Rare Plant, Snail Flower Vine (SHIPPING INCLUDED)

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$40.00

Quick Overview

RARE PLANT – Snail Flower Vine – Vigna Caracalla

FULL SUN Snail Flower is a vine, Vigna Caracalla, which can easily grow to 20 feet, but can also be easily maintained with pruning. The grape-size clusters of corkscrew blossoms are white with blushes of purple, lavender and pink. They produce the sweetest, most pleasant fragrance imaginable.

With the exceptions of Hardiness Zones 9-10, Snail Flower should be grown in a pot – 1 plant per 10-12 inch pot. During its first year it will bloom very late in the season like late August, September or October. In subsequent seasons, it will bloom earlier and earlier. The potted plants last for decades. I have had my Snail Flowers, the mother plants from which all of the seedlings we sell are grown, for 17 years and it is still going strong in the same pot.

During the winter, bring the plant indoors and cut the foliage back to the soil. Treat it like a houseplant, but keep trimming the foliage which grows 6-12 inches per week. In the spring, when the nighttime temperatures are routinely in the high 50s, bring the plants outside. My Snail Flowers now begin to bloom in early to mid-July. I feed them blossom booster fertilizer when I water year round.

Scientific Name Native to Plant Height at Maturity Plant Width at Maturity Hardiness Zones Type
Vigna caracalla Central America Height–20 feet Width–2-3 feet 9-11 Perennial

**If maintained as a houseplant optimum size is: Height – 24 inches, Width – 1 foot
**Can be maintained as a houseplant in a 10-12 inch pot

Rare Plant, Snail Flower Vine

One of the many stunning experiences to be enjoyed at Thomas Jefferson’s Virginia home, Monticello, is viewing the “teepees” of Snail Flower grown in Jefferson’s hanging gardens. In 1792, Thomas Jefferson wrote to Benjamin Hawkins (his dear friend and eventually a senator),

“The most beautiful bean in the world is the Caracalla bean which, though in England a greenhouse plant, will grow in the open air in Virginia and Carolina.”

The plant is native to South and Central America and was being grown in American gardens by the 1830s. Robert Buist wrote in The American Flower Garden Directory,

“Snail-Flower is a very curious blooming plant, with flowers … all spirally twisted, in great profusion when the plant is grown well.”

L. H. Bailey, perhaps Cornell’s most famous horticultural scientist, in his 1929 magnum opus – a 3639 page, 3 volume treatise titled The Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture noted that,

“It is an old-fashioned glasshouse plant in cold climates, but is now rarely seen.”

Snail Flower is a vine, Vigna Caracalla, which can easily grow to 20 feet, but can also be easily maintained with pruning. The grape-size clusters of corkscrew blossoms are white with blushes of purple, lavender and pink. They produce the sweetest, most pleasant fragrance imaginable.

It is most easily propagated from cuttings, because the seeds have very poor germination. Only approximately 40% germinate. Cuttings should be taken in the spring and early summer. If taken in the fall or winter, there is a much diminished chance for success.

If you ever decide to grow this magnificent plant, you will never be without one. It took someone of Thomas Jefferson’s intellect and appreciation for all things rare and beautiful to recognize just how extraordinary the Snail Flower is.

The Best Soil Mix for Containers
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9SIBFuSY1Nc&t=132s

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