In hotter climates, this vine would grow 25 feet and flower profusely in one season. Not so much in mild-weathered San Francisco.
Normally, I am very pro-seed and I try to grow as much as possible from seed. But for C. scandens, I would recommend buying the plant. Germination was difficult, and a great deal of time, effort, and resources went into getting even one plant. Yes, I nicked the seeds. Yes, I sowed them edgewise. In fact, I worked every angle. But I still got only one plant from dozens of seeds.
Unless you desire the subtle pleasures of a similar experience, why not just buy the plant?
Do you have strong feelings about the benefits of seed propagation?
I generally do. For me, the most compelling arguments usually have something to do with promoting genetic diversity--especially with native plants whose ranges are decreasing with ongoing land development. As it happens, that opens up discussion about "natural ranges" and, perhaps surprisingly, "genetic diversity". In California, people argue about whether it's appropriate to grow seeds from the south in the north, and vice versa.
Some believe genetic material exported from one location will overwhelm material in other locations and thus reduce total diversity. Others believe genetic material is already flowing, and populations are already speciating--so it goes, so has it ever been. Absent a detailed genetic understanding, I tend favor the second viewpoint. We know animal populations benefit from gene flow--why not plants? (Note: There is much conflict about these subjects in scientific circles. Some of it is based on science and some of it is based on pseudoscience. Beware. Or rather, be aware.)
So I'm a supporter of genetic diversity. Well, who isn't. Gardeners, some of them, have strong feelings about monocultures. Those monocultures, driven by short-term economies of scale, are bad. We should promote more diversity. I wonder, is there a limit on that? How much diversity is worth preserving?
The Seed Savers Exchange notes a loss of apple tree varieties since 1900.
"In 1900 there were about 8,000 named varieties of apples in the U.S., but the vast majority are already extinct and the rest are steadily dying out. In an attempt to halt this constant genetic erosion, SSE has obtained all of the pre-1900 varieties that still exist in government collections and large private collections, but has only found about 700 that remain of the 8,000 known in 1900. SSE has developed the most diverse, public orchard in the U.S. where those 700 different varieties of 19th century apples are on display."
(Note: The printed catalog says there were only 7,000 named varieties of apples in the U.S. in 1900--and neither source cites a reference.)
Seven thousand varieties sounds like a lot of apples. Should I believe it? Were those apples really all that different from each other? Was each one was worth saving? Should I be upset about the loss of 6,000-7,000 apple varieties when there are still "about 700" remaining, plus what's been developed since 1900? How upset should I be? So far, I'm not losing any sleep over it. (Are you?)
I've been reading Steve Solomon's book, Gardening When It Counts: Growing Food in Hard Times. It's about the the anticipated future decline of cheap oil and "the threat of harder times...prompting people to grow more food themselves" and how contemporary intensive methods are not sustainable. Solomon advocates using less resource-intensive growing methods. That's fine, but he advocates using those methods on 3000-5000 sq. ft. of land per family (his family being two people, him and his wife). That's a lot of land for two people. If every two people had that much land...well, it might not bother Michele Owens who prefers the sight of a tidy New England farm to Yosemite and Big Sur.
That's fine for her, but it's not going to work for me.
If we really are entering a time of unprecedented scarcity, some sacrifices will clearly have to be made, whether it be land or genetic diversity, or both--and/or other assets. Are you prepared to make sacrifices? It's hard to think about sacrifice in the Year of More (a nod to Lisa). But if it had to be, I could let go of Cobaea scandens.
Hell, I could be growing grapes.