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  • Writer's pictureLynn

WINE CUPS (Callirhoe involucrata)

Updated: Dec 11, 2020

"I'm having a magenta day. Not just red, but magenta!" ~ Stephen King

Wine Cups (Callirhoe involucrata)
Wine Cups (Callirhoe involucrata)

I don't know how I lived so many years without this wonderful plant in my garden.

Wine Cups (Callirhoe involucrata), commonly called purple poppy-mallow or buffalo rose, shown here spreading and weaving its way through our garden, filling every nook and cranny with a hundred bursts of deep magenta pink. I love how they rise up on 3’ tall stems opening up to greet the morning sun and closing at dusk. Each chalice-shaped flower has five maroon petals and a stunning white star at the center. They are perfect sprawling along a garden wall (as seen here), along a tall bed, or in a rock garden.

Wine Cups (Callirhoe involucrata)
Wine Cups (Callirhoe involucrata)

What Makes Them So Special

A wonderful, long-blooming, drought-tolerant, perennial. Their bloom hits its peak in early summer, but continues well into the fall in my California garden, especially with a bit of deadheading. They are deer and pest resistant (though bunnies are fond of their leaves), and they do double duty on my pollinator friendly list attracting bees, butterflies, and other beneficial insects all summer long. Once established, they come in stronger each year with little fuss. And then there is that incredible burst of pink magenta.

What Do They Love

Wine Cups thrive in full to part-sun and well-drained or loamy soil, but also tolerate clay. Hardy in zones 4-8 (3 in well-drained soil). They like to be cut back to their base in late fall and fed compost or worm castings in early spring. Otherwise, they are rarely fussy. They grow on a tough taproot making them more drought-tolerant but difficult to move.

Wine Cups (Callirhoe involucrata)
Wine Cups (Callirhoe involucrata)

Native to North America

They are native wildflowers throughout North America particularly in the Central United Staes from southern Canada, south to Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, and Utah.. They grow wild in dry, rocky areas, such as prairies, pastures, open woods, and roadsides.

Fun Fact

According to Wikipedia, its genus, Callirhoe, is named for Oceanid Callirhoe in Greek mythology. Named after a group of nymphs numbering amongst "innumerable" (in the thousands) daughters of the Titans Oceanus and Tethys. Perhaps for its "innumerable" beautiful chaliced shaped flowers.


Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center:

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