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.
Growing Instructions for the Butterfly Pea
- The seeds have a hard seed coat that has to be scarified to let water into the seed. Scarify the seeds by nicking or sanding the seed coat. The seeds can be sanded with sandpaper, a nail file or an emery board. 2. Soak the seed in water for several hours. 3. The seeds like moist, well-drained soil. Use a sterile seed starter mix, if available. It prevents soil fungi from damaging the seeds and the seedlings. If not available, then make a mixture of half potting soil and half sand, perlite or vermiculite. Put the soil in a pot. 4. Put the seeds on the soil. 5. Cover the seeds with a thin layer of soil. 6. Water the mixture so that it is moist but not wet. 7. Place the pots in an area with warm temperatures in full sun or part shade. 8. When the seedlings are a few inches tall, they can be transplanted.