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Butterfly pea seeds

Butterfly pea seeds

Butterfly pea (Clitorea ternetea) is a tropical perennial that can also be grown as an annual in cooler climates. It is most commonly started from seed, which is generally the easiest way to propagate the plants. To improve germination rates and speed the sprouting process, simply nick the seed coat and soak seeds in warm water 24 hours before planting. Seeds should germinate in 3-6 days after planting.

As a tropical legume, the seeds germinate best in warmth. They will not tolerate frost and have been shown to germinate best at around 86 degrees fahrenheit. Southern gardeners can direct seed butterfly pea, while northern gardeners will have to start seeds indoors, where the temperature can be controlled, and transplant outdoors after all chance of frost has passed and soil is warmed. 

Once germinated, the area should be kept free of weeds until the seedlings are established (about 4-6 inches tall). After that, the plants are quite robust and can tolerate drought, heavy moisture and competition from weeds. Butterfly pea tolerates a range of soil conditions, the only caveat being waterlogged soil. They do not like sustained standing water on roots. 

Plants prefer full sunlight; however, gardeners in the most tropical locations can allow for some partial shade. Plants should be spaced from 6-10 inches apart and can be left to freely trail along the ground unsupported or they can be trained up a structure. 

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