The Butterfly Pea is a stunning tropical vine with bright green, compound leaves and rich, cobalt-blue flowers. It is an evergreen climber that typically grows on slender stems to 10' (less frequently to 15') tall. It will trail through a shrub to 6'. It is native to equatorial Asia. This climber features compound odd-pinnate leaves (to 5" long), each with 5-9 elliptic to ovate rich green leaflets. Pea-like, clear blue flowers (2" diameter) with yellowish centers bloom singly or in pairs from summer to fall. Fruits are flattened pods. It is a perennial plant in the tropics but it is grown as an annual in temperate regions. It has a fast grow rate and it can bloom in a couple of months when grown from seed. In climates where temperatures do not dip below 60 degrees F., this tropical climber may be grown outdoors as a short lived perennial in evenly moist, fertile, well-drained soils in full sun. It appreciates some light afternoon shade in hot climates. It needs a support on which to climb. Where temperatures dip below 60 degrees F., this plant may be grown in a greenhouse. It is easily grown from seed.
The seeds can be sown on the ground in the spring or summer or they can be planted in pots at any time of the year.
- The seeds like moist, well-drained soil. Prepare a mixture of half potting soil and half sand, perlite or vermiculite. Put the soil in a pot. Water the mixture so that it is moist but not wet.
- Put the seeds on the soil.
- Cover the seeds with a thin layer of soil.
- Water the seeds.
- Place the pots in an area with warm temperatures in full sun.
- When the seedlings are a few inches tall, they can be transplanted.