Sun exposure:
Full sun
South facing, west facing


Acidic / Chalky / Alkaline / Clay / Heavy / Moist / Well Drained / Light / Sandy

Sometimes called cathedral bells or cup and saucer vine, Cobaea scandens is a vigorous and irrepressible vine native to tropical America, where it grows as a strong woody perennial. Plants have a tropical appearance, with lush foliage, self-clinging tendrils and flowers up to 8cm in length, with prominent stamens. Once fully open, they are sweetly fragrant. The Royal Horticultural Society has given it its prestigious Award of Garden Merit (AGM).

Cobaea scandens is a tropical plant and is therefore not hardy. It may be grown as a perennial conservatory plant in large pots and moved outdoors in summer, but it needs to be moved back indoors in autumn and kept at winter temperatures of at about 7ºC if it is to survive. It's extremely fast-growing and can reach heights of around 6-7m if left unpruned.

For growing outside, Cobaea scandens is usually grown as an annual on a wall, fence or pergola. Try growing it in pots where it will climb up a supporting frame of hazel sticks or bamboo canes. In a very mild winter plants may survive and remain virtually evergreen, however this is rare.

Grow Cobaea scandens in moist but well-drained soil or in pots of peat-free, multi-purpose compost. Full sun is essential for cup and saucer vine to flower – plants may not bloom if growing in a too shady spot. Feed with an organic tomato food every fortnight to encourage more flowers to bloom, and deadhead spent blooms to keep the plant flowering for longer. If you want to try keeping your potted Cobaea over winter, move it indoors in autumn and keep in a conservatory or well-lit room with average temperatures of 7ºC.

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Advice on buying Cobaea scandens

  • Always buy seeds and plants from reputable suppliers
  • If buying plants, check them for signs of pests and diseases before planting
  • Ensure you have the right growing conditions for Cobaea before purchasing

Where to buy Cobaea scandens

Plant calendar


Cobaea and wildlife

Cobaea has no particular known value to wildlife in the UK.

Is Cobaea poisonous?

Cobaea has no toxic effects reported.

No reported toxicity to:
Is not known to attract Birds
Is not known to attract Cats
Is not known to attract Dogs
Is not known to attract Horses
Is not known to attract Livestock
Is not known to attract People
Plants that go well with Cobaea scandens