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Holboellia - Growing Guide
Our stockplant of Holboellia coriacea has grown for perhaps 100 years on a large section of a tall wall at Caerhays. It is easy to see how holboellia and stauntonia can get confused as their leaves, and indeed their flowers, are very similar.
One of the key differences is that male and female flower clusters of different colours appear on the same, rather than different, plants.
H. coriacea has dark green leaves up to 6in long which are composed of three oblong leaflets. The clusters of mauve male and greenish-white female flowers appear with us in April or May. The clusters can be 3-5in across. Sausage shaped purple fruits very occasionally appear in our plant in the autumn or perhaps we simply do not notice them in the thick hedge like foliage of this massive climber.
H. latifolia grows with us to a similar height (15-20ft). The leaves are slightly smaller and have three to seven oblong leaflets. The male flowers are greenish white and the female flowers are purple. From this you can quickly appreciate how easy it is to confuse the two species! We have not seen any fruits on our plant.
Our plants are grown in shade but with full exposure to southerly gales. The leaves can get salt scorched on occasion but the plant quickly grows through such minor setbacks. We conclude that both species are fully frost hardy.
These Chinese evergreen climbers can readily be grown up through other host plants. Certainly they will need some pruning of their long spring new growth tendrils from time to time simply to keep the plant under control.
Propagation from semi ripe new growth (preferably with a heel) in summer is fairly straightforward. You will however need to prune off the top growth from the cutting to make it manageable.