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in : Pots & containers: Summer
The cup and saucer vine, Cobaea scandens, grows 3m or more in a single summer. It is wonderfully dynamic, with winged buds and flowers that are cream when they first open, turning to dusky purple bells as they mature. The curling, tongue-like stamens and claret-tinted stems are complemented by golden creeping Jenny and dark verbena, in this handsome planting scheme.
How to grow annual climbers from seed
Plant up pots in position as they'll be heavy to move later. Put a few bits of broken pot over the drainage hole to stop compost washing away while allowing excess water to drain.
Fill your large pot up to about two-thirds full of compost. Use a half-and-half blend of John Innes No.3 and multi-purpose compost, to ensure a balanced potting mix.
Make a hole in the centre of the compost, remove climbers from their pots and plant 15cm apart. Firm the compost around the climbers, making sure there are no air pockets around the rootballs.
Place the willow support carefully over the top of the climbers. Push the legs firmly into the compost, ensuring the structure is even by checking the support's bands are horizontal.
Add the verbena and lysimachia around the edge of the pot, so that they trail over the edge.
Encourage climbers onto the support by tying stems with soft twine to the willow, leaving some give in the twine so that the stems don't break in the wind and have space to grow.
Snails like hiding in the willow and dense foliage, so get into the habit of patrolling and pick them off by hand