Aprajita or Shankhpushpi, also called Butterfly pea, Clitoria Ternatea, or Bluebell vine is known for its attractive and unique deep blue or white flowers. This plant is also said to have medicinal values.
Aprajita is an outdoor flowering perennial plant native to Asia and prefers warm humid conditions. This plant grows as a vine or a creeper and requires very little care and maintenance. The flowering season begins in late summers and lasts till winter. The plant becomes dormant during the winter season.
It thrives in well-draining soil with good moisture-holding capacity. The following composition of the soil is ideal for Aprajita:
- Garden Soil -1/3 part
- Coco peat or fine gravel – 1/3 part
- Compost – 1/3 part
The vines can be grown on the ground or in a pot having a diameter of 10 inches and above.
Aprajita grows as a vine or climber, hence good support in the form of stakes should be provided. Drive the stake deep into the soil alongside the plant and then tie the stem loosely yet securely around it. The growing tip of the plant can be pinched off periodically to give a bushy appearance.
The soil should be kept moist, especially during the growing season. If the upper layer of the soil gets dry then the plant needs to be watered thoroughly. It enjoys misting during summers. If proper moisture is not maintained, the buds may start yellowing and drop off. The watering frequency can be reduced in winters.
To grow a healthy plant full of blooms, bright direct sunlight of 5-6 hours is a requisite. Aparajita will not be able to thrive and flower without direct sunlight. During summers, the plant may be shifted into the shade to avoid the harsh afternoon sun rays.
The Aprajita plant is not a heavy feeder. Light feeding during its budding stage, with well-rotted cow dung manure or kitchen compost along with banana peel fertiliser, is helpful. The compost should be mixed well with soil and the plant watered thereafter.
Propagation is done mostly through seeds or cuttings. The seeds can be collected from the pods which develop on the plant. During early spring, the seeds can be germinated using a soil mixture of cocopeat and compost in a wide, shallow container. The seeds are soaked in water for 24 hours and then buried half an inch deep in the soil. Keep the soil moist but not soggy. The container should be kept in partial shade. The seeds should germinate within 2-3 weeks. Healthy saplings can then be transplanted to bigger pots and kept in direct sunlight after a week.
Aprajita grows faster from seeds as compared to cuttings. A mature stem cutting can be propagated in the rainy season using sandy soil mixed with compost. New sprouts will be noticed after 8-10 days. The plant may then be shifted gradually to a sunny place.