Any flowering vine recommendations? (SoCal Climate)

SinLA

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Seems like most vines are not tortoise friendly. I have a spot to plant a vine in my backyard (NOT in the tort enclosure) and I'd always rather plan something that can make tort-edible flowers if possible. Any suggestions (not grapes, nothing with fruit if possible)? All the "typical" vines I've run into are no go's (Mandevilla, morning glory, etc). I can choose to not do a vine in this area, but I'd really like to if I can find one that is a good choice?

E
 

SinLA

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Grape vine. You get the grapes tortoises get the leaves. Win, win.
Also both I and my neighbor have Dogs and this vine would/could drop grapes in either yard, and grapes are toxic to dogs
 

Tom

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Yep the rats would love them. Prefer something that won’t encourage critters
I grow tons of grape vines and produce zero grapes. In spring when the grape vines come back, I spend about 5 minutes per large mature vine clipping the little baby budding grape clusters. They don't attract critters until they are fully ripened and sweet. I cut them off months before that point, and then mix the cut baby grapes into my 5 gallon buckets of food, because they are not sugary at this point. I'm out in the country with mice, rats, squirrels, rabbits, birds, raccoons, etc... and none of them mess with my grape vines.

Likewise with squash. The "fruit" comes from fertilized blooms. Cut off and feed out every bloom, and you'll never have anything for the rats or birds to come and eat. If a squash or cucumber does start to form from a bloom you missed, simply cut it off and feed it to your tortoise.

I don't know of any decorative types that are not toxic.
 
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Honeysuckle is great.

Have you considered a climbing rose? Lady Banks roses are nice, but they only flower once in spring. I would bet there is another type of climbing rose that has a longer bloom season that would be better for more abundant flowers for food.

If you're open to Tom's suggestion to cull/feed flowers before they fruit then I recommend Rampicante Squash. It is a prolific vining type of squash. They would need to be planted annually though.
 

RosemaryDW

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Tacoma Stans; yellow bells.

Native California desert tortoise food; can be trained against a wall; flowers and leaves edible. Normally grows into a large brushy shrub but we have three growing against our back fence, with one sturdy wire support.

While the native flower is bright yellow ours is orange flowered and currently in heavy bloom. Looks familiar to a tropical honeysuckle. We keep it clipped back to encourage a longer bloom period; otherwise the spent flowers develop into fairly long pods.

It took our Russian about a year to start eating more than the flowers but she will self feed off leaves that she can reach.

Hummingbirds love it too!

5893F39A-D317-4D85-B730-80C63F11B289.jpeg
 

Tom

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Tacoma Stans; yellow bells.

Native California desert tortoise food; can be trained against a wall; flowers and leaves edible. Normally grows into a large brushy shrub but we have three growing against our back fence, with one sturdy wire support.

While the native flower is bright yellow ours is orange flowered and currently in heavy bloom. Looks familiar to a tropical honeysuckle. We keep it clipped back to encourage a longer bloom period; otherwise the spent flowers develop into fairly long pods.

It took our Russian about a year to start eating more than the flowers but she will self feed off leaves that she can reach.

Hummingbirds love it too!

View attachment 347729
Can this be cultivated from cuttings?
 

SinLA

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I grow tons of grape vines and produce zero grapes. In spring when the grape vines come back, I spend about 5 minutes per large mature vine clipping the little baby budding grape clusters. They don't attract critters until they are fully ripened and sweet. I cut them off months before that point, and then mix the cut baby grapes into my 5 gallon buckets of food, because they are not sugary at this point. I'm out in the country with mice, rats, squirrels, rabbits, birds, raccoons, etc... and none of them mess with my grape vines.

Likewise with squash. The "fruit" comes from fertilized blooms. Cut off and feed out every bloom, and you'll never have anything for the rats or birds to come and eat. If a squash or cucumber does start to form from a bloom you missed, simply cut it off and feed it to your tortoise.

I don't know of any decorative types that are not toxic.
Tacoma Stans; yellow bells.

Native California desert tortoise food; can be trained against a wall; flowers and leaves edible. Normally grows into a large brushy shrub but we have three growing against our back fence, with one sturdy wire support.

While the native flower is bright yellow ours is orange flowered and currently in heavy bloom. Looks familiar to a tropical honeysuckle. We keep it clipped back to encourage a longer bloom period; otherwise the spent flowers develop into fairly long pods.

It took our Russian about a year to start eating more than the flowers but she will self feed off leaves that she can reach.

Hummingbirds love it too!

View attachment 347729
I thought these were toxic (trumpet vine family?)
 

RosemaryDW

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I thought these were toxic (trumpet vine family?)
I would say the science on this--presumably from the Tortoise Table--is not very solid. They are referring to human studies, not reptiles. But of course you should only feed what feels safe to you.

At any rate, if you wanted to feed only flowers from this plant you'd have them for about four months a year.

We have a native California grape as well if you want to go that way; it doesn't need much care. Not my tortoise's favorite but she will sometimes eat the leaves. The native vine leaves out later than a table grape and thus stay green later into the fall. Maybe something to consider if you are trying to grow at a certain time of the year. As mentioned above you can easily cut off any flower cluster but wild grapes are sour enough you could worry a bit less about the occasional one sneaking through.

Good luck!
 

RosemaryDW

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Can this be cultivated from cuttings?
Hmm, that I can't claim to know. The internet describes it as a pretty simple process once the parent plant has reached a certain size.

We don't have the space you do and the yellow version is pretty common at our nurseries so it's never crossed my mind to try. :)
 

Tom

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Hmm, that I can't claim to know. The internet describes it as a pretty simple process once the parent plant has reached a certain size.

We don't have the space you do and the yellow version is pretty common at our nurseries so it's never crossed my mind to try. :)
The ones for sale at the store will be full of the usually systemic pesticides. Cuttings from an established plant like yours would be good to go immediately. I want to plant them inside the enclosure, but with some protection around the base until it gains some size. I'm sure leaves and flowers will drop off and the torts will have access to them. I plan to start them in pots when I find a good source plant, and transfer to the ground when they outgrow their pots.
 
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The ones for sale at the store will be full of the usually systemic pesticides. Cuttings from an established plant like yours would be good to go immediately. I want to plant them inside the enclosure, but with some protection around the base until it gains some size. I'm sure leaves and flowers will drop off and the torts will have access to them. I plan to start them in pots when I find a good source plant, and transfer to the ground when they outgrow their pots.
Let us know if you have success propagating them from cuttings. Mine are barely growing back still from Winter and not old enough to be a good clean source yet, or I would offer to share. If you haven’t found any by maybe October let me know!

I have yellow, but the orange have what looks like larger flower clusters (though maybe slightly smaller flowers?) based on some videos I’ve seen so I will be looking to add one of those at some point.
 

SinLA

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Thanks all, I’m going to look for the flowers. I really don’t want to have to manage the gape vine esp if it grows large. Too risky for the dogs…
 
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