By Susan Patterson, Master Gardener
If you’re looking for something a little different to grow, why not consider the attractive snail vine plant. Learning how to grow a snail vine is easy given adequate conditions, as is snail vine care.
Snail Vine Info
The Vigna caracalla snail vine is an attractive evergreen vine in zones 9 through 11 and will die back in cooler regions for the winter. Many people that live in cooler regions will set this interesting plant out for the summer and grow it indoors for the winter.
This beautiful tropical vine, with lavender and white flowers, is native to Central and South America and thrives in full sun and high humidity. It is also known as a snail bean or corkscrew plant and makes a very pretty addition in a hanging basket or container, where it will dangle up to 15 feet if permitted.
How to Grow a Snail Vine from Seed
Growing Vigna vine from seed is relatively easy as long as you plant the seed in full sun and loamy, moist and slightly acidic soil.
Soaking seeds overnight in warm water will aid germination. They can be directly sown outdoors in suitable climates or you can also start seeds early inside, in cooler regions. Be sure that the indoor temperature is no cooler than 72 degrees F. Keep the seeds damp and in indirect light. Transplant as soon as the ground warms outside or grow them in containers year round.
Sprouts will appear within 10 to 20 days of planting.
Growing Vigna Vine from Cuttings
Snail vines are also easy to propagate from cuttings. Take cuttings in early spring once foliage is growing. Cut a 6-inch piece of plant using clean clippers.
Fill a small 3-inch growing container with perlite and moisten it. Remove leaves from the lower part of the cutting. Dip the cutting in rooting compound. Make a hole in the center of the perlite using a pencil and insert 2 inches of cutting into the hole.
To retain humidity, place the container in a clear plastic bag and seal it. Place the bag in indirect light. Check the cutting weekly for resistance when pulled. Transplant Vigna caracalla snail vine in the fall before cold weather comes.
Snail Vine Care
Snail vines grow quickly, once established, and will rapidly cover a trellis or a wall. Due to its rapid growth, the plant may need to be trimmed as part of your snail vine care to keep it under control.
Organic fertilizer may be applied during the growing season; however, it is not essential. Snail vines also require regular water.