Butterfly Pea: How To Grow Color-Changing Teas

This rising information is all concerning the beautiful Butterfly pea! Its botanical title is Clitoria ternatea. Most flowers are coloured blue, however different species showcase a pink-purple shade. Conventional use of this flower is for tea, meals coloring, and for cosmetics. In its native habitat, the flowers are straightforward to collect throughout tropical forages. 

Pea flower tea is a standard Ayurvedic medication for its anti-inflammatory properties. Clitoria ternatea flowers produce flat pods which might be nice for consuming contemporary. Plus, the flowers have main blue anthocyanins, that are chemical compounds that react with acid to show the tea into a widely known sensible blue shade. Within the plant science world, cliotides (that are antimicrobial) have been remoted from the heat-stable fraction of the flower extract. 

In India, they deal with it as a holy flower and use it in every day rituals. It performs a giant half of their financial botany, which means how the individuals of India work together with this plant. The genus Clitoria comes from a Greek phrase referring to the feminine anatomy – which many say the flower resembles. Thus, a standard medication use for the flowers is to deal with sexual illnesses. 

These tropical vegetation with helpful flowers are straightforward to develop when supplied with the correct setting. Even should you dwell in a chilly local weather, this plant can develop in containers and dwell indoors in the course of the winters. Let’s delve into the small print of rising the butterfly pea.  

Fast Care Information

Butterfly pea. Supply: douneika
Frequent Identify Butterfly pea, Asian pigeonwings, blue pea, bluebell vine, Darwin pea
Scientific Identify Clitoria ternatea
Household Fabaceae
Peak & Unfold 6-10 ft tall, 2-3 ft broad
Gentle Full solar
Soil Sandy, barely acidic, well-drained soil
Water Medium watering, considerably drought-tolerant
Pests & Illnesses Spider mites, aphids, root rot, leaf spot

All About Butterfly Pea

Butterfly pea plant
Butterfly pea plant. Supply: Starr

The botanical title for the Butterfly pea is Clitoria ternatea. The genus Clitoria as a result of the flowers resemble the feminine anatomy, and ternatea as a result of they found the plant on Ternate Island. Different widespread names are Asian pigeonwings, Darwin pea, Blue pea, and Bluebell vine. 

This plant species originates in Africa and India. Thus, it’s a perennial in tropical areas and an annual in areas with frost. It’s a fast-growing decorative plant that showcases an abundance of blooms from early summer season into the autumn.  

When you’ve seen ternatea flowers, you’ll discover they’re straightforward to establish. It’s a deciduous vine with easy stems which might be slender with trifoliate compound leaves. The leaves develop alternately alongside the stem and have a stipule on the base of every leaf. 

Clitoria ternatea flowers are probably the most hanging function of this plant. The flowers are a purple-blue shade with mild yellow markings. Nevertheless, some varieties yield white flowers or vivid deep blue flowers. Flowers flip to seeds and type pods that maintain six to 10 seeds. 

In lots of components of the world, the Ternatea flower is an invasive species if it escapes from cultivation. Thus, should you’re not rising it in your native setting, take care to maintain it contained. Butterfly pea flowers are a preferred decorative, and the ternatea flowers, with their attribute bluish shade, are used as a pure meals coloring and to dye pure fibers.  

Caring for Butterfly Pea Vegetation

Back of Clitoria ternatea flower
The again of a Clitoria ternatea flower. Supply: Starr

The Butterfly pea is an easy-to-care-for plant, particularly while you present an setting it loves. It’s discovered naturally in Southeast Asia, so it likes heat, humid climates. Let’s get into the small print about rising this attention-grabbing plant with its stunning flowers.   

Solar and Temperature

Full solar is good for the blue pea flower, however it is going to tolerate half solar so long as it receives 6-10 hours per day. Ultimate temperatures are 65-82 levels Fahrenheit. When grown in USDA hardiness zones 11-12, it’s a perennial. At decrease zones, it’s annual because it’s delicate to temperatures under 60 levels Fahrenheit. 

A greenhouse is an ideal place to develop Clitoria ternatea flowers as a result of it emulates its pure setting.  

Water and Humidity

Butterfly pea vegetation will tolerate a considerable amount of water so long as the water doesn’t sit on the roots. While you’re rising these flowers in a pot, hold the soil moist however not soggy. Water from the underside of the plant within the morning to stop introducing fungal points. Proceed to maintain the soil moist even should you deliver the plant in for the winter. 

It’s possible you’ll discover you received’t should water as typically if the local weather is extra humid. Butterfly pea is at house with humidity and might be happier total when supplied with loads of moisture. 


You’ll be able to develop Butterfly pea flowers in lots of sorts of soil so long as they’re well-drained. Nevertheless, the most effective soil sort is sandy. A barely acidic to impartial soil with a pH vary of 6.6-7.5 is good. Since these vegetation favor loads of water, utilizing soil that drains effectively is significant. It received’t thrive in soggy soil and if the soil is just too moist, it may well appeal to fungal development. 

Fertilizing Butterfly Pea

The Butterfly pea’s roots type nodes that carry out a course of known as nitrogen fixing. These roots type a symbiotic relationship with the soil micro organism to transform atmospheric nitrogen into nitrogen-rich plant materials that may then be used for themselves. 

The primary time you plant, combine in a balanced NPK fertilizer to provide it an excellent head begin. It will guarantee a wholesome plant with loads of flowers. Then, after that, a potassium and phosphorus-rich liquid fertilizer after pruning is required a couple of times per 12 months.     

Pruning Butterfly Pea

Prune your butterfly pea plant when it will get leggy to encourage bushy development. Additionally, plan to deadhead the spent flowers if you wish to lengthen how lengthy it produces flowers. In the event you don’t deadhead the flowers, all of the vitality from the plant will go towards forming seed pods as a substitute of flowers. Lastly, give it an excellent pruning to permit it to relaxation till the subsequent time it’s able to bloom. 

Butterfly Pea Propagation

There are two strategies of propagation with these flowers – by seed or cuttings. Butterfly pea flowers are finicky when ranging from seed and it’ll take as much as one 12 months to your plant to bloom its pretty flowers. 

For the most effective success charge, soak the seeds for twenty-four hours after which place them in a moist paper towel to germinate. This manner, you’ll know which seeds are viable, and you’ll then plant them in seed-starting soil. Preserve the soil moist and supply heat and light for about 45 days.

Propagating from cuttings supplies a bigger plant with flowers in a shorter period of time. Select a smooth to semi-hard slicing from a longtime plant, then minimize the stem 6-8 inches and take away all of the leaves, leaving 2-4 from the highest of the stem. Dip the stem in rooting hormone and place 2-3 inches of the slicing into moist vermiculite or sand. 

Put the slicing in a heat place that gives not less than 6 hours of daylight. Preserve the soil moist, and it ought to type roots inside 30-45 days. 

Repotting Butterfly Pea

When rising butterfly pea flowers in a container, it’s good to repot it yearly to enhance soil high quality or after they have doubled in dimension. Use contemporary, moistened soil and transplant it to a container that’s 2-3 inches bigger than the earlier container. 


Butterfly pea in tea
Butterfly pea flowers shade liquids. Supply: alberth2

Butterfly peas and their accompanying flowers aren’t vulnerable to any severe ailments, however there are a couple of considerations to concentrate on. This subsequent part discusses easy methods to take care of any rising issues, pest infestation, or ailments which will come up. 

Rising Issues

The largest problem when rising Clitoria ternatea flowers is the quantity of water it receives. Because it originates in tropical zones, it loves loads of moisture. Nicely-draining soil is good for stopping the soil from changing into soggy. Additionally, it doesn’t take pleasure in being chilly. Ultimate temperatures are above 60 levels Fahrenheit. Convey it inside when temperatures drop to maintain it wholesome and blissful. 


Aphids or spider mites are probably the most extreme pest varieties you will note affecting butterfly pea vegetation. Aphids are small brown, inexperienced, or yellow bugs hanging out on the underside of leaves. They dine on the sap of the plant, slowly sucking the life from it. The leaves flip yellow and twisted, and the plant could cease rising. Neem oil doesn’t kill the aphids immediately however stops them from feeding till they die. 

Spider mites are minuscule, thus making them laborious to see. Shake a leaf or the flowers over a bit of white paper to search for small dots transferring round. Different indicators are webbing on the plant and white stippling on the leaves. The mites suck on the plant, eradicating the contents from the plant cell and forsaking silvery plant cells. 

Thus, the leaves and generally flowers look mottled with a yellowish or grayish solid. You’ll be able to blast them off with water for small infestations and introduce or appeal to predatory mites to your backyard. Prevention is the most effective line of protection. Preserve your butterfly pea wholesome and stress-free. Mites favor drought-stressed vegetation and dry soil. 


Fungal ailments corresponding to leaf spot or root rot are probably the most generally seen in butterfly pea. Excessive quantities of water trigger fungal points, normally by over-watering or water remaining on the leaves. 

Leaf spot begins on the decrease leaves and works its method up the plant. The leaves develop round spots with a spore within the middle and ultimately fall off. To regulate this, place the plant the place it receives loads of air move, water on the base of the plant to stop splashing on the leaves and flowers, scale back humidity, and prune to extend air circulation. Fungicides ought to be used as a final resort. 

Root rot is attributable to an excessive amount of water (and generally fungi that thrive within the moist setting), normally from over-watering, the soil not draining, or not having enough drain holes within the pot. An excessive amount of water causes the roots to die from lack of oxygen. They may seem mushy and start to rot away. 

Prevention is the important thing, and should you catch it early sufficient, you possibly can implement different measures corresponding to repotting in a better-draining pot with well-draining soil and adjusting your watering schedule. While you repot, clip off any mushy and useless roots and all affected leaves and flowers, then rinse the basis ball completely. For severe fungal infections, spray the roots with a fungicide earlier than planting within the new container with contemporary soil.

Regularly Requested Questions

Clitorea ternatea
Clitorea ternatea. Supply: douneika

Q: What’s butterfly peas good for?

A: The butterfly pea plant is nice as a tea additive. The blue natural colours of the flowers are a vibrant addition as a meals shade and a textile dye. Flowers are the portion normally consumed, and these have some conventional medication use, however many benefit from the tea generally combined with different flavors corresponding to pomegranate. 

Q: Is butterfly pea annual or perennial?

A: Butterfly pea is a perennial deciduous vine in heat climates. It’s grown as an annual in areas that obtain frost, and it’s a standard revegetation species in its native habitat. 

Q: How lengthy does it take to develop butterfly pea?

A: Butterfly pea is a fast-growing vine when supplied with the correct circumstances. When grown from seed, it is going to flower inside 90 days. 

Q: Are you able to develop butterfly pea flower indoors?

A: Sure, you possibly can develop butterfly pea indoors. Develop them in pots to maintain outdoor in the course of the heat season and transfer indoors when the climate cools. Many develop this vine year-round in a greenhouse as a result of it is a tropical plant. 

Q: Do butterfly peas want a trellis?

A: For the reason that butterfly pea is a vine, a trellis or some sort of assist is required. It will guarantee wholesome development and forestall fungal ailments. 

Q: What does butterfly pea style like?

A: Many say the style of Butterfly pea is like chamomile. Others say it tastes just like a lightweight inexperienced tea with earthy flavors. 

Q: Why does butterfly pea tea flip purple?

A: Butterfly pea incorporates anthocyanin, which is a pigment. Expose this pigment to one thing acidic, corresponding to lemon juice, and it’ll react and switch vivid blue.

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