Aristolochia elegans Calico Vine
Calico Vine takes the cake for entertaining flowers. They're shaped like Sherlock Holmes' pipe and they seem to be checkered. Aristolochia produces large, heart-shaped leaves, quick cover for a fence or shed, and tons of the velvety flowers all season long. The lovely foliage is worthy of a spot in your shade garden.
Even the seedpods are cool. They look like unopened parachutes. Kids love this plant, especially when they find out the blooms EAT FLIES! Butterflies are big fans, too. Calico Vine is the host plant for Pipevine Swallowtails.
Native to Brazil, Aristolochia is evergreen in zones 8-10, tolerates a slight freeze, and in cold zones will grow back from the roots if mulched. Content in a container and a superior greenhouse candidate, it grows rapidly to 15-25 feet if fed and watered, prefers a bit of shade but does fine in full sun. Calico Vine is incredibly resilient for such an exotic character.
Soak your seeds overnight, then sow them on the surface. Aristolochia needs light to germinate. They're slow to appear.