The butterfly vine (Calico) is one of the most popular plants in the world. They are native to South America and grow wild throughout much of their range. Most butterflies use them as food sources during migration, but they are also used by birds and other animals for various purposes such as nest building or even as nesting material.
In Europe, it was first cultivated around 1000 AD. By the 17th century, butterfly vines were being grown commercially in England. However, the commercial production of butterfly vines in Europe did not begin until the 19th century.
It is believed that butterfly vines originated from the New World, however there are no records to prove this theory. Some believe that they came from China, others say they may have come from Africa. There are several theories about how these plants got to Europe; some think they were brought over by sailors who brought them with them on their voyages across the ocean.
Others believe that they arrived through trade routes established by Native Americans.
Whatever the case, butterfly vines have been growing wild in Europe ever since they were introduced into the region. The plants are very easy to cultivate and require little attention once planted. Butterfly vines do not need any special soil conditions and thrive well in almost all soils.
The flowers are big and brightly colored. They come in a wide range of colors such as red, pink, purple, yellow and white. The blooms are usually funnel-shaped with the tip ending in a narrow tube.
They also have a sweet smell that attracts bees and other types of insects. This is the main way in which they reproduce; by using flowers to attract insects that will spread their seeds when they move onto other plants.
As the flowers mature, they produce berries. These berries are small and red in color. They are poisonous to humans but the seeds themselves are safe to eat after passing through the digestive system.
Butterfly vines are classified as herbaceous perennials, meaning they die back to the ground each winter and regrow each spring from the base or root system. While some species die back completely, others will simply lose their leaves.
The leaves of a butterfly vine tend to be large and heart-shaped. They get their name from the markings on the underside of the leaves. These markings resemble the wings of a butterfly and give the plant its common name.
It is thought that these markings may help prevent the leaves from over heating in sunlight, or that they may act as a defense mechanism by trying to imitate the wings of a predator such as a wasp or hornet.
Butterfly vines are commonly grown for ornamental purposes. They can add a splash of color to the garden when in bloom and are also popular among gardeners who like to attract butterflies, bees and other types of insects.
It is easy to grow plants from butterfly vine seeds. If you want to do this, you should pick the berries when they are ripe and let them dry out for a few days. Once they are thoroughly dried out, you should then remove them from their core.
You can then either scatter the seeds on the soil of the plants that you want to grow or plant them in pots or trays first. The seeds need to be kept warm and moist in order to germinate – a temperature of around 75F will be perfect. If you are planting them directly into the ground, remember to keep the soil wet as this will help the seeds quickly germinate.
If you are planting the seeds in pots or trays, you should cover the seed with just a very thin layer of soil and just keep them moist. Be careful not to over water them though as this may cause fungal diseases and could kill your seeds. Also, you can dramatically speed up the germination time by placing the tray or pot near a heater or on a windowsill.
Butterfly vines can also be propagated by dividing the root system. This is a good way of increasing your stock of plants but it does require that you already have a healthy plant that is at least a year old in the first place.
The easiest way to divide the root system is to simply pull the plant out of the ground and chop the root ball in half with a spade or sharp knife. Each half can then be replanted to make two new plants. It is best to do this in the spring, when there has been no recent rainfall.
The roots of a butterfly vine can also be separated from the rest of the plant by gently digging around it with your hands. Each individual root can then be planted to create a new plant
Butterfly vines prefer sandy, well-drained soil. If you live in an area where there is heavy rainfall or your garden is on a slope, it is best to plant the vine in a pot and put this in a hole in the ground to prevent the roots from rotting.
It is also important to deadhead, or remove spent flowers from the vine each year to ensure that it won’t go to seed. This will stop the plant from expending its energy on making seeds and growing fruit rather than growing new shoots, leaves and flowers.
It is a good idea to use some fertilizer each year, especially if you live in an area with poor soil. You can choose a general-purpose fertilizer or one specifically for tomatoes. However, it is best not to overfeed the plant as this can cause some of the leaves to have yellow spots, which could be a sign of too much nitrogen.
Planting your butterfly vine directly into the ground is usually more successful than putting it in a pot and keeping it there. It is fairly easy to grow from either seed or cuttings.
If you want to keep the plant in a pot, remember to use one that has plenty of room for the roots to grow in. It is also a good idea to put a tray underneath to catch drains and water.
The best time to plant your vine is in the springtime, once the threat of frost has passed and the soil has begun to warm up.
More information on Planting a butterfly vine.
The growing period lasts from spring to late summer. This is when the plant grows the most and requires the most nutrients and water.
In this climate, the growing period is hot and humid. The temperature can reach up to 27 degrees Celsius (80 degrees Fahrenheit) in the afternoon and rarely drops below 18 degrees Celsius (64 degrees Fahrenheit) at night. Rainfall is usually low and spread out through the season.
If you live in a hotter or colder area, your growing season will be different than this. Use the internet or ask a local to find out what the climate is in your area. Then use the internet again to find out exactly when your area has the right conditions for your plant.
It is important to keep an eye on your vine to make sure that it is getting the right amount of water and food.
Overwatering is one of the most common reasons for your plant to become diseased and die. The soil should be damp, but not wet. If you can squeeze water out of a handful of soil then you should water again.
Don’t water it from overhead if you can help it, as this can cause fungal diseases to grow. It is best to use a watering can or put some soil in a pot on a tray and water this way.
Don’t feed the plant more than once a month. If the leaves begin turn yellow, this means that it has been fed too much. To reverse this, cut back on feeding or stop it altogether for a couple of weeks.
If you are growing your vine in a pot, it is best to put it in a bigger one. This will prevent the roots from getting cramped and rotting.
More information on Growing a vine in a pot.
The fruiting period for a vine begins when the last of summer ends and the first chill fills the air. It ends when the first frosts arrive. The plant will require less water during this time and it is best to stop feeding it at all.
This can sometimes coincide with the dying period, so keep an eye out for wilting leaves.
The fruit of the vine grows slowly over these months and changes color as it ripens. It is ready to eat when it comes away easily from the vine and has a golden yellow color.
You should be able to find when it is ready to be picked because birds will try to get it before you do! Protect your crops from birds and animals with netting or fencing, which you can buy from a hardware store or online.
Once you have picked the fruit, you need to prepare it before you can eat it. Place the fruit in a bowl of water with some lemon juice added to it. This helps to keep the fruit fresh and free of mold.
Change the water every couple of days until you are ready to eat it.
After you have eaten all the fruit, cut away any brown or black parts of the vine. These are rotten and won’t taste very good. Cut back the vine to a healthy part that can grow again next year.
Next, replant your vine in the same pot or in a new one. This time add some fertilize to the soil to help it recover from its efforts and give it some nutrients for next year. You can also give it a liquid plant fertilizer every couple of weeks.
Be careful not to get it wet for the first couple of days, as it will be quite tender after being pruned. It should start growing again in a couple of weeks.
Congratulations! You have now grown your own vine and can enjoy it every year for as long as you take care of it properly.
Harvesting your vine last year has left it weaker and smaller than before. It no longer takes up the whole of the pot and only fills half of it. The leaves have also gotten smaller, but they are still healthy and green.
Your plant needs less water and food during the winter months, so these tasks need not be as much of a priority for you. Keep an eye on how wet the soil is getting and water if needed.
The vine will remain in this state for a few months. It will eventually begin to bud and grow leaves, as the days get longer and warmer. Once this has happened, it will once again be ready to harvest come this summer.
You have done everything you can to make sure your vine continues to grow in health and size. Other than watering and feeding it during the growing season, there is not much else you need to do.
Once the vine has finished growing, harvested the fruit and prepared it, you can enjoy eating it all summer! Once autumn has begun, it is time to prune the vine to make sure it does not die over winter. It will also produce less if it is weak and underfed.
The vine remains in the soil year-round, so there are no extra steps involved for winter. Just keep an eye on the weather and make sure it doesn’t freeze over or get covered in too much snow. You may need to cover it with a tarp or move it indoors if these things happen.
Once the vine has begun to bud and grow again, it is time to prune it. This will keep it healthy and growing well. You may need to support its weight with string as it gets longer.
Once the leaves have grown large and developed properly, it is time to harvest some more fruit. Care for the vine as usual and make sure that you prepare and preserve the fruit before winter arrives.
The next year rolls around and your vine has grown well. It’s taken a lot of work on your part, but the results are worth it. You have a large, healthy plant that is covered in delicious fruit for you to enjoy.
The next season begins and your plant is starting to bud. It won’t be long now before the leaves start to cover the entire surface of the vine and it gets loaded with delicious fruit for you to eat.
Once the plant has started to grow leaves, you can begin harvesting the fruit. You can either pick them yourself or create a system that allows you to shake the ripe ones loose from the vine and catch them in a container below.
The next year, you find that your vine is growing fruit again. Once again, it’s too much for one person to eat in one season, so you do what you did last time and prepare it so that it will last. You can dry, salt, and sugar the fruit before storing it away for later.
Once again, you have a lot of fruit that you will not be able to eat in time before it goes bad. You could try to make wine, jam, juice, or other products to preserve it.
You aren’t sure if the flavor of the fruit would translate well into these foods though, so you are a little hesitant to try.
You decide to plant more seeds next year just in case though. Maybe you will discover some other use for the fruit as it grows or gain a better appreciation for the flavor.
Sources & references used in this article:
A strain of the alfalfa-mosaic virus causing vine and tuber necrosis in potato. by JW Oswald – Phytopathology, 1950 – cabdirect.org
A Practical Treatise on Dyeing and Calico-printing: Including the Latest Inventions and Improvements; Also a Description of the Origin, Manufacture, Uses, and … by EA Parnell – 1846 – books.google.com
State of the app: A taxonomy and framework for evaluating language learning mobile applications by F Rosell-Aguilar – CALICO journal, 2017 – oro.open.ac.uk
Calico and Linen Printing in Philadelphia by HE Gillingham – Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, 1928 – journals.psu.edu
A practical treatise on the cultivation of the grape vine.. by W Thomson – 1871 – books.google.com
Ethnobotany of Florida’s weedy vines by DF Austin – … Exotic Pest Plant Council and the Florida Native Plant …, 1999 – fleppc.org
Mechanisms driving avoidance of non‐native plants by lizards by LE Valentine, B Roberts… – Journal of Applied …, 2007 – Wiley Online Library
Taylor’s guide to growing North America’s favorite plants: proven perennials, annuals, flowering trees, shrubs, & vines for every garden by EPP Councills – Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council. April, 2005