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 means “what is it”, which is surely interesting.
Besides Drunken Sailor, the plant’s common names come from its nativity.
- Rangoon creeper
- Chinese honeysuckle
- Burma creeper
- Irangan Malli
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.
Caring For The Rangoon Creeper
Size & Growth
Quisqualis plants are fast growers and spread rapidly from root suckers and seeds. In excellent growing conditions, it can reach up to 30’ feet.
The leaves are about 5” inches long and oval or elongated with bright green color to help 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. The blooms grow in bright white pendent racemes.
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 part 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.
Water and Feeding
This native to tropical and sub-tropical climes need sun and water on a regular basis.
Allow enough time to let the soil dry a little bit before watering it again.
As for fertilizers, don’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 plants usually grow upwards from suckers coming up from the root system.
Divide the roots and relocate to new locations easily.
Grooming and Maintenance
Cut plants back to shape the shrub in early spring before flowering June to September.
When you’ve given the vine the best growing conditions, you will have to prune plants regularly to keep it in bounds.
How To Propagate Quisqualis Vines
Quisqualis propagates from 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 sow 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 Pest or Diseases
There are no serious pest or disease problems one needs to be wary about in regards to the Rangoon creeper vine.
The occasional problems which may plague the plant are scale and caterpillar attacks. Details on how to kill caterpillars on plants.
More on killing caterpillars naturally here.
Fortunately, both of these problems are remedied with one trip to your local gardening center.
DO NOT overwater or keep the soil too wet as these conditions can lead to root rot.
Uses For Rangoon Quisqualis
In agriculture and gardens, the Chinese Honeysuckle is a popular choice among cultivators and gardening enthusiasts alike.
However, this creeping vine needs support to grow. This is why plants are often used to cover walls or grow on supports, or on a trellis.
In subtropical and tropical Asia, such as Pakistan and China, you will find this creeping vine covering house fences or as a hedge plant.
It makes a splendid vine for hot, humid locations. They make excellent cut flowers for arrangement in low bowls.
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.