COBAEA SCANDENS

Cobaea scandens

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Cobaea scandens is a popular and highly ornamental garden plant grown in northern European and American gardens. It is a flowering perennial from the tropical Americas which sadly means that it is not hardy enough to survive all year round for those of us who live in northern Europe. Cobaea scandens will therefore requires protection from winter frost and winds. Be that as it may, it grows readily from seed and is vigorous enough to reach maturity by the summer at which point it will produce copious amounts of large, bell-shaped purple flowers.

Cobaea scandens - Pancrace Bessa (1772-1835)
In colder climates it can only be grown as an annual, where you can expect it to reach 10-20 feet in a single season.

Native to Mexico and tropical South America, the genus Cobaea is named after Father Bernardo Coba who was a Spanish Jesuit missionary and botanist during the 18th century.

Commonly known as the 'cup and saucer' vine it is a vigorous, rapid-growing, tendril-climbing vine that can typically grows to 30-40 feet in its native habitat. The common name refers to its bell-shaped flowers (the cup), each of which is subtended by a large green calyx (the saucer).

Each flowers will last about 4 days. They emerging as green buds but as the flower matures it turns to beautiful deep purple colour. A white flowering cultivar exists known as Cobaea scandens f. alba.

The flowers produce a fragrant musky perfume and are reportedly pollinated by bats.

Cobaea scandens will grow happily in any fertile, well-drained soil. It will prefer to be in full sun, but will require some afternoon shade over the summer in hot climates to prevent the scorching of new growth.

If you intend to bring your Cobaea scandens under protection over winter then you can always consider growing it in a large container, just be aware of its capacity to grow!

 Cobaea scandens gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit in 1993.

Pancrace Bessa (1772-1835) image is in the public domain because its copyright has expired.

For related articles click onto the following links:
BUY 'CUP AND SAUCER' PLANT SEEDS
Cobaea scandens
HOW TO GROW BEAUMONTIA GRANDIFLORA
HOW TO GROW COBAEA SCANDENS FROM SEED
THE GOLDEN CHALICE VINE - Solandra maxima
THE JADE VINE
THUNBERGIA MYSORENSIS - The Indian Clock vine

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