Australian Native Plant Profile: Fraser Island Creeper (Tecomanthe hillii)

Updated on February 19, 2012

Common Names: Fraser Island Creeper, Roaring Meg (Although strictly this refers to a different Tecomanthe species)
Scientific Name: Tecomanthe hillii
Synonyms: None
Family: BIGNONIACEAE

Tecomanthe hillii, commonly known as Fraser Island Creeper is a woody, evergreen perennial climber which can grow up to 10m high with appropriate support such as a tall tree to climb.


Characteristics of Tecomanthe hillii

Fraser Island Creeper has attractive, lush, green, glossy, pinnate foliage on multiple twinning stems. It produces prolific skirt-like clusters of 6cm long, pinkish-cream throated, lipstick-pink coloured flowers on old growth during October. Tecomanthe hillii is a rare plant that is endemic (can only be found in) to Eastern Queensland, Australia.


A cluster of Tecomanthe hillii flowers. (http://cooloolacityfarm.org/ - site currently down)
A cluster of Tecomanthe hillii flowers. (http://cooloolacityfarm.org/ - site currently down) | Source

Horticultural uses of Tecomanthe hillii

Tecomanthe hillii makes an ideal courtyard plant. It performs well when grown along fences and verandas or over pergolas or archways. Alternatively Tecomanthe hillii can also be trained up any fast growing, open-canopied tree. Fraser Island Creeper is also suitable for planting in pots on trellising. When grown this way they can be moved inside when they begin to flower and be used as a spectacular indoor feature plant. Tecomanthe hillii is also suitable for second-line coastal plantings in native re-vegetation projects. There are no recorded traditional uses of Fraser Island Creeper known.


Limitations when planting Fraser Island Creeper

Tecomanthe hillii requires a solid support structure when planting as their strong lianes (woody climbing stems) may damage lightweight support including the eaves of buildings. Ideally, an already established tree should be used as support for Tecomanthe hillii to grow up.


Natural growing environment of Tecomanthe hillii

As its name suggests, Fraser Island Creeper is native to Fraser Island in South-East Queensland, however there are also small isolated populations on mainland South-East and North-East Queensland. Tecomanthe hillii is often found naturally growing in sandy soils the are close to water sources throughout its range. Fraser Island experiences an approximate average minimum temperature of 22oC and maximum of 28oC during January and an average minimum temperature of 14oC and maximum of 20oC during July. The mean annual rainfall on Fraser Island is 1384mm, concentrated from January through to March, with 145 days of rainfall across the year.


Tips for growing Tecomanthe hillii

Tecomanthe hillii thrives when grown in both full sunlight and in the shade and tolerates mild frosts. Fraser Island Creeper plants exposed to full sun will have a more compact growth habit than those grown in the shade. As it doesn't tolerate damp roots for too long, make sure you choose a position with good drainage when planting your Tecomanthe hillii vine. Care should be taken to plant away from walls to avoid lime toxicity from concrete building foundations. This allows has the additional benefit of allowing access to as much natural rainfall as possible which may otherwise be blocked by overhanging guttering. If planting Fraser Island Creeper into containers be sure to only use a good quality, low phosphorus growing media.

Tecomanthe hillii benefits from an application of a complete native gardens slow-release fertiliser to the soil during planting. Once established the vines can be fertilized lightly in Early spring each year with a very low phosphate slow release fertilizer. Although Tecomanthe hillii has low water needs once established, to achieve best results and a spectacular floral display it's best to water regularly but be sure to avoid over-watering or the roots of your vine will rot. As far as pruning goes, Fraser Island Creeper only requires an occasional trim as to keep it growing in your desired shape. Tecomanthe hillii transplants readily if the plant has not already become too intertwined with its support structure. The best time to transplants Fraser Island Creeper is during late Autumn or Winter. No particular pests or disease commonly affect this species.


Questions & Answers

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      • profile image

        lynda sharples 

        5 months ago

        My Fraser island creeper has given me a seed pod ? any hints on what to do now ?

      • profile image

        Bronwyn 

        10 months ago

        Thank you for your very informative information on the beautiful Frasor Island Creeper. Now I have to find a stockist in Brisbane .

      • profile image

        lynda sharples 

        10 months ago

        My fraser island creeper is in bud ....lots of flowers to come :) Brisbane Australia

      • TheNerdyGardener profile imageAUTHOR

        TheNerdyGardener 

        6 years ago from Brisbane, Australia

        While I think the weather might be alright in Southern California for it, I doubt it would be available. It's hard enough to find here, even though I live quite close to where it naturally grows. I've never seen it for sale outside of a few sellers on ebay and a few specialist nurseries who list their catalogs online.

      • alocsin profile image

        alocsin 

        6 years ago from Orange County, CA

        A beautiful plant. I'm wondering if it will grow here in Southern California, or if it's even available. Voting this Up and Interesting.

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