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  • Writer's pictureThe Clayton Farm

Life Gets Better with Vine - Cape Sweet Pea

Dipogon lignosus Cape Sweet Pea - Australian Pea Vine, Dolichos Pea, Mile-a-Minute, Okie Bean. Native to South Africa, Dipogon lignosus (Cape sweet pea) is a perennial vine (family Fabaceae) with pink flowers and broad triangular leaves found in the southwestern ranges of California. It favors forests, woodlands, and riparian and bottomland habitats. It spreads via seeds and rhizomes. Evergreen or semi-evergreen in USDA zones 10 and 11, this amazing vine will reach 10’ in 2 to 3 months and bloom from Spring thru Fall! Held on arching stems, the sweet grape soda-scented pinkish flower clusters look lovely against lush, gray-green, heart-shaped leaves. The whole vine is romantic-looking and perfect for covering a fence, or arbor or growing around a door.

When it's in bloom, It is always my morning routine to have my coffee and stare at the cape sweet pea wall. Listen to the bee buzzing and hummingbird humming. It is especially a big-time magnet for the carpenter bees. We've got to provide some food sources for our garden friends.

As it's a member of the Fabaceae (Legume), it is a perfect cover crop. When they reseeded, I pull them out to fertilize my garden. Also, for gardeners with deer issues, this plant will divide deer's attention. So the deer will less likely to bother your vegetable garden. What is not to love?

Far too often, our great government like to act as God by labeling some plants as invasive when they are not native. Who says native plants are not invasive? Look at ourselves. America is full of invasive species - humans are an invasive species. As we spread out to parts previously uninhabited by them, the increase in population caused losses in biodiversity even hundreds and thousands of years ago.

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