Cup & Saucer Vine – Cobea

This plant has a lot of names:  Cup & Saucer Vine, Cathedral Bells, or Cobea are just a few of them.  This lush, vigorously growing vine has its origins in the south western parts of the United States, Central America and parts of northern South America.  The thing that makes this a garden favorite is its ‘energetic’ vining growth habit and its bell shaped flower that turns from green to purple over 3 days.  Cobea climbing up a trellis can add height to containers, can be used as a privacy screen, and it can add coverage to fences. The flowers make it so delightful – most climbing plants that are this vigorous don’t flower.

How does one grow Cobea?

Cobea likes to grow in full and partial sun locations, getting a minimum of 4 hours of sunlight so it will bloom.  It doesn’t like to be up against a hot wall that reflects heat because it may burn.  That kind of a hot location is good for Clematis, Hops, Virginia Creeper, Honeysuckle (Lonicera), and Black Eyed Susan vine.  If Cobea is in a full sun location, like a southern or western exposure, let it be over a trellis or gate that is standing away from a really hot area.

Plant Cobea in a good quality soil that drains well and keep it evenly moist. If you are planting it in the ground, dig a generous hole and add some good quality soil to place it in.  Fertilize it weekly.  Our favorite fertilizer – and the one that we use in our greenhouse – is called Nature’s Source.  It’s a natural fertilizer that we feel make blooms brighter and is great for overall plant growth.  Other good options are 20-20-20 and Miracle Grow 15-30-15.  Remember to check labels for the fertilizer dilution instructions. For more details on fertilizer, click this link to our blog on Unwinding The Fertilizer Numbers.

Cobea blooms a little later in the season, toward the middle or end of July, but it is definitely worth the wait.  Watching the trumpet shaped blossom transition from green to purple is amazing.  It’s hard to decide which stage is the most beautiful and the full colored purple flowers are long lasting.  As it continues to bloom, you will have a collection of flowers in the various stages of development.

If you haven’t tried Cobea, put it on your ‘to do’ list – we carry it in our basket stuffer department each year.   Always feel free to call us at 780-467-3091 with your gardening questions, or send us an email – we are happy to dialog with you to help your gardening adventures be successful!