Calico Vine Information: Learn How To Grow A Calico Vine

calico vine
calico vine
(Image credit: seven75)

The calico vine or flower is a perennial native to Brazil that resembles its relative, the dutchman’s pipe, and even commonly shares the name for the shape of its bloom. This climbing vine is a pretty addition to warm-climate gardens. With a little calico vine information you can start growing this flower to decorate and screen vertical surfaces in your garden.

What is a Calico Vine?

Calico flower (Aristolochia littoralis) is an ornamental vine. Native to Brazil, the calico vine grows well in warmer climates, and acts as an outdoor perennial in zones 9 through 12. Calico vine is grown to add decorative interest to outdoor spaces, to climb and cover vertical surfaces, for privacy screening, and just because the flowers are so unique. The flowers of the calico vine are very unusual, with a purple and white calico-like coloring pattern. They are about three inches (7.5 cm.) long and tubular shaped with a flared opening, somewhat resembling a pipe in shape. The leaves are large, bright green, and heart shaped. The vine grows long and is great for climbing a trellis or other structure. Calico vine is a host to the larvae of two butterfly species, and while it attracts bees and birds, it is actually pollinated by flies. One downside to growing calico flowers is that they give off a rotting meat odor that attracts flies into the blooms. Here they get caught in the fine hairs and covered in pollen before they are able to escape.

How to Grow a Calico Vine

Calico flower care is pretty easy if you give your plant the right conditions and a sturdy structure to climb. These vines prefer well-drained soil but otherwise are not particular about soil type. They need full sun to only partial shade. You can grow this vine in containers, but be sure there is something for it to climb. Water your calico vine more during the warmer months, and keep it drier in the winter. Calico flower resists infestations and diseases, so care for it is simple and usually problem free.

Mary Ellen Ellis

Mary Ellen Ellis has been gardening for over 20 years. With degrees in Chemistry and Biology, Mary Ellen's specialties are flowers, native plants, and herbs.