Growing Rangoon Creeper Plants: Caring For Quisqualis Indica

Quisqualis indica l. (Quisqualis indica linn) [kwis-KWAL-iss, IN-dih-kuh] is the Latin name of a ligneous vine Combretum indicum, which comes from the Combretaceae family. 

The botanical name Quisqualis indica means “what is it”, which is surely interesting.

Flowers of the Rangoon Creeper (Quisqualis Indica)

Besides Drunken Sailor, the plant’s common names come from its nativity. 

These include:

  • Rangoon creeper
  • Chinese honeysuckle
  • Burma creeper 

The plant is found in Burma, China, Thailand, Rangoon or Yangon on Myanmar, Malaysia, New Guinea, and the Philippines. 

In the US, you will find it very common in South Florida.

It is an ornamental plant, loved for its fragrant flowers and rich foliage cascading over pergolas, walls, and trellises.

Rangoon Creeper Care                          

Size & Growth

The Quisqualis indica is a fast grower and spreads rapidly with the root suckers and seeds. In excellent growing conditions, it can reach up to 30’ feet. 

The leaves in the foliage are about 5” inches long and are oval or elongated leaves. 

The leaves are bright green in color and create lush foliage.

Flowering and Fragrance

The white, pink and red flower clusters of the Drunken Sailor plant are its glory. 

The flowers are tubular and have a sweet floral fragrance. As mentioned, they grow in pendent racemes, bright white. 

Each flower is about 3” inches long and changes colors. The blooms start out white, change to pink before turning to bright red flowers.

Light & Temperature

Hardy to USDA Hardiness Zone 10 and 11, the flowering Rangoon Creeper can thrive in both full sun and partial shade. 

While it is tolerant of humidity and very poor growing conditions, it defoliates with the slightest of frost. 

It succeeds in tropical, subtropical and temperate climes where it’s usually warm and humid.

Watering and Feeding

As the plant is native to tropical and sub-tropical climes, it needs water on a regular basis. 

Allow enough time to let the soil dry a little bit before watering it again.

As for fertilizers, the plant doesn’t require heavy feeding. If your soil lacks nutrients, add composted cow manure or granular fertilizer. 

Fertilize twice a year, once in the fall and once in spring. Avoid fertilizers high in nitrogen as it will encourage healthy foliage growth at the expense of flowering.

Soil & Transplanting

This non-fussy grower can tolerate and thrive in most soils. 

If the soil is well-drained and pH-adaptable, the vine will keep spreading and flowering abundantly.

The vine will transplant but doesn’t need to be as it usually grows upwards. 

The root system consisted of root suckers. 

Divide the roots and relocate to new locations easily.

Grooming and Maintenance

After the flowering takes place in early spring i.e. late spring, cut back the plant to shape the vine. 

When you’ve provided the vine with the best growing conditions, you will have to prune it to keep it in its bound.

How to Propagate Quisqualis Indica

The creeper or vine is propagated with seeds, root division, and cuttings. 

Seeds sown in the soil will grow into luscious plants. 

However, it is difficult. 

You may have more success with cutting or division.

Wait for the rainy season in the summer to get a green cutting and sowing it in peat in a seed tray and place it in a humid environment with partial shade. 

Keep the plant hydrated and in a month or so, the cutting may root.

The division is done in the same season. 

  • First, expose the root system of the mother plant very carefully and then find spots to cut and divide the plant into two. 
  • Loosen up the small roots to allow them to spread. 
  • Move the cutting into an individual pot and then move them into a soaking tub overnight. 
  • Move the plants to a shaded location the next day until the new growth stabilizes.

Quisqualis Indica Pest or Diseases

There are no serious pest or disease problems one needs to be wary about in regards to the Chinese honeysuckle plant. 

The occasional problems which may plague the plant are scale and caterpillar attacks.

Fortunately, both of these problems are remedied with one trip to your local gardening center.

Rangoon Creeper Uses

In agriculture and gardens, the Chinese Honeysuckle creeper is a popular choice among cultivators and gardening enthusiasts alike. 

It is a creeper and needs support to grow. 

This means it’s often used to cover walls, supports or on a trellis. 

In subtropical and tropical Asia, such as Pakistan and China, you will find this creeper covering house fences or as a hedge plant.

Flowers of the Rangoon creeper are said to be full of nectar, making them great for attracting pollinators like butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds.

The plant is also said to have medicinal properties. 

Different parts of the plant, including the root, leaves or fruit are used in herbal medicine to treat a number of ailments.