Torenia (Wishbone Flower; Bluewings; Clown Flower)

The Torenia genus is made up of about 16 different species of flowering plants in the Linderniaceae family, and some even come under Scrophulariaceae, or the figwort family.

These plants hail from southeast parts of Asia, and Africa.

Torenia At A Glance

You can recognize a torenia plant by their heart or oval-shaped foliage, and bright trumpet-shaped blooms which come in white, yellow, pink, blue, and purple, usually featuring three different colors.

They are often used in ornamental gardening, where they provide plenty of color both in mixed beds and in containers, often in shady areas, as they can withstand low light levels.

It’s worth knowing that these plants, like fig plants, absolutely hate being moved once they have established themselves into the soil.

So make sure that once you’ve found a good place for your torenia plants, keep them there.

Torenia Name Origin

The genus name honors Rev. Olof Toren, who was a Swedish preacher and botanist, and used to travel as a ship’s priest on vessels belonging to the East India Company, and he was also a student of Linnaeus.

The common name, wishbone flower, refers to the way the flower’s stamens form a wishbone shape at the anthers.

Bluewings, another name for the plants under the torenia genus, describe the shape and colors of the petals.

You may also know the flowers as clown flowers, thanks to the distinct markings on the white, yellow, and pink flowers, which look like a painted face of a clown.

Torenia Flower Symbolism

Torenia flowers signify joy, affection, and attraction.

Torenia Growing Requirements

Torenia plants are hardy in USDA zones 2 through to 11, making them a great choice for most gardens. 

They can bloom throughout spring all the way through to fall, depending on the species, and reach a maximum of 30cm tall.

Torenia plants don’t like full sunlight, so you will need to plant them in either partial sun, or shade.

This makes them great options for underneath large plants, but you will need to provide them with good quality, loamy soil which has plenty of drainage.

To get the absolute best out of Torenia plants, plant them in slightly acidic soil. If your garden doesn’t have acidic soil, you can also pot them up in a container in ericaceous compost.

While they don’t need a lot of water to thrive, they do require a bit of maintenance, and don’t cope well with dry conditions for long.

You’ll need to pinch back new growth regularly, to stop the plants from getting straggly, and if they do sudden;y look untidy or leggy, cut off the top three inches of the plant, and this will encourage the plant to put its energy into bushy growth.

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