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Cowpea
Cowpea
Cowpea
Cowpea
Cowpea
Cowpea
Cowpea
Vigna minima
Hardiness Zones
Hardiness Zones
5 to 11
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Key Facts About Cowpea

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Attributes of Cowpea

Lifespan
Annual
Plant Type
Herb
Plant Height
91 cm to 2.5 m
Flower Color
Yellow
Leaf type
Deciduous
Ideal Temperature
20 - 38 ℃

Scientific Classification of Cowpea

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Distribution of Cowpea

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Cultivated
Invasive
Potentially invasive
Exotic
No species reported
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Questions About Cowpea

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Watering Watering Watering
Sunlight Sunlight Sunlight
Temperature Temperature Temperature
What is the best way to water my Cowpea?
To water Cowpea, you can use a garden hose with a spray nozzle, a watering can, or just about any other common watering tool. Generally, Cowpea is not too picky about how they receive their water, as they can live off of rainwater, tap water, or filtered water. Often, you should try not to water this plant from overhead, as doing so can damage the leaves and flowers and may lead to disease as well. At times, the best method for watering this plant is to set up a drip irrigation system. These systems work well for Cowpea as they apply water evenly and directly to the soil. For one Cowpea that grows in a container, you can use a similar watering approach while changing the tools you use. To water a container-grown Cowpea, use a cup, watering can, or your tap to apply water directly to the soil.
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What should I do if I water my Cowpea too much or too little?
The remedy for underwatering Cowpea is somewhat obvious. When you notice that your plant lacks moisture, simply begin watering it on a more regular basis. The issue of overwatering can be a much more dire situation, especially if you fail to notice it early. When your Cowpea is overwatered, it may contract diseases that lead to its decline and death. The best way to prevent this outcome is to choose a proper growing location, one that receives plenty of sunlight to help dry the soil and has good enough drainage to allow excess water to drain rather than pooling and causing waterlogged soils. If you overwater your Cowpea that lives in a pot, you may need to consider changing it to a new pot. Your previous container may not have contained soil with good drainage or may not have had sufficient drainage holes. As you repot your overwatered Cowpea, make sure to add loose soils and to use a pot that drains efficiently.
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How often should I water my Cowpea?
Cowpea needs water regularly throughout the growing season. Beginning in spring, you should plan to water this plant about once per week. As the season presses on and grows warmer, you may need to increase your watering rate to about two to three times per week. Exceeding at this rate can be detrimental to your Cowpea. With that said, you should also ensure that the soil in which your Cowpea grows remains relatively moist but not wet, regardless of how often you must water to make that the case. Watering Cowpea that lives in a pot is a bit different. Generally, you'll need to increase your watering frequency, as the soil in a pot can heat up and dry out a bit faster than ground soil. As such, you should plan to water a container-grown Cowpea a few times per week in most cases, versus just once per week for an in-ground plant.
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How much water does my Cowpea need?
There are a few different ways you can go about determining how much water to give to your Cowpea. Some gardeners choose to pick their water volume based on feeling the soil for moisture. That method suggests that you should water until you feel that the first six inches of soil have become moist. Alternatively, you can use a set measurement to determine how much to water your Cowpea. Typically, you should give your Cowpea about two gallons of water per week, depending on how hot it is and how quickly the soil becomes dry. However, following strict guidelines like that can lead to overwatering if your plant requires less than two gallons per week for whatever reason. When growing Cowpea in a container, you will need to use a different method to determine how much water to supply. Typically, you should give enough water to moisten all of the layers of soil that have become dry. To test if that is the case, you can simply stick your finger in the soil to feel for moisture. You can also water the soil until you notice a slight trickle of excess water exiting the drainage holes of your pot.
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How can I tell if i'm watering my Cowpea enough?
It can be somewhat difficult to avoid overwatering your Cowpea. On the one hand, these plants have relatively deep roots that require you to moisten the soil weekly. On the other hand, Cowpea are plants that are incredibly susceptible to root rot. Along with root rot, your Cowpea may also experience browning as a result of overwatering. Underwatering is far less likely for your Cowpea as these plants can survive for a while in the absence of supplemental watering. However, if you go too long without giving this plant water, it will likely begin to wilt. You may also notice dry leaves.
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How should I water my Cowpea through the seasons?
You can expect your Cowpea’s water needs to increase as the season moves on. During spring, you should water about once per week. Then, as the summer heat arrives, you will likely need to give a bit more water to your Cowpea, at times increasing to about three times per week. This is especially true of Cowpea that grow in containers, as the soil in a container is far more likely to dry out faster than ground soil when the weather is warm. In autumn, while your Cowpea is still in bloom, it may need a bit less water as the temperature has likely declined, and the sun is no longer as strong as it was in summer.
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How should I water my Cowpea at different growth stages?
Cowpea will move through several different growth stages throughout the year, some of which may require more water than others. For example, you will probably start your Cowpea as a seed. While the seed germinates, you should plant to give more water than your Cowpea will need later in life, watering often enough to maintain consistent soil moisture. After a few weeks, your Cowpea will grow above the soil and may need slightly less water than at the seedling phase. Then, once this plant is mature, you can begin to use the regular watering frequency of about once per week. As flower development takes place, you may need to give slightly more water to aid the process.
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What's the difference between watering Cowpea indoors and outdoors?
There are several reasons why most Cowpea grow outdoors rather than indoors. The first is that these plants typically grow to tall. The second reason is that Cowpea needs more daily sunlight than most indoor growing locations can provide. If you are able to provide a suitable indoor growing location, you may find that you need to give your Cowpea water a bit more often than you would in an outdoor growing location. Part of the reason for this is that indoor growing locations tend to be a lot drier than outdoor ones due to HVAC units. The other reason for this is that soil in containers can dry out relatively quickly as well compared to soil in the ground.
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More Info on Cowpea Growth and Care

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Basic Care Guide
Lighting
Full sun
Cowpea has a significant affinity for abundant sunlight exposure, though it can show adaptability to moderate light conditions. This quality helps the plant develop superbly and maintain optimal health. Excessive or scarce sunlight may hinder its growth process. Its natural environment establishes this sunlight adaptability.
Best Sunlight Practices
Transplant
4-6 inches
Transferring cowpea to the garden thrives when done during the warm embrace of late spring to early summer, ensuring a blend of long days and mild nights. Choose a sunny spot with good drainage, and for an extra nudge, acclimate cowpea gently to outdoor conditions beforehand.
Transplant Techniques
Temperature
0 - 43 ℃
Cowpea is native to regions with a warm climate, preferring temperatures of 68 to 100.4 °F (20 to 38 ℃). To maximize growth, adjusting the environment to mimic these conditions is recommended, especially during cooler seasons.
Temp for Healthy Growth
Pruning
Spring, Summer, Fall
A legume valued for its edible beans, cowpea benefits from pruning to enhance production and manage disease. For optimal yields, trim the tips of young shoots and remove any lateral branches that crowd the plant base during Spring. Clear out spent pods and unhealthy foliage in Summer and Fall to promote air circulation and reduce pest risks. Regular cutting back not only encourages growth and improves harvest but also keeps cowpea tidy and well-ventilated.
Pruning techniques
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Plants Related to Cowpea

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Coyote tobacco
Coyote tobacco
Coyote tobacco (Nicotiana attenuata) is an annual herb that forms a rosette at the base and produces small white tubular flowers that bloom along a tall stem. The leaves contain high concentrations of nicotine, which serves as a defense against herbivores and insects. This plant has ceremonial value to Aboriginal peoples.
Large-leaved avens
Large-leaved avens
Large-leaved avens (Geum macrophyllum) is a plant species that bears sticky fruit. Large-leaved avens can become stuck in clothing and pet fur. This weed is known best for its fruit, which is covered with spiky, velcro-like hooks that readily attach to anything that it touches.
Little robin
Little robin
Little robin (Geranium purpureum) is a strongly-scented herb native to Europe, north Africa, and western Asia. Its habitat is open grasslands or woodlands. It spreads by shooting its seeds out of the pod. They are further dispersed by adhering to people and animals.
Bredia sinensis
Bredia sinensis
Bredia sinensis is named sinensis, which is Latin for China, because that is the only place that this plant grows. You can find bredia sinensis in a range of damp native habitats from mixed forests to river banks.
Lime prickly ash
Lime prickly ash
Lime prickly ash (Zanthoxylum fagara) is a small shrub or tree that can grow to be 7 m tall. Lime prickly ash is also known as wild lime. This species is native to Texas and Florida in the United States.
Wild tantan
Wild tantan
Wild tantan (Desmanthus virgatus) is a perennial, herbaceous shrub that will grow to 61 cm tall. It grows wild and is considered a weed in some areas. It blooms from spring through summer with inconspicuous, white flowers. Its dense, yellow-green foliage is similar to that of a mimosa tree. It grows best in well-drained clay, loamy or sandy soils.
Hairypod cowpea
Hairypod cowpea
The common name for Vigna luteola derives from "waakimbala", a Native American Chickasaw word that means "hairypod cowpea." This plant has a particularly robust ability to repel pests because of the high levels of quercetin and isorhamnetin in its leaves. The genus name "luteola" translates to "yellow", referring to the plant's gold-colored flowers.
Mung bean
Mung bean
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Key Facts About Cowpea

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Attributes of Cowpea

Lifespan
Annual
Plant Type
Herb
Plant Height
91 cm to 2.5 m
Flower Color
Yellow
Leaf type
Deciduous
Ideal Temperature
20 - 38 ℃
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Scientific Classification of Cowpea

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Distribution of Cowpea

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Distribution Map of Cowpea

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Native
Cultivated
Invasive
Potentially invasive
Exotic
No species reported
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Questions About Cowpea

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Watering Watering Watering
Sunlight Sunlight Sunlight
Temperature Temperature Temperature
What is the best way to water my Cowpea?
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What should I do if I water my Cowpea too much or too little?
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How often should I water my Cowpea?
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How much water does my Cowpea need?
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How can I tell if i'm watering my Cowpea enough?
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How should I water my Cowpea through the seasons?
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How should I water my Cowpea at different growth stages?
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What's the difference between watering Cowpea indoors and outdoors?
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Lighting
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Requirements
Full sun
Ideal
Above 6 hours sunlight
Partial sun
Tolerance
About 3-6 hours sunlight
Watch how sunlight gracefully moves through your garden, and choose spots that provide the perfect balance of light and shade for your plants, ensuring their happiness.
Essentials
Cowpea has a significant affinity for abundant sunlight exposure, though it can show adaptability to moderate light conditions. This quality helps the plant develop superbly and maintain optimal health. Excessive or scarce sunlight may hinder its growth process. Its natural environment establishes this sunlight adaptability.
Preferred
Tolerable
Unsuitable
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Artificial lighting
Indoor plants require adequate lighting for optimal growth. When natural sunlight is insufficient, particularly in winter or in less sunny spaces, artificial lights offer a vital solution, promoting faster, healthier growth.
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Indoor plants require adequate lighting for optimal growth. When natural sunlight is insufficient, particularly in winter or in less sunny spaces, artificial lights offer a vital solution, promoting faster, healthier growth.
1. Choose the right type of artificial light: LED lights are a popular choice for indoor plant lighting because they can be customized to provide the specific wavelengths of light that your plants need.
Full sun plants need 30-50W/sq ft of artificial light, partial sun plants need 20-30W/sq ft, and full shade plants need 10-20W/sq ft.
2. Determine the appropriate distance: Place the light source 12-36 inches above the plant to mimic natural sunlight.
3. Determine the duration: Mimic the length of natural daylight hours for your plant species. most plants need 8-12 hours of light per day.
Important Symptoms
Symptoms of Insufficient Light in %s
Cowpea, a plant that thrives in full sunlight, is commonly grown outdoors with ample sunlight. When cultivated indoors with inadequate light, it may exhibit subtle symptoms of light deficiency.
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(Symptom details and solutions)
Small leaves
New leaves may grow smaller in size compared to the previous ones once they have matured.
Leggy or sparse growth
The spaces between leaves or stems of your Cowpea may become longer, resulting in a thin and stretched-out appearance. This can make the plant look sparse and weak, and it may easily break or lean due to its own weight.
Faster leaf drop
When plants are exposed to low light conditions, they tend to shed older leaves early to conserve resources. Within a limited time, these resources can be utilized to grow new leaves until the plant's energy reserves are depleted.
Slower or no new growth
Cowpea enters a survival mode when light conditions are poor, which leads to a halt in leaf production. As a result, the plant's growth becomes delayed or stops altogether.
Lighter-colored new leaves
Insufficient sunlight can cause leaves to develop irregular color patterns or appear pale. This indicates a lack of chlorophyll and essential nutrients.
Solutions
1. To ensure optimal growth, gradually move plants to a sunnier location each week, until they receive at least 6 hours of direct sunlight daily. Use a south-facing window and keep curtains open during the day for maximum sunlight exposure and nutrient accumulation.2. To provide additional light for your plant, consider using artificial light if it's large or not easily movable. Keep a desk or ceiling lamp on for at least 8 hours daily, or invest in professional plant grow lights for ample light.
Symptoms of Excessive light in %s
Cowpea thrives in full sun exposure and can tolerate intense sunlight. With their remarkable resilience, symptoms of sunburn may not be easily visible, as they rarely suffer from it.
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(Symptom details and solutions)
Chlorosis
Chlorosis is a condition where the plant's leaves lose their green color and turn yellow. This is due to the breakdown of chlorophyll from excessive sunlight, which negatively affects the plant's ability to photosynthesize.
Sunscald
Sunscald occurs when the plant's leaves or stems are damaged by intense sunlight exposure. It appears as pale, bleached, or necrotic areas on the plant tissue and can reduce the plant's overall health.
Leaf Curling
Leaf curling is a symptom where leaves curl or twist under extreme sunlight conditions. This is a defense mechanism used by the plant to reduce its surface area exposed to sunlight, minimizing water loss and damage.
Wilting
Wilting occurs when a plant loses turgor pressure and its leaves and stems begin to droop. Overexposure to sunlight can cause wilting by increasing the plant's water loss through transpiration, making it difficult for the plant to maintain adequate hydration.
Leaf Scorching
Leaf scorching is a symptom characterized by the appearance of brown, dry, and crispy edges or patches on leaves due to excessive sunlight. This can lead to a reduction in photosynthetic capacity and overall plant health.
Solutions
1. Move your plant to the optimal position where it can receive abundant sunlight but also have some shade. An east-facing window is an ideal choice as the morning sunlight is gentler. This way, your plant can enjoy ample sunlight while reducing the risk of sunburn.2. It is recommended to trim off any completely dehydrated or withered parts of the plant.
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Temperature
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Requirements
Ideal
Tolerable
Unsuitable
Just like people, each plant has its own preferences. Learn about your plants' temperature needs and create a comforting environment for them to flourish. As you care for your plants, your bond with them will deepen. Trust your intuition as you learn about their temperature needs, celebrating the journey you share. Lovingly monitor the temperature around your plants and adjust their environment as needed. A thermometer can be your ally in this heartfelt endeavor. Be patient and gentle with yourself as you explore your plants' temperature needs. Cherish your successes, learn from challenges, and nurture your garden with love, creating a haven that reflects the warmth of your care.
Essentials
Cowpea is native to regions with a warm climate, preferring temperatures of 68 to 100.4 °F (20 to 38 ℃). To maximize growth, adjusting the environment to mimic these conditions is recommended, especially during cooler seasons.
Regional wintering strategies
Cowpea has strong cold resistance, so special frost protection measures are usually not necessary during winter. However, if the winter temperatures are expected to drop below {Limit_growth_temperature}, it is still important to provide cold protection. This can be achieved by covering the plant with materials such as soil or straw. Before the first freeze in autumn, it is recommended to water the plant abundantly, ensuring the soil remains moist and enters a frozen state. This helps prevent drought and water scarcity for the plant during winter and early spring.
Important Symptoms
Symptoms of Low Temperature in Cowpea
Cowpea is cold-tolerant and thrives best when the temperature is above {Suitable_growth_temperature_min}. During winter, it should be kept above {Tolerable_growing_temperature_min}. When the temperature falls below {Limit_growth_temperature}, although there may not be any noticeable changes during winter, there may be a decrease in sprouting or even no sprouting during springtime.
Solutions
In spring, remove any parts that have failed to sprout.
Symptoms of High Temperature in Cowpea
During summer, Cowpea should be kept below {Suitable_growth_temperature_max}. When the temperature exceeds {Tolerable_growing_temperature_max}, the leaves of the plant may become lighter in color, prone to curling, susceptible to sunburn, and in severe cases, the entire plant may wilt and become dry.
Solutions
Trim away the sunburned and dried-up parts. Move the plant to a location that provides shade from the midday and afternoon sun, or use a shade cloth to create shade. Water the plant in the morning and evening to keep the soil moist.
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