This attractive, rather rampant member of the Vine family, from the Eastern USA, has tapered tendrils which enable it to clamber through nearby supports – be they shrubs or balustrades – and to adorn any drab setting. Deciduous by nature, no amount of heat will entice it to retain its leaves after Autumn, yet the bright green Summer foliage is attractive enough to justify growing P. inserta in a cool, airy setting. As a patio plant, it may reach its full potential and, after a long hot Summer, may develop fiery-coloured Autumn foliage and small blue-black fruits.
Use P. inserta as a temporary plant indoors, as with age the stems become woody and less attractive, while the nuisance of the annual leaf drop is in-appropriate to many homes. If the latter can be tolerated, keep growth juvenile by pruning older shoots to the base in Spring. This plant is fully frost- hardy when grown outdoors: in the home, good ventilation is essential. Provide a temperature range of 5-13°C (41-55°F) if possible. Too much heat in early Spring will result in growth before the light levels are adequate.
P. inserta is ideal for dim corners of the home: it withstands a fair degree of shade, but gives a better display in light shade. Direct sunlight may result in scorch.
During the Summer growing period, keep thewell moistened: in late Winter, allow the surface of the compost to dry before giving a further thorough watering. Once the leaves have dropped, keep the compost nearly dry until the light levels increase enough in Spring to enable balanced growth.
This climber tolerates dry air, and in the recommended temperatures, the foliage should not suffer.
Feed every three weeks during the growing period; use a proprietary plant food at half strength.
Repot every Spring using a loam-based compost for added stability: prune a few older shoots to about three buds at the same time. Plants that are too large to be repotted should be top-dressed instead.
If this plant is outgrowing the available space, – growth may be restricted if the growing tips are tied in to a vertical support: if vigorous growth is desired, encourage them to hang downwards.
Excess heat in Spring will stimulate early growth, which will then shrivel if the air is very dry, or be of poor quality if the light levels indoors are not supplemented by artificial lighting.