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TREES & plants

Cup-and-saucer vine (ANNUAL VINE)

The unique flowers of cup-and-saucer vine.

Cup-and-saucer vine is an easy-to-grow annual that supplies a quantity of unique flowers from mid-summer on.  The flowers do look like little teacups sitting in saucers.

This plant has some cultivated varieties. Go to list of cultivars.

Botanical name: 
Cobaea scandens
All Common Names: 
Cup-and-saucer vine, missionary bells, cathedral bells
Family (English): 
Phlox
Family (Botanic): 
Polemoniaceae
Tree or Plant Type: 
  • Vine
Native Locale: 
  • Non-native
Landscape Uses: 
  • Container, 
  • Massing, 
  • Screen, 
  • Specimen
Size Range: 
  • Large plant (more than 24 inches)
Light Exposure: 
  • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)
Hardiness Zones: 
  • Zone 9, 
  • Zone 10, 
  • Zone 11
Soil Preference: 
  • Moist, well-drained soil
Season of Interest: 
  • Mid summer, 
  • Late summer, 
  • Early fall
Flower Color & Fragrance: 
  • Fragrant, 
  • Purple, 
  • White
Shape or Form: 
  • Vining
Growth Rate: 
  • Fast
More Information: 

Size and Method of Climbing

Despite being an annual, this vine can grow up to 10 feet in a season.  Cup-and-saucer vine climbs by tendrils. Vines with tendrils climb by twisting those tendrils around a support.  This type of vine grows well on trellises, arbors, wires or chain-link fences.

Plant Care

Full sun and moist, well-drained soil.
Easy to grow from seed.  Soak seeds in warm water overnight and then plant indoors about 4 to 6 weeks before the last frost.
Do not plant into the garden until after the last frost.

Disease, pests, and problems

No serious problems.

Native geographic location and habitat

Native to Mexico.

Leaf description

Pinnately compound foliage; no fall color.

Flower description

The flowers look like teacups sitting in saucers.  Flowers start out greenish in color and turn to purple as they age.  Occasionally plants will produce variegated flowers.  Lightly fragrant.

Fruit description

The fruit is a dry capsule that sits in the 'saucer'. Not ornamentally important.

Cultivars and their differences

White cup-and-saucer vine (Cobaea scandens 'Alba'):  White flowers.

Cobaea scandens or Cup-and-saucer vine (ANNUAL VINE)

We do not seem to have this in our living collection.