 3,058 new cases and 22 deaths

Krabi3 hours ago

Krabi hotels pin hopes on Phuket sandbox success

Tourism4 hours ago

Tourism bodies concerned vaccination uncertainty will disrupt re-opening

Indonesia4 hours ago

Over 350 vaccinated medical workers in Indonesia infected, dozens hospitalised

Coronavirus (Covid-19)12 hours ago

Nightlife businesses petition government to reopen, sell alcohol

Coronavirus (Covid-19)15 hours ago

Koh Larn 70% vaccinated as Pattaya eyes reopening

Thailand4 months ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism4 months ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket4 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism4 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand4 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism4 months ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Southern floods, Face mask fines, Thai Air Asia woes | January 8