Help the development of the site, sharing the article with friends!

The very decorative climbing plant Black-eyed Susanne is actually an annual plant. This means that after flowering in summer, it withers with the first frost in autumn and is therefore usually removed along with the root system. But there are ways to get Thunbergia alata over the winter. However, this requires a little skill and effort on the part of the hobby gardener, so that the plant will sprout again after the winter and does not have to be sown again.

annual plant

Black-eyed Susanne is one year old

Thunbergia alata is actually an annual plant that is sown in the garden bed in spring and removed again in autumn after the leaves have faded and dried up. Because neither the long tendrils nor the roots are hardy. The decorative plant dies even at slightly low temperatures below 8° Celsius. Because of its origin in Africa, it is not used to colder temperatures and is therefore not hardy in our latitudes. For this reason, it is usually only cultivated here in the home gardens as an annual.


Hibernate black-eyed Susanne

Annual plants can also be overwintered. But of course a little effort is necessary to get the non-hardy climbing plant well through the cold season. So if you plan to keep Thunbergia alata for more than a year when planting or sowing, you should cultivate the plant in a bucket from the start so that it can be moved to a place in winter quarters. Because if the climbing plant was cultivated in a garden bed, it will be difficult to plant and move it again.


Even before the plant is to move, it should be prepared. It is particularly important to examine the plant for pests or diseases so that they do not move into the winter quarters. Then, when preparing for wintering, the procedure is as follows.

  • remove all dried and yellow leaves
  • Cut the plant back to a total of 50 cm
  • show up pests, use insecticides
  • in case of disease, remove all affected areas

Cutting back the plant is especially helpful in order to be able to carry the tub to the new location, because with a tall, climbing plant this would turn out to be a difficult task. However, since the climbing plant is a very fast-growing plant, it will quickly sprout again in spring after moving from the winter quarters to the summer location and will grow tall.

winter quarters

The winter quarters for the not hardy black-eyed Susanne is a bright room that must above all be frost-free. Constant temperatures should also prevail here, which should be around 10° Celsius. It should therefore not be too warm in winter for the annual plant. The following locations are therefore suitable as quarters for the cold winter months.

  • a bright staircase
  • a bright hallway with a window
  • an unheated conservatory

Cellars with little light, a boiler room or a garage are not suitable for overwintering Thunbergia alata.


If the temperatures fall below 8° Celsius in autumn, then it is time to spend the black-eyed Susan inwards. A little care needs to be taken into account here, but the climbing plant does not need much at the location of the hibernation. Therefore, the following should be noted.

  • do not fertilize
  • water only a little
  • Above all, avoid waterlogging
  • Don't let the soil dry out either
  • continue to regularly check for pests and diseases

If Thunbergia alata is largely left to its own devices over the winter months, it can be attacked by pests or diseases, which the hobby gardener then only notices too late. Then the plant could have suffered irreparable damage.

After hibernation

Procedure after hibernation

Already in the last winter months, around February, it is time to get Thunbergia alata used to the sun again. So it should now be taken out of its winter quarters to a location that is also bright and gets sunlight for several hours. Nevertheless, attention must still be paid to frosty temperatures and the plant must remain in a frost-free place.

However, if you have a south-facing balcony or a sheltered south-facing terrace, you can place the tub in the sun over midday when the temperature is above 8° Celsius. This ensures that flowers are formed in good time. Furthermore, the following is maintained in the transition phase.

  • fertilize regularly again
  • water regularly
  • Provide climbing aid

If the temperatures rise significantly in May after the Ice Saints and no more night frosts are to be expected, the black-eyed Susan can be taken to its original location outside and left there from now on.

Help the development of the site, sharing the article with friends!