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How to Start Aristolochia Cuttings

Aristolochia is a genus that contains over 500 species of plants, mainly woody vines. A. littoralis (formerly A. elegans), the one most commonly grown, is a vine, native to Brazil. Also known as calico flower, it derives its name from the deep purple calico pattern on the interior of the flower. The mature calico flower vine is heavy and will require staking or a support on which to climb. Calico flower is easily propagated by cuttings, taken in the fall, when flowering is complete. Calico flower is hardy to USDA zones 8a to 11.

Cut a 5- to 6-inch long piece of softwood from the Aristolochia vine. The piece should be one that has not yet turned woody.

Pour equal amounts of coarse sand and perlite into the planting pot. Water the soil until the water drains from the bottom of the pot. Water again, allowing the pot to drain completely. Using a pencil, poke a planting hole in the soil.

Dip the bottom 1-inch of the Aristolochia cutting into the rooting hormone. Insert the hormone-tipped end into the prepared hole in the soil and pack the soil around the cutting.

Place the Aristolochia cutting on the heat mat, set to 75 degrees F. Mist the cutting several times a day to provide humidity and mist the soil periodically to keep it from drying out. If your home is particularly dry, place wooden skewers around the perimeter of the pot and cover the cutting with a plastic bag prior to setting it on the heat mat. Adjust the bag over the skewers so that the plastic is not touching the cutting.

Place the cutting in an area that receives indirect light (not direct sunlight). You will know that the cutting has rooted when there is new growth. At that time, remove the cutting from the heat mat and the bag and place it in a sunny area. Insert a wooden skewer or other small stake into the soil, next to the Aristolochia, for support.

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