Blue Ternate is an astonishing summer bloom that will quickly and easily add a lush tropical look to your home. Blue, bright and beautiful are all ways that you can describe this incredible evergreen perennial.
Perfect for a flower garden, for hanging baskets or framing the pergola over your patio, here is everything you need to know to cultivate, care for and grow Blue Ternate at home.
What are Blue Ternate?
This herbaceous plant, part of the Fabaceae family, is native to Asian tropical regions like Indonesia, Bangladesh, Malaysia and Thailand. However, these days it’s an incredibly popular household and garden plant across the United States, Australia and Africa.
Growing between 1 to 9 feet tall, this perennial plant blooms in shades of deep blue, purple and sometimes even pink throughout the summer and into the fall.
Named Clitoria ternatea, for its resemblance to the female sex organ, it is more commonly referred to as:
- Asian Pigeonwings
- Butterfly Pea
- Blue Pea
- Cordofan Pea
- Darwin Pea
How to Grow Blue Ternate
In the right conditions, blue ternate is a fairly hassle-free plant and quite hardy. However, you will want to ensure the following growth conditions:
- Sun is vital for big and bright blooms, so a full-sun spot is often ideal. However, butterfly peas can also be grown in lower light conditions. If indoors, try to find a location that offers a decent amount of indirect light, if not direct sunlight.
- These plants like it cool and moist. The ideal ambient temperature is between 66°-82°F. This is far easier to regulate when grown indoors. However, if growing outdoors, try to maintain soil moisture as much as possible.
- Although it can grow in a range of soils, you’ll ideally want rich, sandy soil filled with lots of organic matter. If growing outdoors, prepare the soil before planting for optimal results.
Soil PH is best around 6.6 and 7.5. (Find out how to adjust your soil's pH here).
How to Propagate Blue Ternate
Propagation can be undertaken quite easily, either from seed or from a stem cutting.
Growing Blue Ternate from Seeds
- Seeds can be purchased at Garden Centres.
- If growing outdoors, sow seeds directly into the soil during the springtime.
- If growing indoors, seeds can be sewn into a container even during the winter.
- Seeds generally take 1 to 2 weeks to germinate.
Propagating Clitoria Ternatea from Cuttings
- Stem cuttings can be taken at any time, provided the mother plant is healthy and thriving.
- Cuttings about 2-inches in length should be removed and allowed to root in a vermiculite mix.
- Wait for new growth to appear before transplanting into a bigger pot.
Planting Butterfly Pea
Transplanting into a bigger pot or into the garden should only be done after new plants have reached about 6-inches in height. Take care when removing the plant from the soil so as to not damage the root system.
You will need to:
- Dig a large hole around the base of the plant, loosen the soil and gently pull out your blue ternate.
- Shake the root ball to remove any excess soil that may still be caught around the roots.
- Dig a hole twice the size of the rootball.
- Treat the soil slightly with some additional compost, so the soil is at a 50-50 mix with the native soil.
- Place the root ball into the soil and backfill.
- Water well for the first few weeks.
You can either use a commercial compost mix to treat your soil with. However, we also have a very handy guide where you can save some bucks and make compost yourself.
Again, treating the soil before planting butterfly pea is only an option, and blue ternate can grow in poorer soil conditions. However, for optimal growth, a rich soil is preferable.
How to Care for Blue Ternate
Clitoria ternatea doesn’t require much additional care beyond regular watering. Should you be growing your blue ternate in an area that receives regular summer rainfall, you really won’t need to worry.
Certain varieties are also drought-tolerant, but to be safe, it is recommended to keep the soil moist but never waterlogged. Keep in mind that container soil will dry out faster, so it may need extra attention.
Fertilization is also not needed. However, if grown indoors, an organic fertilizer can be added to the soil once a year.
It is recommended to pinch tips and prune back leggy growth, which will encourage a full, bushy look. You’ll also want to prune back any dead, damaged or diseased growth.
Significant Blue Ternate Benefits
Now, it’s important to note that the blue ternate is not only a stunning garden plant. There is actually a wide range of blue ternate benefits beyond just landscaping.
When you conduct a random search for blue ternate, you’ll be surprised to see that many of the results encompass medical articles, all delving into the blue ternate benefits for everyday health.
It has a range of culinary uses, both for sweet and savoury meals. However, it is most known for its application as a herbal, medicinal tea.
Now backed by modern science, this traditional remedy has been proven to aid with significant ailments like cancer, dementia, diabetes, epilepsy, and many others.
Blue ternate tea is a powerful immune booster filled with a range of antioxidants, flavonoids and peptides. It can assist with significant illness and well as everyday health and wellness issues.
Significant blue ternate benefits include:
Blue Ternate Improves Skin Health
The wide range of antioxidants in blue ternate can do wonders for the skin. Not only will they slow down the signs of aging, but they help to improve the general tone and elasticity of the skin.
Improved Hair Health
Blue ternate tea helps to nourish the hair follicles. As such, it’s a powerful remedy for hair loss, slow-growing hair or rapidly greying hair.
Clitoria Ternatea Imporves Eye Health
The blue ternate tonic was often used as a remedy for ailments related to the eyes. It contains an essential compound called Proanthocyanidin, which helps to increase the blood flow within the capillaries of the eyes.
Improved Brain Health
Blue ternate not only supports the outer body but the brain too. Studies have shown that blue ternate can boost brain power, improve memory and enhance general cognitive skills.
The valuable compound Acetylcholine helps to improve nerve cell communication and, in turn, support brain function.
Blue Ternate Supports a Happy Heart
The risk of heart disease in modern society is no new concept. However, a healthy and happy heart are part of the blue ternate benefits. Regular consumption of blue ternate tea can help to lower blood pressure and regulate blood sugar.
Making it a potent elixir for those with hypertension, heart disease and diabetes.
Reduces Anxiety, Stress & Depression
Blue ternate has been a long known stress reliever since ancient times. The tea helps to calm and relax the central nervous system, which can curb the effects of stress, anxiety and even depression.
It’s why you’ll often find blue ternate as part of a night-time tea mixture.
It’s a Natural Paracetamol
The many antioxidants of blue ternate are not only good for the skin and hair. The mix of chemical compounds actually acts as a form of natural paracetamol that can relieve pain and reduce swelling and lower fevers. It can be used as a remedy for migraines, headaches, joint pain and arthritis.
Blue Ternate is Anti-Asthmatic
Consumption of blue ternate tea has been shown to relieve irritation of the lungs. This can assist with general issues like the common cold, continuous coughing and even combat the effects of asthma.
Blue Ternate Supports Weight Loss
One of the lesser-known blue ternate benefits is that it supports the digestive system and can support weight loss, especially for those suffering from metabolic disorders or obesity.
Blue ternate contains the critical compound of epigallocatechin gallate, which puts the body into a higher calorie-burning state and can boost the metabolism.
Now, it’s important to note that blue ternate tea is not a one sip fix-all solution. For significant issues, it is vital to seek out the advice of a healthcare professional. Blue ternate tea should only be used to support healing and not a cure.
Uses for Blue Ternate
Of course, the butterfly pea is often used for its landscaping applications. It makes a decent ground cover, but is also a climbing crop which makes it great for pergolas, patios and hanging baskets.
However, Asian pigeonwings are also used as a powerful, traditional ayurvedic medicine. It has often been used as an anti-asthmatic, anti-diabetic, anticonvulsant and anti-stress agent.
Asian pigeonwings can be made into a tea that is filled with nutrients, peptides and antioxidants. The tea has a range of health benefits, including enhancing skin, hair and nails.
The colour of the petals turns the tea into a gorgeous deep blue, making the tea look a lot like the tonic out of a fairytale book. Due to this colour-changing quality, Asian pigeonwings are also often used to add colour to baking and cooking.
Potential Butterfly Pea Pest Problems
This variety isn’t known to have any major issues. Problems only arrive if the plant is either over or underwatered. Common pests which prey on weakened Clitoria ternatea plants include spider mites and aphids.
Luckily, these can quickly be treated with neem oil or organic insecticide. The rot-related disease may also appear if the soil is not draining properly.
Blue Ternate Frequently Asked Questions
What are the Side Effects of Blue Ternate?
There are no known, direct side effects of blue ternate, and it has been tried and tested over centuries. Caution should be taken for pregnant or lactating women, as no studies have been conducted to look at any risks.
More so, it’s always a good idea for those with pre-existing health conditions to consult their doctor first.
Can You Drink Blue Ternate Every day?
There are no risks associated with regular consumption of blue ternate. However, those who have had overconsumption of blue ternate have reported experiencing bouts of nausea and diarrhea.
As with most things in life, one should enjoy blue ternate in moderation.
What is the Best Time to Drink Blue Ternate?
Some studies have shown that blue ternate can inhibit the absorption of iron from food. As such, it is recommended to have your tea an hour or so before or after a meal; this way, you can guarantee you are absorbing all the benefits from your meal and your tea.
What Other Blue Ternate Benefits Are There?
There is a list of health benefits of blue ternate, many of which we are still discovering. So, alone the landscaping and medicinal uses are more than enough to consider growing your very own blue ternate at home.
Other potential blue ternate benefits include:
- A natural colourant for food and desserts.
- A natural blue/purple dye for cloth.
- An edible colour-pop that can be added as a garnish to meals.
- Leaves can be made into a paste and used as a salve for skin ailments.
- It can be mixed with coconut milk and added to rice for a bright and delicious dish.
Enjoy the Health Benefits of Growing Blue Ternate in Your Garden
You will need to make sure you ensure enough light and moisture throughout the growing cycle for the best results. So, there you have it. Everything that you need to know to grow and care for some bright and blooming blue ternate plants.