James captured it as a Weepinbell and took it to a breeding center sometime before The Breeding Center Secret, in which he goes to retrieve it. He finds it has evolved into a Victreebel and is very pleased. Victreebel was used as James's secondary battling Pokémon during the latter half of Kanto, and throughout the Orange Islands.
During Johto, Victreebel became James's primary combatant. In the episode Here's Lookin' at You, Elekid, James is pushed into trading his Victreebel for a Weepinbell by Jessie and Meowth after the Magikarp salesman cons them by saying they can use its Sweet Scent to catch Pokémon. James has a flashback showing, for the first time in the anime, his first encounter with Victreebel (as a Weepinbell). Also in the flashback, James is shown using his Weezing to battle and presumably catch the Pokémon.
Later in the same episode, the Weepinbell evolves and bites down on Jessie, causing her to command Arbok to send the flycatcher Pokémon flying off into the distance. At the same time, the Magikarp salesman realizes that James's Victreebel will not obey him, and he kicks it away as well. The two Victreebel meet, fall in love, and skip off together into the forest.