The Vibrant Candy Corn Plant: A Tropical Vine That Will Enchant Your Garden

If you’re looking for a stunning and unique addition to your garden, consider the Candy Corn Plant. Its botanical name, Manettia inflata, might not ring a bell, but this vigorous climber will certainly catch your eye. With its densely leaf-covered twining stems, the Candy Corn Plant can be trained on a trellis, creating a lush and vibrant display.

But that’s not all – this tropical vine can also be planted in a hanging basket, trailing down in a cascade of beauty. The Candy Corn Plant is a fast grower, so pruning the vines in spring will help keep it compact and bushy, ensuring a more manageable size.

What truly makes the Candy Corn Plant a novelty item is its stunning resemblance to the popular harvest-time candy of the same name. With unusual, hairy, tubular flowers in reddish-orange and yellow tips, this tropical flowering vine is a delightful sight to behold. These eye-catching flowers, nearly an inch long, bloom abundantly from summer through late fall, even on young plants.

To ensure your Candy Corn Plant thrives, make sure it receives bright light. If you don’t have a sunny window, consider using an indoor grow light. If the plant fails to produce an abundance of blooms, it may be a sign that it needs more light. Additionally, feeding it with bloom-boosting fertilizer can give it that extra oomph.

During the summer, you can move the Candy Corn Plant outdoors to enjoy the warmth, but be sure to bring it back indoors when the temperature drops in the fall. This tropical native despises cold temperatures and is sensitive to frost.

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When it comes to repotting, do it in spring when you notice roots growing out of the drainage holes. Only move it up one pot size, as the Candy Corn Plant blooms best when slightly pot-bound. Be sure to choose a pot with a drainage hole to prevent root rot. If you prefer a decorative container without a drainage hole, use it as a cachepot and place small rocks at the bottom to keep the inner pot elevated.

The Candy Corn Plant, formerly known as Manettia luteo-rubra, is native to South America and has earned a few other common names like Firecracker Vine, Candy Corn Vine, and Brazilian Firecracker. However, to ensure you’re getting the right plant, always look for the botanical name.

When it comes to care, the Candy Corn Plant prefers bright light to full sun from a south- or west-facing window. Ensuring the soil is evenly moist during spring and fall, and reducing watering in the winter when growth is slower, will help maintain its health. If the air inside your home is dry, consider using a cool-mist room humidifier to keep the humidity above 45%. Remember that temperatures between 65-75°F (18-24°C) are ideal for this plant, and it’s best suited for US Zones 9-11.

For optimal growth, use a well-aerated potting mixture with equal parts all-purpose potting mix, perlite, and peat moss. Feed the Candy Corn Plant every two weeks with a high-phosphorus fertilizer diluted by half during spring and fall. If you wish to propagate, take non-flowering stem tip cuttings in spring or early summer and root them in moist soil.

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Discover the enchanting world of the Candy Corn Plant and let this tropical vine bring warmth and vibrancy to your garden. For more information on this unique plant, visit the Ames Farm Center.