Butterfly Pea, Blue Pea Vine
Clitoria ternatea

Family: Papilionaceae (pa-pil-ee-uh-NAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Clitoria (klih-TOH-ree-uh) (Info)
Species: ternatea (tern-AH-tee-uh) (Info)
View this plant in a garden

Category:

Annuals

Tropicals and Tender Perennials

Vines and Climbers

Height:

4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)

8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)

10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)

12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)

Spacing:

3-6 in. (7-15 cm)

Hardiness:

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

Sun to Partial Shade

Danger:

N/A

Bloom Color:

Medium Blue

Dark Blue

Blue-Violet

Purple

Bloom Time:

Mid Summer

Late Summer/Early Fall

Foliage:

Evergreen

Smooth-Textured

Other details:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:

Non-patented

Propagation Methods:

From seed; sow indoors before last frost

From seed; direct sow after last frost

Scarify seed before sowing

Seed Collecting:

Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds

Regional

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

Grenoble,

Attalla, Alabama

Jones, Alabama

Phoenix, Arizona

Fort Smith, Arkansas

Dinuba, California

Rancho Calaveras, California

Altamonte Springs, Florida

Boca Raton, Florida (2 reports)

Bradenton, Florida

Bradley, Florida

Clermont, Florida

Daytona Beach, Florida

Defuniak Springs, Florida

Deland, Florida

Fort Pierce, Florida

Hollywood, Florida (2 reports)

Miami, Florida

Naples, Florida

Plant City, Florida

Pompano Beach, Florida (3 reports)

Port Charlotte, Florida

Rockledge, Florida (2 reports)

Satellite Beach, Florida

Spring Hill, Florida

Stuart, Florida

West Palm Beach, Florida

Patterson, Georgia

Thomson, Georgia

Villa Rica, Georgia

Haiku, Hawaii

Kihei, Hawaii

Barbourville, Kentucky

Baton Rouge, Louisiana (2 reports)

Belle Rose, Louisiana

Slaughter, Louisiana

Youngsville, Louisiana

Pinckney, Michigan

Washington, Michigan

Brandon, Mississippi

Allentown, New Jersey

Angola, New York

Dundee, Ohio

Salem, Oregon

Mercer, Pennsylvania

Arlington, Texas

Austin, Texas

Bacliff, Texas

Bryan, Texas

Floresville, Texas

Garland, Texas

Harlingen, Texas

Houston, Texas (3 reports)

Katy, Texas

Magnolia, Texas

Needville, Texas

Point, Texas

Port Arthur, Texas

Portland, Texas

Rosenberg, Texas

Spring, Texas

Smithfield, Virginia

Everett, Washington

Kalama, Washington

Spangle, Washington

show all

Gardeners' Notes:

26
positives
3
neutrals
0
negatives
RatingContent
Positive

On Aug 31, 2014, prakashbabu from coimbatore
India wrote:

i want to know any other colours than blue,white available if amy one can find red or yellow please let me know

Positive

On Aug 5, 2014, sueroderus from Bluffton, SC wrote:

Beautiful vine as others have already said. It is one of the host plants for the Long-tailed Skipper (Urbanus proteus). and this week a female layed eggs on my plant. In my zone 8b it will probably not come back unless we have a mild winter. So far I have not had seeds, but will keep hoping.

Positive

On Oct 5, 2013, megcan from Fort Smith, AR wrote:

I was introduced to this flowering vine in Thailand. We were served Butterfly Pea in the form of cool aid. It was very refreshing. We were then told that it was good for high cholesterol and the flower could be eaten. We tried one and it had a mild sweet taste.
When we came home to Arkansas, I planted two seeds after soaking them until a small root appeared. I was pleased to have a flowering vine growing up a trellis in about 6 weeks. Since then I have shared this mysterious plant with my friends. We have made a drink with it, added it in salads, added it in cookie dough and eaten the flowers picked fresh off the vine.
I only knew the Thai word for this plant, OnChuen, until a Thai couple came to visit. I asked if they were familiar with OnChuen and they said yes. As it ... read more

Positive

On Sep 5, 2013, yingthai from Phoenix, AZ wrote:

I grew mine from seeds that I bought from a U.S. sellers on eBay. They're producing beautiful flowers right now. You can use them in salads or grind them with a little water and use the liquid as natural food color.

Positive

On Aug 20, 2013, Rhensrude from Everett, WA wrote:

I live in Everett, WA, about 30 miles north of Seattle. I purchased the seeds from Thompson and Morgan. I sowed them under grow lights with bottom heat in April. I noticed my first bloom tonight with more buds on the way.
The vines were planted in a large container with a trellis to climb. We've had a warm summer. The container is on the east side of our house.
I will plan on starting them earlier next year. The flower is a beautiful blue.

Positive

On Jun 22, 2013, eslwoman from Victoria
Canada wrote:

Through this wonderful site, I have just discovered the name and data on a few seedlings I have been calling my "Magical Mystery Plants." I knew they were vines because of their twining nature, but never mind that boring stuff--on with the story!

Earlier this spring, while I was down in the basement searching for one garden implement or another, I espied in a dark corner a crinkled piece of paper, much yellowed and somewhat brittle. When I unwrapped it, I found a few pods and several seeds obviously "beanish" in appearance. The only information written on the page was a woman's name and telephone number--and not a telephone number code from either Canada or the US. Hmm.

Curious as most gardeners are, and always up for a challenge, I planted five of the seed... read more

Positive

On Jan 21, 2013, PaulaSFL from Stuart, FL wrote:

Wonderful vine that gives color to a winter garden in Florida. Attracts butterflies, bees and is easy to grow.

Positive

On Oct 15, 2012, Bharat_Sanghavi from Trenton, NJ (Zone 6b) wrote:

In India, Butterfly Pea is commonly known as Gokarn or Kajli. i have this vine in my private garden since four years. and at present, it has reached height of 9 meters by creeping on a nearby tree. now all i do is water it once a day. during rainy season, i avoid watering lest it may rot.

once the Butterfly Pea flower dries itself on the vine, it turns into a bean pod and seeds from these pods can be planted for a fresh vine. if the soil is favorable, the plant reseeds itself.

Positive

On Aug 20, 2012, Mtn_CrazyLady from Attalla, AL wrote:

The Butterfly Pea grows in places I cant get the grass to grow here. It is pretty (my Mom loves it), and I don't have to take care of it.

Positive

On Jun 18, 2012, acemy from Brandon, MS wrote:

I found this vine growing in the woods behind my house in Mississippi. It took awhile to find out what it was.

Positive

On Dec 18, 2011, rolfkjo from nong khai
Thailand wrote:

There is also a white clitorea butterfly.. I have it!

Positive

On Aug 16, 2011, koa from Haiku, HI wrote:

This is one tough little vine! I found it growing wild along the side of the road outside of the central landfill in Kahului, Hawaii (on the island of Maui). The rainfall there is about 18 to 19 inches a year. Everything else around it had turned brown and died from lack of water. This little plant was green and blooming! I tried to dig it up, but the ground was as hard as cement. I half pried and half yanked and got a few small clumps of the plant. I separated the plants at the roots and planted several in pots. They grew! I also took some of the seedpods and tried to grow the plant from seed, though the pods were still green. They didnt grow.

I did have the same issue as bijoux2 had with yellowing leaves and dieback on a couple of the plants, but I increased t... read more

Positive

On Apr 4, 2010, agardener100 from Muscat
Oman wrote:

Easy to grow vigorous annual or perennial in frost free areas. Propagate from seed, plants bloom in 7-10 weeks from germination. Easy to germinate from seed, soak the seed over night, germination from 7-10 days usually 100%. Great for quick fence cover. The plants become leggy quickly so pinch out the terminal buds to keep the plant bushy and flowering where you can see it. Like all pea plants the roots fix nitrogen and improved the soil fertility. Can be grown as a green manure and dug into the soil after 2-3 months. Its edible and can also be used to feed animals. In frost areas collect the seed to replant the next year. Tolerant of a wide range of soils and including alkaline soils. In very hot climates 45C, 113F it appreciates some shade from the afternoon sun.
Anne Muscat,... read more

Neutral

On Nov 12, 2009, bijoux2 from Hollywood, FL wrote:

I purchased 3 of these plants (double flowers) from Home Depot to grow on 3' x 9' trellises. While they started out growing beautifully up the trellis, certain parts of the plant are now wilting, turning yellow and starting to die. Other parts of the plant are still thriving with dark green leaves and an abundance of flowers. I have been cutting away the dying parts of the plant, but I don't now why this happening. I want these plants to cover the trellises, but I am having a lot difficulty. Thinking I should replace them with something else, but they are so beautiful (the parts that are thriving) I don't want to remove them. Any suggestions? Thank you.

Positive

On Jul 13, 2009, khabbab from lahore
Pakistan (Zone 10b) wrote:

It is more of a shrub than vine here in lahore Pakistan. It blooms from June till October. I have one with double blooms and blue color. I am growing it in a clay pot. This is my first experience with this vine. Its leaves are very beautiful. It is fast growing vine. it has reduced flowers in extreme summer heat of over 100F specially in full sun. It is called "Neelofar" locally.

Positive

On Sep 10, 2008, cynixeyes from Bangkok
Thailand wrote:

Edible purple food dyes are also extracted from the butterfly pea flower ("anchan" flower) in Thailand, and used in making desserts.

To make your own purple dye from butterfly pea flowers in the Thai way, begin by placing a flower in the bottom of a small glass. Add a little bit of water, then push and grind at the flower with a spoon (the way you would use a mortar and pestle). The water will appear blue at first.

Then, slowly add a few drops of an edible acid (such as lemon or lime juice) until the solution turns purple.

When added to food, the result is a beautiful and demure shade of light purple. Enjoy!

Positive

On Sep 3, 2007, ETexChuckC from Point, TX wrote:

I found the Butterfly Pea last year growing under a Cedar out in the woods. Until recently though a total mystery flower. I have a walking path around the woods and past where It's growing. I hadn't noticed it prior to last year (2006). I searched and asked around but nada. A week ago, I sent a picture around to my family and my daughter replied -- "it looks like..." And voila, I did a search, found Dave's site and it's no longer a mystery. The soil out here, 60 miles east of Dallas, is sandy clay pH unknown. With all the rain and cooler temps we've had this year there are lots of flowers and I'm collecting seeds. The plan is to start it growing close to the house for all to enjoy. Enjoyed looking at all the pictures and uploaded one I took recently.

Positive

On Sep 13, 2006, carolschuman from Arlington, TX (Zone 7b) wrote:

These grow as cool season annuals here in zone 7/8, going by what I have seen and read online. They reseed so easily that I am happy to have them as annuals. I had the white (alba) variety when I moved to this house last May and was given seeds for the blue last fall (2005). I planted the blue in the spring '06, but with the dry conditions we had this summer, I was afraid I wouldn't get any blooms and might even lose them. Luckily I had one survivor and today I seen my first bloom on it!

Neutral

On Jul 30, 2006, jeaninpgh from Pittsburgh, PA wrote:

planted it here in z 6 outdoors will update w survival info next spring!!cross your fngers as i see a neighbor of mine in longwood gardens had it return!! I get many many so called tender perennials back here so am trying this & black bamboo this yr...

Positive

On Aug 26, 2005, mgagnon from Spring Hill, FL wrote:

Lovely vine, have searched for it since I picked up a few seeds at a local botanical garden here in Florida. So happy to know its name etc. It has given me much pleasure =just moved to a new home and will plant again.

Positive

On Aug 11, 2005, tcfromky from Mercer, PA (Zone 5a) wrote:

Growing beautifully at Lonwood Gardens, zone 6.

Positive

On Apr 13, 2005, DawnRain from Bartow, FL wrote:

This is a favorite perennial in my Florida garden where my original plant is several years old. And I do know it is the original and not a dropped seedling. It has been through freezes and come back from the roots. In a frostless year it is evergreen, but bloom production does fall off alot in Feb and Mar. Just starting to put on plenty of bloom now in April. This is the wonderful double variety. I also have single which does not seem to be as hardy and has to be replanted. And I have the single white in a plant going on 3 years old.

Positive

On Apr 12, 2005, rjuddharrison from Houston, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

This vine has a remarkable ability to thrive in small pots, or moss lined hanging baskets.

Positive

On Mar 12, 2004, Dinu from Mysore
India (Zone 10a) wrote:

It is a lovely vine to have, esp. the blue one and in particular, the double blues. Flower colour is stunning, easy to start from seed and grow. It can tolerate some neglect. Seed pods have to be removed when it is fully ripe -- you can know by shaking the pod to hear the seed rattle. When pressed along the edges, it opens out like a coiled spring. If seeds are not removed, they can reseed easily and the following growing season, you may find lots and lots of seedlings many feet around it, since the pods throw open with great force to disperse. All in all, it is a beauty.

Positive

On Sep 29, 2003, TerriFlorida from Plant City, FL wrote:

Blue butterfly pea vine never fails to attract attention. It grows easily here in central Florida. It sometimes overwinters, as Thunbergia alata will. It is tolerant of acidic soil and drought, but shows its appreciation of enough water by growing and flowering with abandon. You can sew seeds directly here in cooler weather. It grows much more easily for me than Morning Glory ever did!

Positive

On Aug 1, 2003, ChristinaLee wrote:

Would like to share this interesting note:
This flower is very popular with Nonya (a culture of people from intermarriage of Chinese and Malays living in Singapore and Malaysia) as a natural (blue)food colouring often used in their kuehs (traditional rice cakes)and jelly. A few flowers are boiled in a little water to extract the colour.
Very easy to grow from seeds from pods that dried and browned on the plants. Commonly grown as hedge plant here in Singapore. As I am helping in kid's school garden, I have recently successfully grown 2 pots from seeds, 3-4 plants in 8" diameter pots, as they have soft stems. Pinching tops often will encourage bushier growth. Flowers bloom for 1 day only, so pinch off flowers in early evening to store in container in fridge to maintain freshne... read more

Positive

On Nov 13, 2002, butterflypea wrote:

Butterfly pea has naturalized on my property over the past 8 years. It is so a joy to so easily get that gorgeous blue color. It grows in all soil types and is drought tolerant. It does need some sun to flower. Each plant will produce beans that don't taste good, but contain seeds. The germination of these seeds is about 100%. Anyone can grow this vine!

Positive

On May 24, 2002, JlpnSon from Lafayette, LA (Zone 8b) wrote:

I have searched the internet for 3 days looking for this exact vine. I absolutely LOVED this vine. The flowers are a beautiful blue and the foilage is a consistent gorgeous medium to dark green. Mine did beautifully on the south side of the house where it got about 5 hours of direct mid day sunlight. It grows well without much fuss. (We have a huge oak tree that soaks up most of the water and nutrients from the soil, which has caused a problem for everything else, but not this vine) It could take over the flower bed easily, and that would be o.k. by me. We moved to Arizona and leased our house out and I some how ???? I forgot about the vine until I really got back into taking care of our yard again and I can not wait to have this vine again!

Neutral

On Aug 10, 2001, mystic from Ewing, KY (Zone 6a) wrote:

These are tender climbing vines. The leaves are made of 5 to 7 leaflets, each growing up to 4 inches long. The flowers resemble peas and are solitary, bright deep blue with light yellow markings to 2 inches long by 1 inches wide. This vine is a quick cover for lattice, trellis, arbor and chain-link fences