Are you feeling this? Won't you join me...in the purple rain? As the above image hints...something vivid...something vibrant is making itself known. Question. Are you experienced? Well, if not, welcome to the lush and luxurious world of Cobaea scandens, commonly referred to as the Cup-And-Saucer Vine or Cathedral Bells Vine. Here is a case of a plant that I absolutely love to grow. Why? Well, for me, it has been one of the easiest plants to grow and it really delivers what a plant-a-holic, such as myself, craves. It's got it all!
The foliage of Cobaea scandens forms on whip-like vining tendrils and stems of jungle green, with some bits steeped in rich warm color. The foliage, itself, emerges in pistachio and rich pinot noir hues. As the foliage matures, it settles on a sophisticated elliptical form that radiates a luxuriously rich palette of soothing green combinations.
In midsummer, papery lantern-like flower buds emerge from the fabric of its foliage signaling a forecast for an opulent outpouring of fantastical-floral-lusciousness . The sepals of the flower open to form a saucer-like shape from which strong petals make themselves known and iris open to form a cup-like floret to accompany its saucer.
The results are stunning and can satiate even the finickiest of floral appetites! The flowers are sizable, 4-5 inches, but not too big. At first, as flowers open, they appear void of any color. But in the day to follow the petals will blush in colors of pink and soft lilac. Then, usually, on day two after opening, the flowers are a flood of rich, vibrant purple color. The color is so true and so affecting that you'll be hard pressed to not fall under its spell of tropical allure.
Cobaea scandens can be treated as an annual vine in areas where temps fall below 25 degrees fahrenheit/-3 degrees celsius. In temperate areas it will remain perennial. Vines can grow up to 25 feet long. It can engulf a fence or trellis in one season and kick out an amazing display of flowers from summer through late autumn. It likes full sun to part shade conditions, regular to fertile, well-draining soil, average water, and the occasional feeding of fertilizer. In areas where it remains perennial, cutting back vines at the start of the following growing season can encourage bushier, lush growth.
I originally got a 4" container start of Cobaea scandens from the amazing Annies Annuals. Later on, I found that Botanical Interest have seed for it. I also, hope to have a nice crop of it for sale next spring at The Plant Provocateur shop. It is so well worth planting! Wait, what? The Plant Provocateur shop. What is he on about now?