How To Grow Torenia or Wishbone Flower in The Shade Garden

Torenia or Wishbone Flower is a delightful small flowering shade to part shade annual (resembles a small pansy) that is perfect for container gardening.

A native of Vietnam it is well-adapted to heat and humidity. I used to grow several varieties at our nursery because it filled some special niches in container gardening and we loved it for it's small violet blue blossoms.

A fact you an use at cocktail parties is that the name comes from the two stamens coming out of each flower that are shaped into a "wishbone"

sweet pea flowers

Torenia 'Grape o Licious'

I purchased the above, newer variety of Torenia in spring 2013 to run some container trials with it and you can see the link to reviews at the bottom of this page.

Considering the downy mildew problem with impatiens, I thought it was time to start testing alternatives.

Basic torenia growing information

Sun: shade to part shade

Height: 10-12 inches

Space apart: 8 inches

Main use: containers or potted plants

Flowers: shades of purple with different colored eye depending on variety.

Time from seed to flower: 12-16 weeks under greenhouse conditions

Cold tolerant: not tolerant at all. Tender

sweet pea flowers

Torenia from seed

Taking cuttings

Use simple, regular methods to take cuttings from this plant to get more for your garden.

Note: Click here for all propagation methods - from cuttings to sowing seed - covered in detail on my other website in the propagation section

Sowing Your Own Seed


Sow seed into warm soil at 70F (21C) and if you don't use a heat mat, you're wasting your time. Should germinate in 10 days.

Cover as it prefers darkness and the way to do this is to firm the soil with your hand before sowing and dust the seed (they're fine) onto that firmed soil Then cover *very* lightly with other soil.

Once seedlings are germinated, give full sunlight and 70F day and 60F night temperatures. If you deviate on these temps, you may find the seedlings get leggy.


Sow outdoors as above (firm soil, press seed into it and cover lightly) Thin seedlings to 8-inches apart.

Sow some seed about 8 weeks before frost and dig them up to pot up for the house blooms.

New Varieties From Cuttings - are being produced by specialist propagators - only come true from cuttings. See review below for an example.

The fine print

Deer resistant and heat tolerant. Two perfect combinations! :-)

You don't have to deadhead and pick off the flowers as they are "self-cleaning".

This isn't a showy plant but a perfect small pot plant or addition to the container planting

Best growing tip: use in containers and don't be afraid to pinch off the growing tips to thicken up the growth.

Click Here For Gardening For Beginner Gardening ebook

Book cover Gardening Non Gardening

Torenia Plant Reviews

Torenia 'Grape-O-Licious' from Proven Winners is one of the first generation of improved Torenia

Shopping Resources for Products Mentioned on This Page

Click here for Torenia Seeds and Plants

Want A Stunning Garden? Click Here For Your Free Lessons