Snail Vine from Natural Gardener


This morning I went to the Sunset Valley Farmer’s market. I haven’t been all year, but I was getting hungry for good tomatoes. And I did find just that – the most incredible organic heirloom tomatoes I’ve had in years! They tasted like tomatoes used to taste when I was a kid, and we’ve already eaten half of what I bought this morning. I also got some organic mustard greens and collard greens…mmmm.

I found a beautiful River Fern for $8 that I am going to add to my fern bed, and that put me in the mood to go to a nursery (easy to do). So off I went to Natural Gardener, to see what they have in stock these hot days.  I picked up another little Japanese Painted Fern, and some succulents that were on sale.

But the most interesting purchase of the day is a gorgeous vine – with an extraordinary fragrance. It’s called Snail Vine (Vigna Caracalla), and it is listed as a tender perennial. I’d never seen it before, and the bloom looks like an orchid and smells like honeysuckle – exquisite. But now I’m reading about it, and davesgarden says it is extremely aggressive, so much so that some people hate it.

So before I plant this gorgeous thing, how ’bout some of you gardeners out there tell me of your experience with it. How little sun can I get away with? Can it do a spot with only about 2 hours of sun? Will it take over my yard and cover over other vines beside it? Will my home become a living breathing snail vine that I have to cut my way through to come indoors?

Help please! Here’s this gorgeous plant:

I’m working on my front shade bed, which I’m planning as a fern bed mingled with white flowering plants. So I bought a white Plumbago (tiny – I don’t know if there’s enough sun for it, so it’s a test plant). They were out of White Turk’s Cap, so I’ll get some of that later. I did get a cute white Cat’s Whiskers, and a sweet little  Sambac Jasmine, with a fragrant white flower. They also were out of white Phillipine Violets, which I want to add. That should give me a nice mix of white with ferns that I’ll let fill up that shady bed.

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7 thoughts on “Snail Vine from Natural Gardener

  1. I have a snails vine, I call it corkscrew vine but the same botanical name. Mine is in a container on my balcony, no blooms yet and I get a lot of full sun for +6 hours. I really do not think that it would do well in shade. I’ve always thought and read of it as a full sun vine which would require around 4 hours at least of full blown sun. I’m not sure about the invasiveness as mine is not in the ground. Maybe you can try it but in a raised bed or container.

    I looked at your site, but I can’t tell where your garden is located? Our sun down here in Austin is severe. I do have a place that gets more sun, but I’m worried about the invasive-ness of this plant in that spot. Perhaps a container it must be…Robin

  2. I saw your blog post through my google reader and I would be interested to know how much the Natural Gardener was selling this plant for, if you don’t mind. I bought some seeds for aboue a dollar a piece, and the seedling I have is slow growing. Maybe it would just be easier to buy an established plant!

    Samantha, I don’t mind at all. I think it’s part of the reason we blog is to share information. It was only 6.99! And it’s at least 3 feet tall, covered in blooms. I’m still trying to figure out how and where to plant it – I’m hearing that it is invasive, but that might possibly be in more tropical climates. Do you know much about it? Robin

  3. Oh my word, Robin – this is the one I wanted but got the non-fragrant lilac colored version of Vigna instead. You got a bargain – I’ve seen tiny plants for sale by mail order for $10.
    The lilac variety wasn’t invasive for me and died over the winter. If I had a Corkscrew Vine I’d probably plant it in a good-size container and stand it next to the metal arch in my secret garden where a lazy hyacinth bean is doing nothing so far. Then I’d cut it back before frost and put the pot & plant in the garage over winter.

    Good luck, Robin!

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

    {PS Just in case Vanillalotus didn’t see your question – she’s from SA)

    Annie, Thanks for the info. By the way, Natural Gardener had about 6-8 of these on hand at that price. I thought it was a great bargain, too! And that was without even knowing what it was. It is absolutely gorgeous, and smells like heaven. I think I’ll try it in a morning sun spot – the sign on it from NG says full sun to part shade. And thanks for the location for vanillalotus. Robin

  4. Oh! That! Vine! Your blog is the first time I’ve seen it, and it’s spectacular. It’s probably sold out by now, but I think I’m going to have to drive down to The Natural Gardener later this week and make sure. I wonder whether it would overwinter in the ground if it was planted against the house foundation? I am tempted to try…

    Lori, I’m certainly going to try as well! I fell in love with…when I walked by it at Natural Gardener, I didn’t see it at first, but I sure did smell it…and it smells heavenly. I haven’t planted it yet, and I’m watching the blooms. The whites, as they age, turn yellow, so it adds even another great color in the blooms. Natural Gardener had several on hand; call them and they will put one on hold for you. I hope you get one and we can compare notes on how to keep it alive. Robin

  5. Love this plant here in AZ. It does just grow and grown. But, it’s beautiful you will really enjoy is. Very east to take care.

  6. I just cut about 15 feet of snail vine out of my shady side yard, growing among some crape myrtles and under a hackberry tree (very shady). I trimmed that same area about 2 weeks ago and didn’t see it. Spotted it today and it had already grown up the 3 foot chain link fence, jumped into the c. myrtles on the fence line and gone about 10 feet up into the branches. I removed all I saw but couldn’t get to the root vine as it was in some brambles in my neighbors yard. My impression of the plant – fast growing, invasive, lovely, but too close to the fence leading to the corner telephone poles to risk leaving it. Sorry to be the negative voice in your discussion. I’m in north central Texas.

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