So You Want A FAST Narrow Screen Plant For Southern California?

Caveat:  not super cold hardy--sorry--thought it is claimed it will come back from the roots as far north as USDA zone 7.  Caveat: support is required for orderly vertical growth--sorry!  Caveat:  your experience may differ.  But I can say that this is the fastest narrow screen plant ever in my garden--from four inches to eight feet in six months.  I'll repeat that:  four inches to eight feet in six months.  Yep.  Iochroma 'Purple Queen'.  
The top of the wall is six feet tall:
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And Hummingbirds love the flowers!
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Support mandatory:  this plant flops without it.  With support--nearly instant 8' narrow screen from a 4" tall plant purchased in a 3" pot at a big box store for $2.99.  If I hadn't grown it, I wouldn't believe it. 
The metal tower supporting the plant can be discerned by looking carefully.  The wire fencing is not part of the Iochroma's support.  
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Several sites advise giving this plant regular fertilizer for best performance.  I have not done so. 

Comments

  1. I've been tempted by Iochroma in the past, but I haven't yet succumbed. I don't think I've seen it in the nurseries or big box stores here, but I have seen it via mail order. It obscures that support very nicely, at first glance it looks like the black metal legs are dark stems.

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    1. It's really too tropical--looking for my Mediterranean garden--but if it attracts hummingbirds, I'm going to try it. I had no idea it would get so tall so fast.

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  2. Is yours in full sun? I planted Iochroma cyanea (from Annie's) in a large pot where it gets afternoon shade. It's grown fast but has produced few blooms.

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    1. It's in sun until about 2:30pm. It's on the east side of the house so it will get less sun in winter. In June it was probably getting sun until 3:30 or 4. It has only started blooming lately, as it reached 8 feet. It was apparently busy growing before that.

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  3. Whoa, if only it's hardy here...seriously quick growth rate there in just a span of months. And here's me thinking that Ricinus must be the fastest one to size up.

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    1. Some pages claim it comes back from the roots in USDA 7, which has low temps to -17C...do you get that cold? It has the tropical look which agrees well with your garden, though you don't have Hummingbirds there to fight over the flowers, do you?

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    2. But they like some heat--mine is getting extra reflected from the stucco wall behind it. That might be an issue for you.

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  4. Incredible growth! Even if it dies back to the ground each winter, if it grows like it did for you, it's still better than many screening plants would be for the first five years. And pretty, too.

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    1. Yes, it was a complete surprise. Don't you love that, when a plant doesn't do what you expect (in a good way)?

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  5. I have grown Iochroma here, but it is not always winter hardy for me. I will confirm the fast growth though--mine was in the 7ft range when the cold temps cut it down. I think mine was also 'Purple Queen'. If we have a winter that does not hit the low 20's and I protect it I think I could winter it over. Drought years are difficult though;they are much colder.

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    1. Interesting that it was just as quick for you! Your area does get a hot summer. I read that 'Royal Purple', which was what the tag said, is really just 'Purple Queen' with a different name. I think that was in the Sunset WGB. You might need to mulch the base, then it could come back from that. Did it attract the hummers for you?

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