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Annie in Austin
Welcome! As "Annie in Austin" I blog about gardening in Austin, TX with occasional looks back at our former gardens in Illinois. My husband Philo & I also make videos - some use garden images as background for my original songs, some capture Austin events & sometimes we share videos of birds in our garden. Come talk about gardens, movies, music, genealogy and Austin at the Transplantable Rose and listen to my original songs on YouTube. For an overview read Three Gardens, Twenty Years. Unless noted, these words and photos are my copyrighted work.
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Wednesday, June 14, 2006


This floral combination on the metal arch is really pleasing me right now, although it sure is not what I’d planned. Earlier in spring, the Lady Banks yellow rose threw her yellow-blooming canes onto the arch from the left side. Now the native coral honeysuckle and what’s probably a Snail vine are growing up from the right side. In March, I was delighted to find the vine, supposed to be annual here, as inexpensive little plants from the Travis County Master Gardeners’ booth at Zilkerfest/Florarama, labeled as Vigna caracalla.

Before the fest, I’d been mining garden sites for information on Corkscrew and/or Snail vine, and found many heated and conflicting opinions. Some insist that Phaseolous caracalla refers only to Snail Vine, a related but separate genus, producing lavender, scentless blooms. They say that Vigna caracalla is the scented plant that is seen at Monticello. Other online experts were just as positive that Phaseolous was an outdated name, that the species was moved into Vigna, and that the scent and color were a result of selection, with both the fragrant and non-scented versions sharing the same name.

Naturally, I was hoping that mine would turn out to be the fragrant white one with blushes of yellow & purple, and thought it would look wonderful with the honeysuckle.

Just as naturally, both of mine turned out to be the lavender one with no fragrance. And the ants adore it. Although this snail vine may not have the scent and color of the corkscrew vine, growing it on the arch lets me see its intricate shape at eyelevel.


  1. I've never seen a snail vine before. It looks very interesting. Does it take over everything around it (like morning glories) or is it more mannerly?

  2. I'm not sure yet! The one on the arch is in a large container, so it hasn't gone wild, but the other plant is in the ground under a metal obelisk. That plant has sent out a number of strands which now cover the four legs and the crosspieces of the obelisk, and it's waving the loose ends 8-feet up in the air. Lordy, I hope it really is an annual!


  3. Hi, I don't know if you've gotten an answer yet, but that is a snail vine. Snail Vines are singular purple flowers that are not fragrant.

    Corkscrew, on the other hand, grow in big clusters and are fragrant.

    I suggest checking out davesgarden.com to learn more about it.

    Also, if you're really into gardening, I suggest checking out yougrowgirl.com forums. I am a newbie gardener, but I have learned so much from reading around on there!

    By the way, those are coming along beautifully.

  4. Hi Andrea,

    Yeah, although it was labeled 'corkscrew' it was pretty obvious that I had myself a snail once it bloomed. No scent is really a bummer!! Good luck to you with your Corkscrew vine - I hope your labeling is correct and that you will put a photo of the lovely flower on your blog.

  5. Snail, Corkscrew, It is still beautiful. I have this fragrant corkscrew that I got from Park Seed last year growing on a trellis, and it smells and looks amazing.

  6. Hello Allison,

    The snail vine was lovely enough so that I let the second one take over the oblelisk until frost! Thank you for the Park's advice - I'd seen the corskscrew vine listed there, but was not sure where to buy one after hearing Andrea's experience at "Once More, With Feeling!"


    Thank you so much for visiting and commenting,


  7. Annie,
    I just bought a vine today at Natural Gardener (see my blog for the post about it and a picture). It was labeled Snail Vine, but it is white and fragrant, which sounds more like corkscrew. Before I plant it, I'm now worried about its invasive nature. How did yours do? Thanks, Robin at Getting Grounded

  8. I didn't find it to be invasive, Robin - just the opposite! The one on the obelisk died over winter. It was pretty, but I needed the obelisk for the blue pea vine and the white moonflower vine which were prettier!

    I just looked at your blog and you have the real corkscrew vine...the vine that I thought I was buying! My snail vine had zero fragrance factor.

    Maybe you could take cuttings to root before frost just in case it doesn't make it?



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