Solandra Maxima

September 7, 2018

Root development after 2 weeks Solandra Maxima - also known as cup of gold vine or Hawaiian lily (Dutch: 'Reuzenklimtrompet') - is a vine endemic to Mexico and Central America. When blooming you can't miss it as the flowers are striking yellow and very big. We already had 2 Solandra Maximas on our finca when we bought it in 2012. Both had some sort of a symbiotic relation with an olive tree and the other with a Hedera and the mine tower.
Some facts:

  • Relative of tobacco, tomatoes and potatoes
  • Extracts of this plant is said to be hallucinogenic
  • Cup shaped flowers up to 20 cm long
  • All parts of the plant are poisonous
  • Flowers: 15 - 20 cm !
  • Stem can grow 60 meter long !
  • Evergreen
  • Easy to grow from cuttings

Tropical rain forest look

That is what we are after: creating an atmosphere of a tropical rain forest, with lush growth, lots of shade, the sun peaking through the canape on various places, a high humidity and a cacophony of bird sounds and frogs. That was my initial idea 6 years ago and still is. Not everything went according to plan due my lack of knowledge about gardening and vegetation and the climate and growth conditions.

After having seen the Paulownia Tomentosa (Royal Empress Tree, see earlier posts about this tree) I had the idea to create a canape first, in order to prevent the sunlight reaching the soil. Looking back in hindsight with a ton more knowledge I can say that the idea was ok, but the circumstances where not. The weakest link in the chain of requirements to have this tree grow fast was the quality of the soil - or ... what soil? there is only rock ! There is simply not enough soil to enable the roots of the Paulownias to grow fast. This has been proven in our small Paulownia plantation in which all circumstances are optimal. I estimate the the highest stalks are just under 10 meter tall now. The Solandra Maxima can contribute greatly to the tropical rain forest atmosphere. Look at the photo of the Solandra Maxima climbing up a pine tree. I found this photo on the internet, it proves that it can grow along side pine trees - which is not always the case, the roots of pine trees produce a substance which can kill roots of other plants. We already have 2 Solandras; one is growing up the steel tower of the mine and the other has a symbiotic relation with an olive tree near the cottage. Both are there for already a long time. The thick stems become a kind of liana of soft flexible wood, but strong like a woven rope because of the long fibers.

Next week's post

The post of next week will be about the ground floor changes of the cottage. I am working on this on a daily basis - if the guests are away as my activity involved making a lot of noise of grinders, drilling, concrete mixing etc. The result is already astonishing in our opinion. The current phase is the 'fun'-phase where you see it change with every block you glue to the wall. The facade will have 3 arches with double opening doors, 1 small window, 5 round  and 'tipico' Spanish ventilation tiles and eventually the plaster on the walls will be fully in line with the colors of the island.

The plaster part of this big project will be done later, I need to clear my mind after working on this for already many weeks. Maybe I will hire an expert to do it, it's quite straight forward anyway.

Have a great weekend !