Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Corkscrew Vine
Vigna caracalla

Family: Papilionaceae (pa-pil-ee-uh-NAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Vigna (VIG-nuh) (Info)
Species: caracalla (kar-uh-KAL-uh) (Info)

Synonym:Phaseolus caracalla

10 vendors have this plant for sale.

137 members have or want this plant for trade.

Tropicals and Tender Perennials
Vines and Climbers

15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)

9-12 in. (22-30 cm)
36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun


Bloom Color:
Pale Yellow

Bloom Time:
Mid Summer
Late Summer/Early Fall


Other details:
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Flowers are fragrant
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From leaf cuttings
From softwood cuttings
From seed; sow indoors before last frost
By simple layering
By air layering
By serpentine layering

Seed Collecting:
Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds

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There are a total of 100 photos.
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50 positives
20 neutrals
7 negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Neutral nonmember On Nov 17, 2012, nonmember from Los Angeles, CA wrote:

Verdcourt created the name Vigna caracalla by transferring Phaseolus caracalla to the genus Vigna. They are by therefore definition identical plants. The problem is that Phaseolus speciosus (Syn. Vigna speciosa) or something very similar is often mislabeled as Phaseolus caracalla.

Neutral Dazzeee On Sep 30, 2012, Dazzeee from kyrenia
Cyprus wrote:

I have been growing Snail Vines for friends the whole summer, 30 all in all, and have had some great success. However, the last 4 i have, have developed what look like little white spots, but on closer examination, they are translucent spots. Does anyone have any idea what is causing this, and any idea on how to treat it?

Positive AmandaEsq On May 10, 2012, AmandaEsq from Greensboro, NC (Zone 7b) wrote:


I wanted to add my observations about seed starting this plant.

I think I mentioned that I'd received some seed in my newbie envelope - no idea how old it was, but I killed them all after I nicked the seed coat. All 3 seeds rotted.

Next, a friend shared a packet of seed from Burpee. I did what it said to do on the package - "plant in full sun after danger of frost." Nothing from 4 seeds.

Another DG friend shared 5 seeds with me. For hers, I poured boiling water on the seeds which cools by itself shortly and let them sit overnight in that same water as if it were any other seed that called for soaking before planting. Some people I've talked to have questions about this method - I did too, but it's as simple as it sounds.

I did not nick the seed coat. No other special treatment except I used a very fine seed starting mix. I kept the seed container in a south facing window and had all 5 seeds sprout within 10 days.

I went back and pulled the Burpee seeds and treated them to the boiling water overnight soak. I re-planted them in the same container which had an organic potting mix. A single sprout within a week or so. I went in and dug up the remaining seeds after a few more days. One seed was as hard as the day I planted it. Another seed was bloating and probably rotting. The last seed had a nice long root, but the seed coat had not freed itself and no sprout forthcoming. The seed looked yellow and sickly, not like the others that sprouted.

Besides the boiling, I think the seed starting mix vs. the potting soil and probably planting too deeply are the culprits in the failure to thrive of the Burpee seeds and my newbie seeds.

I now have 6 very vigorous seedlings, and I am waiting to see what happens to the 3 Burpee seeds which I replanted AGAIN (third time's a charm?) in the seed starting mix.

I think it's very important for DG members to share success information with difficult to propagate species. Please pay this forward...

Neutral BettyBeekeeper On Apr 27, 2011, BettyBeekeeper from San Jose, CA wrote:

Bought 5 seeds from one source & 5 seeds from another. Didn't know what I was doing with the 1st set (didn't know I should nick the shell before soaking), and they didn't germinate. Dug them up & nicked the ones that hadn't rotted. Did the same with the 2nd set. Still no action. Dug them up again, and noticed some were trying to break free of the shell, but needed more help. The shell was leathery at this point, so I very gently tore it open more. Planted some 1/4" down & left some slightly exposed on the surface of the soil. The exposed ones immediately started to sprout. In fact, I noticed the germ/seed meat turned green which means it must need sun for producing energy, right? I'm no expert, but I suggest nicking the seed, let it soak for a couple of days, tear the coating open a bit more, barely plant it in soil, & put it out in the sun during the day (bring it in at night in cool weather). Be aware that this plant is pollinated by ants, so don't plant it where you don't want ants. I plan to sell seeds & maybe seedlings next year.

Positive Acoustics4me On Oct 28, 2010, Acoustics4me from Gisborne
New Zealand wrote:

Wonderful vine with a stunningly beautiful fragrance. This vine is planted in full to part sun (it is very warm here in Gisborne, NZ) and dies off in the winter and returns in spring. Easy to prune.

There is indeed much confusion between the two similar vines. To the people who have posted that this vine is invasive, I'd say you have the Phaseolus Caracalla. Even on Wikipedia, the incorrect photo has been paired with the name Vigna Caracalla. And one of the pictures on here (the fourth one down posted by justaysam) is NOT Vigna Caracalla.

Make sure you get the correct plant, and you will love it!

Neutral Xeramtheum On Aug 6, 2010, Xeramtheum from Summerville, SC (Zone 8a) wrote:

The pictures of the solid purple vigna is NOT Vigna Caracalla. It is Vigna phaseolus caracalla.

Positive gary1173 On May 31, 2010, gary1173 from Sugar Land, TX wrote:

I planted one of these this year at the back of my border garden, at a climbing trellis along a fence. Within weeks it had climbed to over six feet high, covering the entire trellis, and is now doubling back on itself. The blossoms are just starting to appear, and they are beautiful. Although the photos show blossoms in violet, pink, cream, lavender, and white, mine seem to be almost completely lavender colored. The fragrance is so strong, I thought it was coming from roses I had planted nearby. A beautiful, easy-to-grow addition to my garden.

Update 12/09/10: Well, I think my plant is the phaseolus. It turns out that the fragrance was indeed coming from the roses nearby, my blooms are purely violet and have no scent. But it's still a beautiful vine, covering the entire wall (6' x 24') with lots of blooms. I've cut it back several times to keep it out of the neighbors yard, but it doesn't seem to choke out the other flowers in my garden. The frost we had last week has turned most of the leaves brown, but I'm sure the vine will return next year.

Positive Blackwill On Mar 29, 2010, Blackwill from Bakersfield, CA wrote:

I picked up two of these under the assumption that they were Vigna Caracalla (Corkscrew Vine). One of the starts took off like a house on fire, covering an entire wall of my home in it's first season, and bloomed profusely (pairs of non-fragrant lilac blooms on long stems). The other kind of limped along, and never produced any flowers. I have since pulled that one out and replaced it with Vigna Caracalla which I picked up as seed from Summer Hill Seeds.

Even though the plant I received was not the plant I ordered, I am still quite pleased with the Phaseolus. It did get a case of sooty mold from the aphids last Summer, and I cut it back hard in the Winter, but it has come back with a vengeance this Spring. I picked up some organic Insecticidal Soap to treat it this year, to keep the aphids at bay.

Though the growth is rampant and far-reaching, I did not notice any invasiveness. It meandered into other beds, and up over my garden gate, but didn't choke anything out. My Rosemary seems to like it, and they get along swimmingly :)

I'll keep the group posted on my Vigna, as well...I have three growing right now, and all three show promise. Can't wait for those alien-looking, fragrant blooms!!! My older brother is deathly afraid of "strange looking" plants, so the Vigna, coupled with my Black Bat Flowers and Cobra Lilys will certainly keep him at bay, as well...

Positive aussiemutha1 On Mar 25, 2010, aussiemutha1 from Drummond North - Victoria
Australia wrote:

I've had one of these for years and love it-It is not pollinated by Bees-You must have Argentine Ants-Kill the Ants and the cycle is broken-After wintering the new leaves form - do not trim or water or you will get reduced leaves and flowers with no scent-Mine are strong and heady like strong Magnolia scent-Fantastic-When the flowers clump up the ants go crazy cross pollinating-If you want house flowers just sit them in the sun-the ants will run away-the flowers are rather fragile and fall easily from the swellings they grow from-but the ants continue to work the little holes the flowers form out of and this is where the beans form-If you want twisted vine groups to culture lift to a tree and cut to sections at the end of season

Neutral redfordaz On Mar 24, 2010, redfordaz from Queen Creek, AZ wrote:

I really want to plant this vine off my back patio. I have three stucco columns that go up to a balcony. Any advice on how to train it to go up the wall? Trellace? Wire? Is it bad to have it growing on the stucco or near the house? Thanks in advance!

Neutral snowcountry On Feb 24, 2010, snowcountry from Brantwood, WI wrote:

I have not grown this plant, but I want to. All the information I've read is for warmer areas than mine - zone 4 - . Can anyone help? I can grow Cobaea, cup and saucer vine. that grows well in one season here.

Positive sylelliott On Sep 13, 2009, sylelliott from Chandler, AZ wrote:

I love this plant and it was growing wonderfully in a raised bed at my Chandler AZ home. About 2 weeks ago it started dropping leaves despite the same watering, temperature, etc. It now looks terrible and iIdon't know what's wrong with it or how to get it back to its previous state of robust growth. Does anyone have any ideas what happened and how to save it?

Positive cam2 On Aug 10, 2009, cam2 from Houston, TX wrote:

I LOVE this plant! I got a cutting several years ago and started in a hanging basket, where it bloomed happily; then moved it to a large pot, where it just got HUGE. 2 1/2 yrs ago we moved into our home now & I planted this in the ground and it has just taken over growing larger every year! It grows into the Cannas, roses and into the Brugmansia and snakes all over the deck, but never chokes the other plants, just grows and blooms ~ it's lovely and so easy to start.

Neutral cam2 On Aug 10, 2009, cam2 from Houston, TX wrote:

I have wanted this plant forever and finally broke down and ordered it from Logees. It is a beautiful specimen. My question is: will this live in a hanging basket?

Positive napdognewfie On Aug 8, 2009, napdognewfie from Cumberland, MD (Zone 6a) wrote:

I grew 2 from seeds last year. Both bloomed but only got 3 seedpods on one plant. Flowers smell very sweet, like candy to me. I let them go dormant for the winter. I left them in the pots (15" x 15") & poured about a cup or so of water on each one about once a month. The tops died back completely & I had my doubts that they were alive. This spring, I was happy to see them sprout & grow. One is blooming & the other has buds about to open.

Positive altoclef On Jul 15, 2009, altoclef from Los Altos, CA wrote:

It is planted in the ground, under an overhang, gets full morning sun, and is watered with the azaleas. Flowers bloom almost all year, but they are not fragrant. They are OK as cut flowers, or floating in a dish. It grew vigorously once I removed it from the container in which I had originally planted it. After 2 years in the ground there are no signs of invasiveness. No problems with pests of any kind. Los Altos, CA

Neutral WillowWasp On Jul 2, 2009, WillowWasp from Jones Creek, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

I have had this one several years now and I dont think I am as impressed now as I was at first. It's a pretty bloom but comes with a price I don't really need. To many dropped seed and plants springing up every where. I guess our tropical climate is just to good for it. I will try and not grow anymore after this year.

Negative NurseryNut On Jun 7, 2009, NurseryNut from Oakland, CA wrote:

Beautiful vine that covered the fence quickly, and wonderfully interesting flowers, but it attracted so many aphids and ants, I (sadly) ended up having to get rid of it after two years because I couldn't stand the constant battle.

Positive cocoloba On Jun 2, 2009, cocoloba from St John's
Antigua and Barbuda (Zone 10a) wrote:

Just ordered seeds from Summerhill after reading all the 'positive' comments, was a bit flawed by only 5 seeds so decided to try two methods, first I tried exactly what it said on the packet, two of two have come in just one week, and now I will try the others using a method by one of your bloggers, will let you know how it goes, I am zone 11 so think it will do well!

Positive lwhitern On May 18, 2009, lwhitern from Angleton, TX wrote:

I planted this vine two years ago around my dog's kennel and it has grown very rapidly, covering the entire kennel, which was the plan. It blooms all year long, even in the winter. However, I have read how wonderful the flowers smell and mine have no smell whatsoever. Can anyone tell me whats wrong?

Positive Coldoll On Mar 20, 2009, Coldoll from sydney
Australia wrote:

I live in Sydney, Australia and grew this plant from a seedling. It looks amazing and has covered the side fence, which was pretty ugly. I dies back in winter but doesn't lose all it's leaves. This year it flowered in spring, and now in autumn (fall!) it has flowered again. Great plant. I a going to take seeds and cuttings as I had a small one growing very well in a hanging basket, but it died over winter.

Positive lindwood On Mar 9, 2009, lindwood from Houston, TX wrote:

I bought this vine three years ago as a transplant. It is planted in a very drought prone part of my garden next to an arbor that it shares with Climbing Pinkie rose. The combination of the lavendar and white corkscrew shapes and the pinkie roses is exquisite. I thought the competing vines would be a problem, but they do quite well together. In winter the snail vine dies back and turns brown and brittle. It is very easy to pull the dead vines out from last year's snail vine and let it start all over again from the ground up. Mine blooms in mid to late summer. It's a very prolific climber

Positive Mojoquilter On Mar 4, 2009, Mojoquilter from Wichita, KS (Zone 6a) wrote:

I nicked 2 packets of seeds I got from Parks last year and set them to soak tonight. I'm keeping a hopeful eye on them for the next few weeks. I was pleasantly surprised that each packet of 5 had an extra seed included.

Positive lacybloomers On Jun 17, 2008, lacybloomers from Narooma
Australia wrote:

We have a wonderfully fragrant and delightful plant, contained by paving (we hope.)

Positive joeomar On May 19, 2008, joeomar from Elkhorn, NE wrote:

I started seeds bought from Park Seed and planted them in early May 2007, here in eastern Nebraska. The vines didn't start rapid growth until early July, and didn't flower until early August. However, once they started blooming they just went crazy - the vines totally covered my arbor and were incredibly loaded with flowers until as late as the end of October. Large dangling clusters of corkscrew flowers, purple streaks on a white background which faded to cream and then to yellow. Very fragrant, fragrance was noticeable from across the yard if the wind was right. I've already planted twice as many this year.

Positive vanillalotus On Aug 26, 2007, vanillalotus from San Antonio, TX wrote:

I bought seeds from Onal-Lee and they all are little sprouts now. I have had some difficulties with bugs but nothing big. Love these and can't wait until they take off and produce some blooms.

Positive ksanford On Aug 9, 2007, ksanford from Luling, TX wrote:

Love it!

Neutral Erika On Jun 7, 2007, Erika from Charlottesville, VA wrote:

I bought one of these at Monticello since I loved the scent and color. They told me they keep them in pots so that they can overwinter and bring them back out in the spring.

I have done this sucessfully with mine but I still have one problem. My vine grows like crazy but I have NEVER had one single bloom. Can anyone tell me why??

Positive kathyinaz On May 1, 2007, kathyinaz from Phoenix, AZ wrote:

I planted this two years ago here in Phoenix, AZ in full sun and was very happy with its growth, as it covered a big expanse of wrought iron railing. Then came the big freeze this past winter and it killed it. I'd buy it again, but as I have heard such complementary things about the corkscrew vine (vigna caracalla), I'd like to try that one.

Negative graceful_garden On Feb 27, 2007, graceful_garden from Hahira, GA (Zone 8b) wrote:

I agree that this plant is very agressive, at least in areas with long growing seasons, like here in South Georgia. I purchased it for a trellis 2 years ago, and within a few short weeks, it had covered the trellis, and wasted no time in covering a 15' x 40' planting bed. It froze to the ground that winter, so I thought I had escaped, but it came back in the spring - with a vengeance! My son & I dug it out this winter, after it died back - I hope we got it all - many of the stems had rooted where they touched the ground, so no telling!

Negative sturtle On Oct 27, 2006, sturtle from New Orleans, LA wrote:

I originally bought this plant from Spring Hill Nursery, believing that I was purchasing climbing shell vine (Vigna caracalla). What I they sent me, however, was snail vine, which proceeded, in less than a year, to take over not only my backyard, but also the backyards of three neighboors. It spreads as rapidly as kudzu and it's just as hard to kill--perhaps harder. I've not found any herbicides that work well on it. It might be affected by a freeze, but we haven't had one of those in New Orleans for several years now. Bottom line: I can't say enough bad things about this plant...

Positive tucker303 On Oct 15, 2006, tucker303 from Denver, CO wrote:

Annual here in Denver. Hot and hardly any humidity and it did great this summer. Planted 3 from seed (started indoors in March)...had it grow up an arbor I built and it was loaded with flowers! I would say about.....75. Even a few seed pods (but it did not ripen in time before frost). I will grow it always! Am trying cuttings to see if they root. Also dug the roots out to see if they keep over winter.

Positive ClaytonDT On Oct 7, 2006, ClaytonDT from Waco, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

This was the first year I had grown this vine. It is wounderful plant. The flower are breath taking as well as their fragrant. I was told the small ant are the pollinator. I did have the small ants on my vine until it started blooming. Then the large ants took over and ran the smaller one off. I just know I wouldn't get any seed pods. But I was mistaken, there were little gnat like insects in and around the blooms as well as something that looked like a very tiny earwig in the blooms. The larger ants didn't seem to attack these insect . I now have alot of seed pods

Positive emmaregina1 On Sep 17, 2006, emmaregina1 from Platte City, MO wrote:

I ordered two corkscrew flower vines from J&P and planted them in late April in Platte City, Missouri. I found an obelisk-type trellis and planted both tiny plants directly into the ground mixed with a couple of bags of manure. It wasn't long before they started winding their way up the trellis. By early to mid-summer, they had taken over the trellis completely. I knew blooms weren't due to come until late summer/early fall, but I started to get impatient as summer came to a close. Finally around the first week of September, tiny buds appeared all over, and the first bloom opened fully a couple of weeks later. Now it is mid-September, and several blooms are fully open and dozens upon dozens will open soon. The fragrance is like a light lilac/jasmine scent. I have loved every minute of having these vines and have had great success growing them in northwest Missouri!

Neutral tastefullyjulie On Sep 1, 2006, tastefullyjulie from Lewiston, NY wrote:

I also have a few of these growing in 1 gallon pots. I would like to know the best way to overwinter them here in NY. I thought I would cut them back and leave them in the pots in my basement but it stays around 68 degrees down there. I have only had them since July but they have grown a ton.

Neutral blugld On Aug 28, 2006, blugld from Fort Mill, SC (Zone 7b) wrote:

I received these plants kind of late but planted them and they are growing like the dickens but, so far, no blooms! Hope it does before cold weather.

Neutral Lynncelot On Jul 6, 2006, Lynncelot from Raleigh, NC wrote:

I was sold a seedling of what was supposed to be this plant and it has grown wonderfully but only produces purple flowers and has absolutely no scent.

Editor's Note

Most likely you received a Phaseolus caracalla
Positive cheryldawn On Feb 19, 2006, cheryldawn from Lakeland, FL wrote:

I live in Lakeland, in central Florida, USDA Zone 9a. I planted this by seed in August and it's growing well so far, even when temps went down to 29 overnight. I can't wait to see it bloom.

Positive Rose_of_Life On Oct 26, 2005, Rose_of_Life from Perry, MO wrote:

I received my plant in good condition in April. I planted it and it was dug up twice by our Siberian Husky pup looking for cool dirt. I replanted it and it survived and grew well. It covered a large area and some of the vines were 15-20 ft. It finally began blooming in September and the blooms are so fragrant. It is fun showing friends and family the vine and its luscious blooms. They are amazed at it and want to know where I got it. I have given out lots of clippings. It is a beautiful vine that I am very pleased with. It will have a special place in my garden here in Missouri every year. I am bringing in clippings tonite because a frost is coming. Later I will dig up the tuber roots and store them till Spring.

Neutral lindanat On Sep 23, 2005, lindanat from Asbury Park, NJ wrote:

Finally got my first blooms in early September!

I think that the weather finally got hot and nasty enough (sorry heat lovers!) around here for the whole month of August, and that's just what it seemed to need.

Love the flowers, but garden real estate is at a premium in my yard. Don't know if I'd devote the space next year.

Negative chunx On Sep 10, 2005, chunx from San Diego, CA wrote:

Applies only to So. Cal. readers: I bought the seeds from Park's Seed 2 years ago. They all sprouted and I transplanted them along my 6' fence to grow up a large 10' trellis. The first year, they were fine and didn't bloom much. This year, they took off and spread everywhere. By everywhere, I mean they invaded the neighbor's yard, my lemon tree is totally covered with the vine twining all the way through the branches, and it's spread out, up, over, etc. The blooms don't last too long, but this thing is tough once established. It's become impossible to control. I've cut it clear to the ground twice so far this year. It seems to grow faster than Morning Glories. I think the plants originated in China and the roots traveled through the center of the Earth and ended up in the U.S. I just hope full strength Round-Up applied this fall will finally do these things in.

Also, the Home Depot stores here carry the Snail Vine (Phaseolus caracalla) and try to pass it off as a Vigna caracalla. They had a ton of them staked in gallon pots for $4.95 (and labeled incorrectly), so I knew something was wrong. I finally saw one in bloom and knew it wasn't a Vigna. My neighbors had a Snail Vine that took over their palm trees, so they're very invasive also.

On a personal note, if I can't kill these things, the first person that brings a backhoe can did them up and have them. I guess the lemon tree will have come with them.

Positive lylelair On Aug 28, 2005, lylelair from Lexington, VA wrote:

This plant does quite well in my area. My father's plant has provided us with 4 seed pods this summer.

I purchased this plant with the name of "Shell Plant."
It does not winter over where I am located so I am excited that I can propagate this easily plus with the seed pods...finger's crossed.

Positive YLcalif On Aug 4, 2005, YLcalif from Yorba Linda, CA wrote:

We planted a Snail Vine at the base of an unattractive dying tree at our last home. The dying tree was readily clothed in fresh green leaves and purple flowers from the vine. At our new home, several of these vines were planted a few months ago along our fence which is against the unsightly backside of the neighbor's 20-foot high hedge. The vines are now weaving into the hedge sprinkling purple flowers throughout. Beautiful effect.

Positive lydiacr On Jul 10, 2005, lydiacr from Houston, TX wrote:

Beautiful apple green vine that really perks up with iron, but WHEN does it bloom? Says midsummer on the tag & it is the middle of July here in Houston and I don't see any blooms.

Positive sedgewyck734 On May 17, 2005, sedgewyck734 from Romulus, MI wrote:

Picked some seeds off the ground while hiking in Las Vegas several years ago. Forgot about them before finding them in a cupboard last winter. Soaked them overnight and then planted them in a pot hanging in our utility room. (This is Michigan so had to be inside.) They germinated and grew quickly. Blossoms were lovely and a much needed brightener to a long winter. I had no idea what the plant was until my son took a photo of it to Star Nursery in Vegas. Hope it will weather out on our deck this summer and then back in the house.

Neutral mickibh On May 14, 2005, mickibh from Blue Hill, NE (Zone 5a) wrote:

Just received two plants yesterday & am looking forward to experimenting with it. I hope it does do well in wind as out here in Nebraska the wind is almost always blowing.

Positive rh3708 On May 4, 2005, rh3708 from Westmoreland, TN (Zone 7a) wrote:

I Just got my order in from parks and they are nice looking plants.
I have heard so much about them here at DG and just had to have one.
I think I will put some in the sunroom and some outside.
I will let you know how they do for me in a few months.

well the one I had in the sunroom didn't do much so I put it on the trellis and it has grown more but still it is small,it only gets half a day of sun in that spot.
But the ones I have on a tree in full sun have done great and I think I will put them all on the tree next year.
I love this vine.

Positive ladyannne On May 2, 2005, ladyannne from Merced, CA (Zone 9a) wrote:

One of my top ten favorite plants with it's exquisite flower. I keep mine in a huge 24" pot, let it cover the side of the fish pond from spring to fall, (layering the tendrils for more plants all year) then trim it back and place it in the outside winter greenhouse for protection until the following spring.

Neutral spinster On Apr 15, 2005, spinster from Toronto
Canada wrote:

I love this plant. It is quickly becoming my favorite. This year I am trying to grow it, only problem is that I live in Canada and we have very cold winters.

Neutral DawnRain On Mar 21, 2005, DawnRain from Bartow, FL wrote:

I am glad I did a search on this one. A very nice lady from Ca. sent seeds that were dated 5 years old. I did not expect much, but most must have germinated. I now have many. And because I can read info here, I know not to plant them in the ground and take great care that they do not join my invasives. I will look forward to seeing the blooms. I am hoping for fragrance too.

Positive kareoke On Mar 20, 2005, kareoke from Greensburg, IN (Zone 6a) wrote:

I am sure this will not do good over winter here in my zone but it is growing nicely in a pot in front of my southern window, leaves are sprouting, and I will put it on patio this summer, hopefully will get flowers.

Positive critterologist On Mar 13, 2005, critterologist from Frederick, MD (Zone 6b) wrote:

I received 2 precious seeds in a trade and experimented a little trying to germinate them. Soaking the seed without first nicking it didn't result in germination, but after nicking & soaking again the seed did sprout, so nicking seems to be important.

I nicked the seed coat, then soaked it for 12+ hours in warm, half-strength chamomile tea (started out warm, anyway, obviously it cooled to room temperature). The seed plumped up considerably with soaking. Then I put the seed into a scrap of paper towel moistened with the same tea and into a sealed baggie. In 2 to 3 days, I had germination! Temperature was a pretty constant 80 degrees, which may also be key.

I'll report again when/if I have an actual plant!

Positive PudgyMudpies On Jan 9, 2005, PudgyMudpies from Stockton, CA (Zone 9a) wrote:

Update 08/2010 since they combined the Phaseolus & Vigna into one PF entry.

This is a must if you love beautiful flowers & wonderful fragrance. This is my third winter with this vine & while it does die back, it returns in the Spring ready to awe me all over again. I had to pick the seedpods green this year due to early freeze, and let them dry indoors. I was sure they were not viable, but of the 8 seeds I planted on Jan 1st, 2005, 6 are already sprouted. The seeds need to be nicked and soaked overnight in the hottest tap water you have, then planted in a seed starter mix & given bottom heat, mine stayed at 69 degrees.
I have been told this vine does not do well in shade, mine gets full sun in the morning and then again mid-late afternoon & thrives.
08/2010-this plant continues to return every year from the roots, I continue to pick the seeds green before the first frost & store inside in a paper sack, they will turn brown when ready to crack open. Seeds are viable.
The post I made below on Nov 16 2003 is regarding the Phaseolus Caracalla (Snail Vine).

Positive greymom On Nov 2, 2004, greymom from toledo, OH (Zone 5a) wrote:

Saw a picture in a catalog and had to have it. Couldn't find any seed, so I had to order the plant this spring. It arrived with 5 yellow leaves and was bone dry. It lived & does quite well in a container (zone 5). It has the lavender flowers, what I saw was the pink & cream, but I'm still happy. It's so unusual! Hopefully it will over-winter well & need a much bigger pot next spring! There were a few ants, but no seeds.

Neutral deenerlyn On Aug 22, 2004, deenerlyn wrote:

Positive robin68 On Aug 5, 2004, robin68 from Las Vegas, NV wrote:

This plant does so well in the Las vegas sun. Never had an aphid problem. Have a praying mantis living in it.

Positive sleepyblueyes On Jul 26, 2004, sleepyblueyes from Clayton, CA wrote:

I love this plant I havent noticed any aphids but feww ants, in warm weather it loves lots of wattering I leaf watter sometimes twice a day, every time I clip it back it will grow at least an inch and will bloom again all year round i have only had it yellow once and that was after a wrather lengthy storm, this is the first season i have gotten some long pod like seeds, i have vertilized with vitamine B1, and miricle grow, i also recently added a watter mister to it and it seems to love it.

Positive marvelousgarden On Jun 24, 2004, marvelousgarden from Orange, CA wrote:

Snail vine grows very well in zone 10. It does not lose its leaves in the winter here in southern California. Also the young flowers are quite tasty and add beauty to a salad!

Marvelous Gardens, CA zone 10

Neutral CaptMicha On Jun 19, 2004, CaptMicha from Brookeville, MD (Zone 7a) wrote:

This plants LOVES humidity and warmth. The only time it put on sigificant growth and the leaves actually opened (instead of laying flat and closed) was when it was in the 90's and VERY humid outside.

If the right conditions are provided, it'll grow well.

Positive ladyannne On Mar 31, 2004, ladyannne from Merced, CA (Zone 9a) wrote:

I love this plant, so unusual and the leaves are stunning. It requires ants to pollinate the flowers for seed, so I allow ants to run freely on it, yet I have never found seed one. I keep it in a pot and bring it in to the winter greenhouse so it stays green all year. Lots of cuttings are easily made from the one plant. I have read that if you trim it back Nov to Dec you will get blooms in Jan to Mar but I have not tried it yet.

Neutral amylh On Feb 4, 2004, amylh from Baltimore, MD wrote:

I purchased 2 of these from Logee's Greenhouse at a very reasonable price. They arrived in excellent condition and I put them in my kitchen window which is a southern exposure. After losing one and almost the other due to an aphid infestation and one very naughty kitty, I now have it in my bathroom window which also faces south. My bathroom does not have an exhaust fan and since it is now growing like crazy I assume it likes the warmth and humidity. I'll let you know when it blooms!

Positive PudgyMudpies On Nov 16, 2003, PudgyMudpies from Stockton, CA (Zone 9a) wrote:

This is a charming non-fragrant plant. Interesting blooms and readily availabe in our area at most nurseries. Mine freezes to the ground and rarely comes back.

Neutral bllee On Nov 2, 2003, bllee wrote:

I planted this plant as seeds in a container this year for the first time. The plant was quite vigorous. When it was planted it was expected to be an unusual bean. It was very unusual.
The seeds put out long tubers that infiltrated the container watering grids. To take them in for the winter (Pennsylvania gets cold) I had to cut the grids to get them out. I expect that in the ground they would be quite invasive and impossible to eradicate. Beautiful flowers but no seeds this year. Maybe next year. I will plant them in their own containers next year.

Positive desertheat On Oct 12, 2003, desertheat from Barstow, CA wrote:

I found this plant called Snail Vine at Walmart a few years ago. I'm drawn to unusual plants so I got it not knowing what to expect. The first couple years it didnt do much but the third year it took off and grew! I love it! I dont seem to have the aphid problems listed but I see ants on it but since they dont eat the plant I see no harm. Others have commented on how wonderul this plant is and want one too. I'll share mine. Here in the high desert of Southern California this plant starts blooming in July and goes til it gets nearly 30 degrees which is Mid November. It does die back each winter but comes right back in April- May. It takes no maintenance other than cutting it back a bit.

Positive azjane On Sep 13, 2003, azjane wrote:

I do like this plant. I use it on my fence for privacy, but in the month of September it turns all yellow and all the leaves fall off. Someone else in my neighbor has these also but they do not yellow and fall away. I irrigate them, so I'm not sure what the problem is.

Positive Sand_Aus On Sep 4, 2003, Sand_Aus wrote:

It is a beautiful, easy growing, fragrant and attractive vine. It attracts lots of spiders which is a real positive for natural bug control. In Australia I have only seen the cream variety with the purple centres which are also very beautiful. It is deciduous in colder climates which is very beneficial for blocking sun in summer and letting the sun filter through in winter. Stunning green foliage.

Negative palmbob On Sep 2, 2003, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

Have to agree with cmoon... very invasive vine. And a great attractor of aphids. To keep it aphid free would require weekly spraying... seems to attract ants, too, which love to run along it's highways about the yard (at least morning glory, the other nasty invasive vine in the yard, doesnt' attrract the ants). Hard to get rid of this plant, but it is at least somewhat sensitive to Roundup. Be very careful where you put this thing.

Positive Terry On Sep 2, 2003, Terry from Murfreesboro, TN (Zone 7a) wrote:

There seems to be some confusion among botanists and commercial sources on what to call Phaseolus caracalla and Vigna caracalla ("Snail Vine" or "Corkscrew Vine"? Which is which???) and whether or not they're synonyms.

Comparing the images should at least estabish that they are NOT the same vine. Whether P. caracalla is Snail Vine or Corkscrew Vine...who can say for sure? ;o)

Positive arizonagardener On Sep 1, 2003, arizonagardener from Casa Grande, AZ wrote:

About 4 months ago, we put in our back yard and needed a plant that would cover our back fence very fast! So we went to a local garden center and asked about this vine with very pretty flowers; we were told it was a snail vine. They told us it would do well so we bought 4 plants and spaced them about 4 ft apart. They have now been in for 4 months and you cannot see our fence at all - this vine is a fast grower. We are very happy with the way it has spread and covered our fence.

Tip" I dug a trench then planted the vine down in it so I could flood them; seems to work well for this vine! Water about 2 times a week (I also used a complete lawn food.)

Positive sdunn On Aug 2, 2003, sdunn from Williamsburg, VA wrote:

I went to Monticello and saw the plant and had to have it, it is so interesting. I bought it in the early fall I left it in the pot and cut it back to 1' and put it a dark area with no water (my crawl space under the house). In the spring I brought it out and it has grown well (I live in southeastern VA). The one odd thing is one plant is blooming (I bought 2) and the other has not bloomed, but is growing what looks like berries, not seed/bean pods.

Negative michaluna On Aug 1, 2003, michaluna wrote:

I planted this in May in Northern Virginia, and while the vine has grown quite well, it has yet to produce a single flower, and it is already August 1st. Ocassionally, a couple of leaves will turn very yellow and die. Also, the plant seems to turn slightly yellow at times. We have had plenty of rain here, and when we get a long dry spell I do water it. I have also fertizlied ocassionally.

Negative cmoon On Jul 22, 2003, cmoon from Corpus Christi, TX (Zone 9b) wrote:

Plant was here when I moved in. Is very invasive. I've tried removing it without sucess. But it is pretty. It climbs up and tries to pull down anything nearby,

Positive jules_jewel On Apr 16, 2003, jules_jewel from Plano, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

Purchased this from Monticello Thomas Jefferson Foundation. It arrived in excellent condition and by Federal Express all for $10.00

The bare root of this vine sure is funky looking. They said in the instructions that "the root you have received was grown from seed during last year's growing season. After growth died down in the fall, the tuber was removed from its pot and stored over winter in boxes of moistened sphagnum moss in an unheated room. Growth will begin anew as the season warms in late spring."

Positive GRANMOUSE On Oct 10, 2002, GRANMOUSE from San Angelo, TX wrote:

I have been very successful in transplanting this plant from cutting and planting in soil. Wonderful blooms. Great for fences and trellis. Will freeze, but will come back if ground does not freeze.

Positive seedpicker_TX On Sep 20, 2002, seedpicker_TX from (Taylor) Plano, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

My Corkscrew Flower didn't put out a great deal of foliage, and was a much slower grower than its counterpart(my snail vine), but the blooms have made up for it! Their curly(cream with violet accents) bloom clusters are very showy and smell like Arabian Jasmine-(at least to me). It is a strong scent, and can be smelled in the air without even getting up close to the bloom! If you get REALLY close, you can also see a blue with yellow marking inside the flower. Absolutely fascinating. Everyone that has seen mine says the same thing-"wow, what is that?"...

Positive seedpicker_TX On Sep 20, 2002, seedpicker_TX from (Taylor) Plano, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

This vine is great for a fast cover. It is a very vigorous grower, with dense and profuse foliage, and will get monster size in no time.
The blooms are beautiful purple swirly blooms. There are usually two to four blooms produced on horizontal-(to drooping) stems. It blooms constantly and consistently, from Spring to frost.
It puts a great deal of foliage. It also does not have the strong scent that its cousin the corkscrew does, but still worth growing.
Snail vine is extrememly easy to propagate. I have proagated these in wet sand with as little as one leaf petiole.
The pollinator for this flower is not the ant, though it was once believed to is the large carpenter bee/bumble bee.
Grab the "hood" of the flower and pull it up from the "lobster claw" parts of the flower, and you will see the reproductive flower parts emerge from the "swirl". This is esentially what the bee does each time he presses into the center of the flower, getting pollen on his back.
Great producer of seeds, if visited by these bees.
This returns from the ground each year for me here in zone 8a.

Positive dave On May 1, 2002, dave wrote:

The fragrance is out of this world, and the interesting flowers are a favorite of any visitor to our gardener. This plant will be in our gardens every year from now on.

A note: It is a tropical perennial, and not hardy in most of the United States. I grow the plant as an annual, and right before the frost, I take a few cuttings to overwinter until the next spring.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Birmingham, Alabama
Kinston, Alabama
Mobile, Alabama
Mesa, Arizona
Queen Creek, Arizona
Scottsdale, Arizona
Sun City, Arizona
Surprise, Arizona
Bakersfield, California
El Sobrante, California
Fremont, California
Hayward, California
Lakeside, California
Los Altos, California
Merced, California
Orange, California
Pasadena, California
Rancho Cucamonga, California
Rosemead, California
San Jose, California
Seal Beach, California
Stockton, California
Valley Center, California
Walnut Creek, California
Stonington, Connecticut
Alachua, Florida
Clearwater, Florida
Deland, Florida
Dunedin, Florida
Fort Myers, Florida
Jacksonville, Florida
Lakeland, Florida
Lutz, Florida
Mulberry, Florida
Ocoee, Florida
Wellborn, Florida
West Palm Beach, Florida
Zephyrhills, Florida
Blackshear, Georgia
Calhoun, Georgia
Gainesville, Georgia
Lula, Georgia
Patterson, Georgia
Kihei, Hawaii
Anna, Illinois
Salem, Indiana
Barbourville, Kentucky
Ekron, Kentucky
Louisville, Kentucky
Kentwood, Louisiana
Baltimore, Maryland
Cumberland, Maryland
Mathiston, Mississippi
Saucier, Mississippi
Perry, Missouri
Platte City, Missouri
Saint Louis, Missouri
Blue Hill, Nebraska
Elkhorn, Nebraska
Averill Park, New York
Lewiston, New York
Greensboro, North Carolina
Hope Mills, North Carolina
Lexington, North Carolina
Raleigh, North Carolina
Winston Salem, North Carolina
Cincinnati, Ohio
Dundee, Ohio
Council Hill, Oklahoma
Norman, Oklahoma
Beaverton, Oregon
Jenkintown, Pennsylvania
Lansdowne, Pennsylvania
Summerville, South Carolina (2 reports)
Lafayette, Tennessee
Lenoir City, Tennessee
Alvin, Texas
Austin, Texas
Chappell Hill, Texas
College Station, Texas
El Campo, Texas
Fort Worth, Texas
Freeport, Texas
Galveston, Texas
Harlingen, Texas
Houston, Texas (3 reports)
Kerrville, Texas
La Vernia, Texas
Liberty Hill, Texas
Luling, Texas
Mc Kinney, Texas
Plano, Texas
San Antonio, Texas (2 reports)
Spring, Texas
Sugar Land, Texas
Salt Lake City, Utah
Hampton, Virginia
Sterling, Virginia
Williamsburg, Virginia
Kalama, Washington
Vancouver, Washington

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