Snail vine blooms

Native to tropical South America and Central America the snail vine is a perennial climbing plant that can be germinated at anytime of year, although in cooler European climates it will need to be grown as a container plant so that it can be brought in under protection over the winter.

Snail vine botanical illustration
The snail vine is notable for its beautiful, yet unusual curled-shaped flowers that are reminiscent of a snail's shell. Vigna caracalla can also be found under the common names of corkscrew vine, snail creeper or snail bean.  Thomas Jefferson, the United States third president was so taken by it that he called this plant "the most beautiful bean in the world". This statement makes more sense once you know that like all humble, edible beans the snail vine is a member the Fabaceae family.

Before you sow snail vine seed they will need to be chipped or soaked in warm for 1-2 hours. Using pots or modular seed trays filled with a good quality compost such as John Innes 'Seed and Cutting, sow the snail vine seeds on the surface of the compost - do not bury them.

Because snail vine seeds require the presence of light to help initiate germination, lightly cover with more compost or fine grade vermiculite. Put the pots or tray in a heated propagator a temperature of between 21-25 degrees Celsius, alternatively seal inside a clear, polythene bag.

Place on the windowsill of a warm, bright room, however make sure that pots or tray do not receive direct sunlight as this can scorch the seedlings and dry out he compost. Germination should occur between 14-30 days. Once the seedlings begin to emerge, remove from the propagator or polythene bag and grow them on in cooler conditions potting on and watering as required.

For related articles click onto the following links:
Buy Musa lasiocarpa Seed
RHS Snail Vine

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