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Cobaea scandens (photo courtesy of Thomas J. Story)
Cobaea scandens (photo courtesy of Thomas J. Story)

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Zone
Zones 3-24, H1, H2
Full Sun
Full
Regular Water
Moderate

Cobaea scandens

Cup-and-Saucer Vine
Polemoniaceae
Annuals, Perennials, Vines, Flowers

Perennial usually grown as an annual. An extremely vigorous Mexican native that can grow to 25 ft. tall in only one season. Its bell-shaped flowers are first greenish, then turn violet or rose-purple. There is also a white-flowered form. Called cup-and-saucer vine because a 2-in.-long cup of petals sits in a large, green, saucerlike calyx. Leaves are divided into two or three pairs of oval, 4-in. leaflets. At ends of leaves are curling tendrils that enable vine to climb rough surfaces without support.

Blooms first year from seed. May not bloom until very late summer in coolest climates. In mildest-winter areas, lives from year to year, eventually reaching over 40 ft. long; blooms heavily in midsummer the first year, from spring to autumn in subsequent years.

The hard-coated seeds may rot if sown outdoors in cool weather. Start indoors in 4-in. pots; notch seeds with a knife and press edgewise into moistened potting mix, barely covering seeds. Keep moist but not wet; transplant seedlings to a warm, sunny location when weather warms. Protect from strong winds.

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