Care and Feeding of an Aristolochia grandiflora

bookwyrme(9)January 26, 2008

About 2 years ago, I got an Aristolochia grandiflora in as an "extra" in a garden order. It survived in a smallish pot for about a year before being transplanted into a big pot at the side of a house where it made me very happy by taking off.

Two difficulties, though: In the year it grew there, I only got one flower. I would really, really like to have more.

The second is that something, either the really, really dry Santa-Ana weather + ash & gunk in the air, or a cold snap, turned all the leaves black. I ended up cutting it back severely, which may not have been the best move though it now has several promising-looking leaf buds.

So, now I'm wondering 1) How can I get more flowers? and 2) *Was* cutting it back the right move? Or, should this happen again, should I let the leaves all fall off & the vine skeleton remain? 3) Is it possible to keep the leaves from all blackening? 4) Anything else I should know? It is a really neat plant & I'd like to take the best care possible of it, and there's not a lot online or in books.

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I don't know if the care for the A. grandiflora is the same as for the A. fimbriata or A. ringens. Mine are container grown because I'm in zone 7 but I keep them in full morning sun/partial afternoon sun. I give them a balanced fertilizer and kelp extract every couple weeks during the growing season. I'll also give them a foliar feeding every few weeks. I cut them back in the fall and keep them semi dormant in an unheated greenhouse that remains above freezing over the winter. In the spring I start feeding and watering them. I also give them a few doses of ST the first few weeks of the growing season. They are covered with blooms from late June until I cut them back for the winter. The cold will turn the foliage black. Cutting the damaged growth was the right thing to do. It should be replaced with healthy foliage soon. They really are cool looking flowers. I planted them hoping to attract butterflies. No butterflies but I love the plants anyway.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2008 at 6:08PM
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I would guess the cold caused the leaves to blacken, They will do that if it gets too cold.

I have found A grandiflora easy to flower. You will have better luck if you put it in the ground. It will grow much better and will also flower more profusely. Put it in the ground with as much sun as possible. With a strong trellis and ample water I think you will have plenty of flowers come summer.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2008 at 10:21PM
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Ah, maybe it's more water it needs in the summer time. I'm never sure how much to give it.

I wish I could put it in the ground, but I've two passion vines, one has a lock on the front yard & one on the back. Literally--the backyard one can send runners up under the cement so that they come up clear across the yard; it's very impressive, but makes it likely that no other vine could find root space.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2008 at 2:06PM
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Is this plant / scent from the flower poisonous to human?
I'm wondering where to plant it at my garden. Please advise... Some other source said that the scent is poisonous.... :(

    Bookmark   July 25, 2010 at 11:16PM
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The scent is not pleasant but it's certainly not poisonous. Parts of the plant are toxic if ingested. Plant it wherever you like, just don't eat it!

    Bookmark   July 26, 2010 at 8:47PM
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