How to grow Cobaea scandens from seed

The 'Cup and Saucer' plant - Cobaea scandens is a gorgeous, sub-tropical tender perennial native to Mexico and tropical South America. While it can only be realistically grown as an annual in northern European climates it will be considered winter hardy in USDA Zones 9-11.

Cobaea scandens seeds
In warmer Mediterranean climates you can direct sow Cobaea scandens outside as soon as the threat of frost is over, but to make the most of our shorter northern European growing season you will need to sow Cobaea scandens seed any time between late winter to early spring.

Before you start, soak the seeds for a couple of hours in lukewarm water. Then sow the seeds on their edge in a seed tray containing good quality compost such as John Innes 'Seed and Cutting'. Give the seed a light covering of compost, and then water just enough to bed the seed and compost in but no more!

Place the tray in a heated propagator at a temperature of 18-24 degrees Celsius. If you do not have a propagator then seal the tray in a polythene bag and move to a warm, bright room that does not receive sunlight. Germination will usually takes 21-30 days, at which point you can remove the tray from it protective environment.

Cobaea scandens seedling
When seedlings are large enough to handle, they can each be transplanted into 5 inch pots and grown on in cooler conditions keeping them well watered. They will need to be acclimatise to outdoor conditions for 10-15 days before planting outside into their final position and even then only after all risk of frost has gone.

They can be planted 24 inches apart in any ordinary, well drained soil. Keep them in a sheltered spot and in full sun. In warmer climates they may need some shade at the hottest part of the day to prevent scorching. Be aware that when planting Cobaea scandens it will require a reasonably sized structure with which it can support itself while it grows.

For related articles click onto the following links:
Cobaea scandens
How to Grow Cobaea scandens from Seed
The Maypop - Passiflora incarnata

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