The Snail Flower Is One of The Weirdest, Coolest Plants We’ve Ever Seen
The snail flower, which closely resembles some forgotten type of pasta, goes by many names, most of which are variations on the land mollusk it resembles. Even its scientific name, Vigna caracalla, is drawn from the Portuguese word for snail (“caracol”).
But unlike the garden pest from which it takes its name, the snail flower is a highly-prized specimen. In a private letter, Thomas Jefferson once declared the snail flower “the most beautiful bean in the world” (the plant still grows today at his Monticello Gardens).
Among gardeners, the snail flower is regarded as a beautiful complement to outdoor spaces– it reportedly has an extremely fragrant scent, somewhere between hyacinth and jasmine. The plant is relatively easy to grow as well– it does best in full sun and in high humidity, and can be sprouted from seed or propagated from cuttings without too much trouble.
The vines grow quickly and tall, however, so be prepared with a trellis or wall for them to climb on (snail flowers can reach up to 20 feet!).
Snail flowers are a fun garden addition both for their delightful smell and curious shape. Use them in lieu of pole beans for DIY garden projects like building a bean tee-pee or to create a trellised plant tunnel. Who knew snails in the garden could be so appealing?