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Overwintering Corkscrew Vine (Vigna Caracalla)

Some friends have expressed an interest in growing Vigna Caracalla outside and overwintering them inside. I have a tip or two on that subject. These vines are perennials in their native Central American and tropical South American climes. In temperate regions, they require winter protection when grown as perennials.

In temperate regions, Vigna c blooms rather late in the year, usually around September. I overwintered a large plant in a 5 gallon bucket to see if I would get blooms earlier than I would, had I started by planting seed indoors mid winter or outside early spring. The established plant did not bloom any earlier. It is my experience that hoping to get earlier blooms is not a good reason to overwinter Vigna c.

Not having to buy seed yearly is a good reason to overwinter this vine. My first purchase of seed was with a price I found almost prohibitive. I will add that the price has come down quite a bit with some sellers. You will have to shop around the Internet to find these better deals.

The main reason I would overwinter these vines is to eventually get a large root stock that would produce many more blooms than a vine grown annually. A large root stock is what my main tip is all about.

Growing a vine from seed will produce a root stock the first year large enough to fill a 5 gallon bucket. With large enough drain holes, the roots will escape the bucket and grow another 5 feet into the ground. These escaped roots can be cut back to the bucket before bringing the plant inside.

With this in mind, a container no less than a 5 gallon bucket should be considered for growing these vines. A whisky barrel would be much better.

There is an alternative to overwintering a large plant or growing plants annually from seed. Cuttings from Vigna c root readily and can be taken during the bloom period and later as long as the weather is still warm. Not only will the cuttings root readily in soil or soilless mediums, they will easily root in water.

These cuttings can be grown inside overwinter and planted outside after all danger of frost is past. While the resulting plants will not bloom any earlier, a larger root stock than one grown from seed should produce more blooms.

The pictured cutting was rooted in water with nothing added. The root system has developed to just the right size for transferring to a pot with a good growing medium.

Hope you like my blue jean backdrops. That's about as close to a Nino Cerutti suit as this ol' boy is gonna get.


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December 7, 20170 found this helpful

Thanks for this information.

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December 7, 20170 found this helpful

I believe I mentioned these were easy to root. Just make sure you have a node at the top and bottom of the cutting.

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December 18, 20170 found this helpful

During the flowering season, have you ever dried out the flowers and taken the seeds from the inside to plant again? I do this with a lot of my flowers and I also root cutting too. Both ways work great for me.

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December 19, 20170 found this helpful

Oh yes, I save the seed, too.

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