A vigorous vine and hard to ignore in the landscape. Although Cobaea takes awhile to start blooming, the vine itself will quickly make itself at home and create a screen or cover.
Cobaea scandens is a conversation starter. The flowers have a unique shape that merits both the common names of Cup and Saucer Vine and Cathedral Bells.
Flowers are cup-shaped pale green as they start to open, but quickly turn violet as they fill out. The opening buds have a somewhat unpleasant scent, but the fully opened flowers develop a floral-honey fragrance. The green calyces remain at the base of the flower and become the saucer.
Leaves - bright green, oblong leaves - and plenty of them.
Use Cobaea when you want a solid cover, to screen a fence, wall or ugly view. You can grow it in containers, but you'll need a large one and it will need to be weighted, to hold the weight of the vine and whatever support you include for it.
Cobaea scandens is not particular about soil pH. It does not need a rich soil, although some organic matter will keep it growing and blooming without additional fertilizer.
You will rarely find seedlings of Cobaea. The vines grow too quickly and become very tangled. You can direct seed, after all danger of frost or get a head start by starting seeds indoors, 6 - 8 weeks before your last frost.
Since the vines will get entangled, recommended starting them in separate pots. You will also find it helpful to insert a twiggy trellis immediately, to keep them under control.
Young Cobaea plants are sensitive to the cold. Give them some protection if the temperature dips. Start training your vines early and they'll take it from there. If you would like to control its size, you can pinch the stems when they reach the top of your support or eye level. This will encourage branching and bud setting.
Keep the vines watered regularly, but don't let the soil remain wet. Go easy on the fertilizer or you will get a lot of vine growth and few flowers. If necessary, side dress with compost in mid-summer.
Information source: http://gardening.about.com.
Genus - Cobaea
Species - Scandens
Variety - Violet
Common name - Saucer Vine
Pre-Treatment - Not-required
Hardiness zones - 4 - 11
Height - 2-5 m
Spread - 0,30 - 0,90 m
Plant type - Annual Flower, Vine
Exposure - Full Sun
Growth rate - Fast
Soil PH - Acid, neutral, alkaline
Soil type - Rich, humous, moist
Water requirements - Average, high
Landscape uses - Solid cover, screen a fence, wall, grow in large containers with support
Leaf / Flower color - Bright green / Violet
Direct sow after all danger of frost or start seeds indoors, 6 - 8 weeks before your last frost.
The seeds flat and tough. Soaking them in water, the night before planting, seems to help speed germination. Germination can be erratic, but you should see sprouts within 2 -4 weeks.
When planting, tuck the seeds into the soil vertically, with the longest edge facing down, and barely cover with soil. Don't worry too much about positioning the seeds perfectly, but placing them flat and covering them with soil can cause them to rot.
They also prefer a warm soil ~+20C. Heat mats or placing the seed trays on top of the refrigerator will accomplish this.
Info source: http://gardening.about.com
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