October 23, 2009 by typicalgardener
Clitoria ternatea or butterfly pea brings to mind the yummy nyonya blue glutinous rice cakes one of my aunts make.
Hers is speckled with vividly dyed royal blue rice grains and served with an equally delicious homemade egg-coconut jam. Ahhh, food … but I’m getting side-tracked.
The clitoria ternatea vine will grow and bloom happily as long as it gets full sunshine and something to climb on to.
Clitoria ternatea come in a few colours; blue, pale blue (some may say purple) and white. However, the Clitoria ternatea is mainly grown for its edible royal blue dye.
As such, most gardeners plant the blue variety. We pick the flowers when they are in full bloom and dry them. I have never tasted the seed pods before, but apparently they are edible too.
Sow mature seeds to get the next generation of plants and remove the older plants once they get straggly and unkempt. Clitoria ternatea is a perennial, but is usually grown as a biennial.
We used to grow the single-petalled variety until we discovered the Clitoria ternatea var. peniflora. The double-petalled flowers are gorgeous and we grow it mostly to enjoy its glorious blue beauty.
Care and propagation: Not fussy with soil, full sun, water moderately; propagate using seeds or cuttings