Tender late-summer flowering perennial vine
Description: Clusters of highly fragrant, white and purple flowers flushed with creamy yellow. Buds resemble a corkscrew or snail.
Habit: Vines grow to 20 feet in summer or year-round in the greenhouse.
Culture: Prefers full sun to very light shade and rich, well-drained soil with some organic matter; can be grown in a container.
Hardiness: USDA Zones 9 through 10
Origin: South America
Attributes: Fragrant flowers
In 1792, Thomas Jefferson wrote to Benjamin Hawkins, "The most beautiful bean in the world is the caracalla bean which, though in England a greenhouse plant, will grow in the open air in Virginia and Carolina". Imported from tropical South America, it was being grown in American gardens by the 1830's, when Robert Buist wrote in The American Flower Garden Directory, "Snail-Flower is a very curious blooming plant, with flowers - all spirally twisted, in great profusion when the plant is grown well". This spectacular flower was popular in florists' corsages by the late 19th-century.
The root you will receive was grown from seed during last year's growing season. After becoming dormant in the fall, the tuber was removed from its pot and stored over winter in boxes of moistened sphagnum moss in an unheated room. Growth will begin anew as the season warms in late spring.