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April 2010
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Aristolochia Elegans – how to grow and what are the soil conditions

A diverse race of climbing plants, they are mostly natives of tropical regions. Some of the aristolochias are noted for the extraordinary size and formation of their blooms. The larger flowered varieties, however, all demand a high temperature and extremely careful culture.

Characteristics of Aristolochia Elegans

– Aristolochia elegans is an evergreen vine with unusual flowers and heart shaped leaves.
– Calico flower is native to Brazil.
– Leaves are beautiful, bright green heart shaped.
– These are about 3 in long by 2 in wide and grow closely together to create a dense mass of foliage.
– Slender woody stems twine gracefully in tight coils around any support, growing to heights of 10-15 ft.
– Slender woody stems twine gracefully in tight coils around fence wire and other supports lifting itself to heights of 10-15 ft (3-4.6 m).
– The inner portion surface of the mouth of the “pipe” is covered with a purplish-brown pattern that is reminiscent of calico fabric which inspire this species common name “calico flower”.

Growing conditions for Aristolochia Elegans

– It requires only average soil to look good. Does well in light sandy soils as well.
– Avoid watering the the Elegant dutchman’s pipe excessively, always leaving the soil dry for a few days between one watering and the other, therefore let’s irrigate the substratum deeply every 2-3 weeks with 1-2 buckets of water .
– Light: Part sun to shade.
– Enrich the soil, towards the end of the winter or in autumn, with manure or slow release fertilizer; during the spring, once a month, we can add a fertilizer for green or flowering plants, rich in nitrogen and potassium to the irrigating water .
– Hardiness: USDA Zones 8 – 10. In zone 8 the tops will be killed to the ground in freezing weather but usually return in the spring.
– The propagation can be done by layers and by seed. “Volunteer” seedling plants are often found near mature vines.


– Because is has such luxuriously dense (and attractive!) foliage this vine makes a great screen.
– It is especially good at covering chain link and other wire fences.
– It’s also nice growing up a trellis on the patio or near an entry where the striking flowers can be seen at eye level by passersby.
– This rugged robust vine also does well in containers with regular watering.

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