How to Balance pH for Butterfly Pea Plant (Clitoria ternatea)

Balancing the pH levels for the Butterfly Pea Plant (Clitoria ternatea) is crucial for its optimal growth and vibrant flower color. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the steps to prepare Butterfly Pea Flower Extract (BPFE), balance its pH levels, store and process it effectively, and maintain the ideal soil pH for your Butterfly Pea Plant.

What is the Ideal pH Range for Butterfly Pea Plant (Clitoria ternatea)?

Butterfly Pea Plants thrive in soil with a pH range of 6.0 to 8.0. Maintaining this pH range is essential for the plant’s health and the vibrant blue color of its flowers.

How to Prepare Butterfly Pea Flower Extract (BPFE)

Butterfly Pea Plant (Clitoria)

  1. Collect and Dry Fresh Flowers: Gather fresh butterfly pea flowers and dry them completely in an oven set at 75°C.
  2. Extract the Color: Grind the dried flowers into a fine powder and combine it with distilled water or a hybrid solvent of alcohol in water (i.e., 40% ABV (80 proof) vodka) at a solid-to-liquid ratio of 1:20. Heat the mixture to 170°F (~77°C) for 60 minutes to maximize extractable yield.
  3. Strain and Filter: Strain and filter the resulting solution to remove any solid particles. The remaining liquid is your Butterfly Pea Flower Extract (BPFE).

How to Balance pH Levels of BPFE

  1. Monitor Temperature: Store BPFE at cool temperatures to maintain its bright color. High temperatures can lead to increased concentrations of chalcone (yellow), resulting in a faded brown color. BPFE tends to be stable to these conditions due to its high color density caused by certain pigment compounds.
  2. Adjust pH Levels: The color of BPFE can change depending on pH levels. Adding ingredients like hibiscus or lemon can cause the flower to go outside its normal pH level (6.0-8.0), resulting in changes from blue to fuchsia or bright red.
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How to Store and Process BPFE

Butterfly Pea Plant (Clitoria) 2

  1. Refrigeration: Storing BPFE in a refrigerator can extend its reliability over time. This is especially important for pH paper created using the butterfly pea flower indicator solution.
  2. Long-term Storage: Storing the prepared powder for extended periods and preparing the solution when needed is another viable method of long-term storage. Approximately a year after the indicator powder was originally prepared, it produced a color scale similar to figure 1 when tested, indicating its effectiveness in long-term storage.

How to Balance Soil pH for Butterfly Pea Plant (Clitoria ternatea)

  1. Test Soil pH: Use a home testing kit or send a sample to a local extension service to determine the current soil pH.
  2. Amend Soil as Needed: If the soil pH is too low (acidic), add lime to raise it. If the soil pH is too high (alkaline), add elemental sulfur or sulfur-coated urea to lower it. Always follow package instructions for application rates.
  3. For acidic soil (pH < 6.0): Apply 1 to 2 pounds of dolomitic lime per 100 square feet to raise the pH by one unit.
  4. For alkaline soil (pH > 8.0): Apply 1 to 2 pounds of elemental sulfur or sulfur-coated urea per 100 square feet to lower the pH by one unit.
  5. Monitor and Adjust: Retest the soil pH after 4 to 6 weeks and make further adjustments if needed. Repeat this process until the desired pH range (6.0-8.0) is achieved.

What are the Ideal Growing Conditions for Butterfly Pea Plant (Clitoria ternatea)?

  • Temperature: Butterfly Pea Plants prefer warm temperatures between 68°F to 86°F (20°C to 30°C).
  • Watering: Water the plant regularly, keeping the soil moist but not soggy. Ensure proper drainage to avoid waterlogging.
  • Sunlight: Provide the plant with full sun to partial shade, ensuring it receives at least 6 hours of direct sunlight daily.
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By following these guidelines, you can effectively balance the pH levels for your Butterfly Pea Plant (Clitoria ternatea) and create vibrant, long-lasting Butterfly Pea Flower Extract (BPFE) for various applications.

References:
1. https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/publication/EP573
2. http://isjos.org/ISJOSv11p2-ButterflyPeaIndicator.pdf
3. https://www.thespruce.com/butterfly-pea-plant-7368944