Growing and Saving the Seed of Black-Eyed Susan Vine

Latin name Thunbergia alata, Black-Eyed Susan Vine is a climbing perennial that is cold sensitive and commonly grown as an annual in northern climates.



Black-Eyed Susan Vine is native to tropical Africa. The Latin name, thunbergia, is a nod to Peter Carl Thunberg, Swedish botanist of the late 18th century.


  • Ornamental, trellis climber, container plant.
  • Pollinator attractor, frequently visited by butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds.




  • Seeds germinate in 7-14 days.
  • Soak seeds for 24 hours before planting to hasten germination.
  • Sow seeds indoors 6 weeks before last frost.


  • Thunbergia is a tropical climbing vine that prefers partial/dappled shade, heat and humidity.
  • Space plants 8-12 inches apart.
  • Plants cannot tolerate blazing full sun. They will sunburn, so it is important to keep the plants protected from all-day full sun.
  • Provide a trellis for the vines to climb.
  • Afternoon shade is ideal.


No particular pests or diseases.


Seeds are easy to save if you catch them before they fly across the garden!

  • The mature seeds of thunbergia will spring open and disperse sometimes feet away from the plant (this is how the plant evolved to travel and spread!).
  • When your flowers bloom, allow the flowers to die off and turn brown. You will see a yellowing pod that has a long, pointed tip and round base. Allow it to dry partially before bagging it with a little piece of cheesecloth or paper bag, whatever you have on hand. This bagging will capture the seeds before they explode across the garden.
  • Dried seed pods can be cracked open to reveal 2-3 small, round black/brown seeds.
  • Store in an airtight jar or plastic bag. Store seeds in a cool, dark, dry place.