The Tropical Butterfly Pea is an herbaceous perennial vine from the American tropics that has lovely, pink flowers. It is a trailing or climbing plant that forms a good groundcover in fields. It is widely used as a forage and cover crop in the tropics because it is easy to grow, it is tolerant of nutrient poor soils and it is drought tolerant. It has nitrogen-fixing bacteria in its roots which enrich the soil. Native to Central and South America. The butterfly pea can be grown as an annual and as a container plant in temperate regions. Hardy in zones 10-12.
Growing Instructions for the Tropical 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.