Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Cathedral Bells, Cup and Saucer Vine
Cobaea scandens

Family: Polemoniaceae (po-le-moh-nee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Cobaea (ko-BEE-uh) (Info)
Species: scandens (SKAN-dens) (Info)

4 vendors have this plant for sale.

39 members have or want this plant for trade.

Vines and Climbers

4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

12-15 in. (30-38 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)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:
Medium Blue
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Late Summer/Early Fall
Mid Fall


Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From herbaceous stem cuttings
From seed; sow indoors before last frost

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

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20 positives
8 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive rachelrapunzel On Mar 16, 2015, rachelrapunzel from Rugby, ND wrote:

I grew this many years ago when I was a teenager in a pot in my bedroom in northern MN in a SE facing window but shaded by trees so just a few hours of sun. I cannot remember how long it took to bloom (this was about 20 years ago) but I will never forget how beautiful it was! It was loaded with blossoms it seemed for months and months. And it lived until it died of neglect (teenager) I finally ordered seeds again. I appreciate all the growing tips on here as I think I had such success with it by sheer luck when I was younger and hope to use all the advice to hopefully enjoy it as much as I did then.

Positive pmmGarak On Dec 25, 2014, pmmGarak from Gppingen
Germany wrote:

after years of no no flowers until end of October on a south balcony, I placed this years plant in a container on a perfect east wall, so full sun until 12 pm, and none after. This time it started flowering in July and did not stop till late November. I kept it rather dry, that's why the foliage turned dark red starting in August - rather beautiful!

I'm trying to get through winter at about 12 degrees C in a bright room - looks quite alive up to now.

Positive gypsiekaye On Aug 31, 2013, gypsiekaye from ALLYN, WA wrote:

I bought this little vine in a 4 inch pot. It was planted in a 14" pot and is climbing on a post at the end of my patio. It was planted in late June and has 6 blooms and was half eaten by a little deer. I love it and am going to try and winter over

Neutral imagrndma On Nov 2, 2012, imagrndma from MARCOLA, OR wrote:

"Neutral" far! This looked like such an awesome flower & a vine as well. I thought it couldn't get much better! The plant seems to like a little bit of neglect, but not TOO much!
I put it in 2 different spots - one with lots of sun & the other with sun only from 10 - 12 am. The one in the sun grew a spindly vine about 1 foot high (at the most!), with tiny little leaves & then just stopped growing. The one in mostly shade, although it was in bright light, grew quite well.
I planted them sometime in late June, the shade one next to a pole and poles beside the ramp to my porch. Once it got past the 2 ft. mark, it grew soooo fast! I wound it back & forth through the poles & then when I reached the end of the ramp, turned it back the other way. I've got vines along that ramp that must be 15+ feet long!

The disappointment came when I started looking for the blossoms.Like everyone else - I couldn't find any. I have grown (& even sold) plants since I was a young girl, so have quite a green thumb. I couldn't figure out why this wasn't getting any flowers! No buds....NOTHING! That is - until the end of October!!
Now it's November & it has buds all over it! They look like my Passion Flower buds - really cute! And all the little tendrils, like gourds or pumpkin curly-cues. Would be great if they could be dried!
I'm in Oregon, so have mostly mild winters. I'm hoping that if I cover this plant, it won't die & will pick up where it leaves off this year.
If anyone else has had this type of experience with this plant - any luck keeping it through the winter w/out it dying back? If so, what did you do to protect it?
Let's put our heads together and figure out the best way to get blooms from this plant in my type of conditions (Oregon). It's so beautiful it will be well worth the effort!

Positive MTVineman On Jun 28, 2012, MTVineman from Helena, MT (Zone 5a) wrote:

I have about four of these growing like mad on my back veranda. I started them all from seed and every one of them came up, although I at first thought I had failed since they took a while to come up! I did plant them on their sides, too. Now they are covering the trellis I made on the veranda and they are flowering beautifully. Here in Helena, Montana, no one knows of or has seen one of these vines. People are constantly stopping and asking what they are and where to get one or eight! My Hummers and my bee's love them. Other birds seem to be interested too although I don't know why. I will definitely try to overwinter these inside somewhere and will be growing them again! Excellent and fabulously beautiful vine. One of them is growing up into my Sassafras tree too. Looks really nice.

Neutral GrannyAnnie On Oct 25, 2011, GrannyAnnie from Trail, OR wrote:

I am attempting to learn how to pollinate cobaea by hand. So far I am finding nothing at all. Can any one tell me how or tell me where to find the info? Please & thank you.

Neutral SilkKnoll On Apr 22, 2011, SilkKnoll from Tuskegee, AL (Zone 8a) wrote:

Too late flowering for a vine that takes up so much space for the whole growing season. Even when it blooms, the bloom-to-foliage ratio is much too low for me, though individual blooms have an interesting and attractive form.

Positive jrtinker On Mar 13, 2011, jrtinker from Palmer, AK (Zone 3b) wrote:

We grow this as an annual in Alaska. It needs to be started indoors in February in order to get blooms in June and July, and performance depends on weather. It likes hot sunny days, and does best when planted againt the foundation of a building or support it can climb. A single plant can grow 20 to 40 feet high and 6 to 10 feet wide if it is happy. It rarely produces seed here, but if grown in a container it can be brought inside in the fall to let the pods ripen. It will go dormant, and can sometimes be wintered over in a cool garage. I know one school teacher who grows it in her elementary classroom all winter long.

Neutral Mkoertje On Sep 27, 2010, Mkoertje from Tracy, CA wrote:

Early last spring started seeds for about the 5th time in the last 10 years. Ended up with about 6 plants in peat pots. Transplanted 2 into large pots, the other two in very poorly cultivated clay soil. The two in the soil have grown by leaps and bounds next to a stone wall and covering the metal fencing above. Have one left in pot, it is not flowering but vining well. My problem is leaf damage in places all of the leaves turn papery white..i do get new shoots from the vines. Almost afraid to spray with anything that might harm the plant.

Positive Chthonica On Sep 17, 2010, Chthonica from Redwood City, CA wrote:

I was given a gift of two tiny peat pots about a year ago. I planted them and forgot them. Suddenly about six months ago, I noticed a two inch vine on the trellis. Now, our upper deck is consumed, the vines have raced up the walls! and are headed for the defunct 80s style satellite dish on our roof. We're talking about 50 plus feet. The flowers are a beautiful deep violet. We can sit outside and watch green- and red-throated hummingbirds, and fat bumblebees "working" the blossoms for hours. Just today I noticed the pods. Can't wait to harvest seeds! The best no-fuss plant I've ever cultivated.

Positive bucky181 On May 12, 2010, bucky181 from Moose Jaw
Canada wrote:

I planted one last summer and it grew faster than any vine I have ever had. It was beautiful and very interesting. I have 12 plants ready to go outside today and am hoping they completely cover my fence by fall! I wish they were perennials! We are in area 3.

Positive Treehugger178 On Nov 14, 2009, Treehugger178 from Hendersonville, NC wrote:

My sister gave me two seeds last spring and I planted them in a pot on my deck which is the only place where I get some sun...The plant had a few flowers in the spring and nothing in the summer, then to my great surprise this plant sprung lots and lots of flowers in the fall, it is now November here in the mountains of NC..I have been trying to get some pods to dry on the vine so I can collect seeds but the flower part drops off...I have several pods that have not opened and was wondering if these would have seeds in them IF I took them off the vine..Any help would be greatly appreciated...

Positive AnnaMontana On Oct 26, 2009, AnnaMontana from Helena, MT wrote:

I started the seeds in February and planted the seedlings outside in May. They grew great vines, but no flowers. Since it gets cold here rather early, and the vines were so healthy, I brought them inside and placed them on some very large ficus bushes I have inside. They are growing fabulously and have had a few flowers. I am hoping they will grow all winter and flower now and then. So lovely.

Positive manchild On May 29, 2009, manchild from Portland, OR wrote:

Hasn't bloomed yet, but these things are growing VERY fast. Began with starts in 4" pots from a local nursery, kept them in a window in the kitchen for a few weeks until I had trellis setup outside for them. now that they're in full sun, you can practically watch them grow tendrils before your eyes. They're already almost 2' tall.

Positive Katye On Oct 19, 2008, Katye from Sammamish, WA (Zone 7b) wrote:

Started indoors the beginning of March under grow lights.
Germination rate: 2 sprouted out of 12, all planted on their sides.
Both went outside at the end of April - only 1 thrived.
Because it's a vine, I did not expect much the first couple months as the roots need to get established. It wasn't until late July that I saw any measurable increase in growth: it just took off. We had a very cool summer, so I wasn't sure what to expect. But I am so glad I grew it: it gave a lot for so little.
In September (we finally had our "summer"), it started to flower & has been going strong ever since. I'm bummed because it will not survive the winter here, but I will start from seed again in 2009.
All stages of growth are exceptional: colour of stems & foliage, the stages of the flower from bud to well, I'm waiting for the seed pods to turn. I didn't realize the flowers change colour as they're progressing through opening. No fragrance detected. Definitely one of those stand-alone vines: don't plant it near anything you don't want swallowed up!
When the winds were blowing hard here a couple weeks back, the Cobaea kept the metal trellis from keeling over. Very strong...

Positive Joy On Aug 15, 2007, Joy from Kalama, WA (Zone 8b) wrote:

I started this from seed in the spring of 2006. I grew it in a large container. It didn't grow that much that summer and didn't flower at all. So at the end of the growing season I moved it to an unheated shed where I winter over my tender plants.
This year (2007) it has really taken off and is covered in flower buds. I'm anxiously awaiting my first flowers on this beautiful vine.

Positive HgNi2006 On Feb 13, 2007, HgNi2006 from Vallejo, CA wrote:

I first got this in a small pot from the Luther Burbank Gardens in Santa Rosa. Because I rented my house then, I kept two of them in pots, so they never got very big. When I bought a house the first plant I planted was cup and saucer, and it took off like wildfire. It's now all over my trellis and arbor--about 25' and still hauling butt. We had two weeks of freezing weather in January and I was so worried it'd die, but only the leaves on top of the arbor died--it's still flowering like mad now, in February. I love this! I'm not going to cut it far as I'm concerned it can keep going! One little caveat is that you need to remove it from anything you don't permanently want it adhered to--like our gas grill.

Positive berkeleygarden On Jan 23, 2006, berkeleygarden from Berkeley, CA (Zone 10a) wrote:

I am growing this on a driveway gate. The Vine is so tough that it does not break when the gate opens and closes. It is still blooming for me in Jan. (Berkeley, CA) I think it is fantastic.

Positive alrac On Oct 8, 2005, alrac from wolverhampton
United Kingdom (Zone 9a) wrote:

My cobaea survived the winter outside so it started producing new shoots in the spring, it has grown and flowered like crazy and is still flowering now Oct 8 2005. I have found several seed pods so hoping they will ripen. I have also been hand pollinating to help to get more pods.

It is facing north so only gets the sun late afternoon but it seems very happy here, the ones I have in my back garden have more sun but do not do so well.

Positive Shellybake On May 30, 2005, Shellybake from Houston, TX wrote:

I planted seeds in January, left some in the seed packet next to the peat pots. Only two of the pots sprouted, but the seeds left in the packet ALL sprouted!! After planting them they covered a trellised wall and have grown like weeds. I still haven't gotten a bloom by June 1 but have been feeding with high phosporus fertilizer and will hope for the best. Thanks for all the info...just what I was looking for.

Neutral lmelling On Mar 24, 2005, lmelling from Ithaca, NY (Zone 5b) wrote:

I wanted to grow these so badly that I started the seeds each February for 3 years running. I had no problems with germination or the plants growing - they took off like weeds once planted outside in May and covered the side trellis in no time. But I was unable to have success getting them to flower in our particular climate. Ithaca tends (like Seattle) to have more overcast days than sunny, and I believe this is why no flowers. I've gone back to putting Passion flowers out instead, I have no problems getting them to flower!

Positive goteeman34 On Mar 23, 2005, goteeman34 from San Diego, CA wrote:

I bought these seeds from ebay and did everything i was supposed to do. Nothing happened. I put them outside in a small pot then my dog knocked it over. I gave up. About a month later I saw this new plant with tendrils coming out of the dirt. low and behold it was the cup and saucer vine. I will keep you posted on its growth.

Neutral eje On Dec 21, 2004, eje from San Francisco, CA (Zone 10a) wrote:

I bought this in a 4" pot about a year ago. It is a tender (alledgedly) short lived perennial in my zone. It is a very rapid grower, and is now enormous, threatening to take over my neighbor's 30' tall incense cedar. It is doing well in sandy clay crowded in with several other plants and vines. I haven't had it set seed. Both hummingbirds and bees like its flowers. A little too enthusiastic a grower for small yards. However, the flowers never fail to provoke comment.

For those you, like myself, for whom this is perennial, unless you want to swing from branch to branch on its dangling ropes, cut it down to about 2 feet in early spring.

Positive Goochola On Jul 6, 2004, Goochola from Athens
Greece (Zone 9a) wrote:

Cups and Saucers love to grow in Athens, Greece! I started them from seed, planting them directly into pots in mid-March. They haven't bloomed yet but have scaled the wall and one is reaching for a nearby tree (5 meters at this time- I beg to differ with the height posted at 6 feet!). I made the mistake of not pinching them back and some are growing as a single "jack and the bean stalk "stem while others that happened to break in their infancy (thank you, cats) have grown bushy, with many stems. I can't wait for the flowers. I use compost and fertilised once when they were about 6 inches.

Positive OhioBreezy On Jun 4, 2004, OhioBreezy from Dundee, OH (Zone 5b) wrote:

I had tried last year to grow this with no luck, not sure if it was the seed, or human error, but I did hear to stand the seed up, so tried that this year and got wonderful germination!

Neutral poppysue On Jan 19, 2003, poppysue from Westbrook, ME (Zone 5a) wrote:

As Deanne stated... a useful tip for germinating the seeds is to plant them in the soil on their sides. By laying flat they'll collect too much moisture and rot. These vines take a long time before blooming so give them a head start indoors, 4-6 weeks early. Transplant them out after you're last frost date. Once established they grow by leaps & bounds!

Positive Evert On Aug 2, 2001, Evert from Helsinki
Finland (Zone 4b) wrote:

This plant is from Mexico, and there's also a white form of this plant, Cobaea scandens 'Alba'. When it has warm and sunny place and you water it enough it grows very fast. Don't fertilize, because then it just grows leaves and won't bloom. Flowers smell ugly but have pretty dark purple colour. The flowers are greenish when they open.

Neutral Deanne On Aug 2, 2001, Deanne from Franktown, CO (Zone 5a) wrote:

A vine growing to 20 ft. Needs support. Plant in Spring with seeds on edge so they don't rot. Germinate in 14 days. Thin to 12 inches apart. Keep roots cool by mulching around bottom of plants. Minimum temp is 41 degrees F/5 degrees C.May survive short periods of 32 degrees.


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

Fairhope, Alabama
Palmer, Alaska
Arroyo Grande, California
Berkeley, California
Cazadero, California
Elk Grove, California
Redwood City, California
Richmond, California
San Diego, California (3 reports)
San Francisco, California
San Leandro, California
Scotts Valley, California
Tracy, California
Vallejo, California
Waterford, California
West Covina, California
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Mansfield Center, Connecticut
Austell, Georgia
Hawkinsville, Georgia
Windsor, Illinois
Barbourville, Kentucky
Hammond, Louisiana
Berwick, Maine
Averill Park, New York
Hendersonville, North Carolina
Dundee, Ohio
Hamilton, Ontario
Portland, Oregon
Olyphant, Pennsylvania
North Augusta, South Carolina
Desoto, Texas
Galveston, Texas
Chesapeake, Virginia
Leesburg, Virginia
Sutherland, Virginia
Allyn, Washington
Kalama, Washington
Sammamish, Washington
Seattle, Washington (2 reports)
Wheeling, West Virginia

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