Magenta or light purple, Winecup flowers stand out against the surrounding landscape even at a distance. The neon-colored flowers have a distinct cup shape that is closer to the look of a Poppy than a Tulip. Sprawling plants help cover the ground, filling in flower beds or creating a distinctive look when allowed to cascade down a slope or stacked bed. Yet it’s the deer resistance that has helped this wildflower spread far from its original native range and into gardens everywhere. In this guide, I’ll run through everything you need to know about Winecup flower meaning, symbolism, popular types, uses, and essential growing tips.

Winecup Flowers (Callirhoe involucrata) Meaning, Types, Uses, and Growing Tips

Winecup Flowers – The Essentials: 

Plant Family:Malvaceae
Scientific Name:Callirhoe involucrata
Native Range:Central and southern United States
Colors:Deep pink to magenta
Characteristics:Cup-shaped flowers with deeply divided leaves
Mature Height:6 to 12 inches
Flowering Season:Late spring to early summer
Growing Zones:4 to 8
Sunlight:Full sun to partial shade
Watering:Drought-tolerant with moderate watering in dry spells
Soil:Well-draining soil with low to average fertility
Fertilizing:Once or twice in the growing season with a balanced fertilizer
Pests:Generally pest-free
Pruning:Deadheading can promote continued flowering
Symbolism:Represents love and beauty

About Winecup Flowers

About Winecup Flowers

The Winecup is also known as the Poppy Mallow, despite not being directly related to the Poppy. Its scientific binomial is Callirhoe involucrata. It is related to the Mallow family, although distantly. The Callirhoe genus has only this species in it currently. 

The plant is unique with its combination of flowers that can reach up to 2.5 inches wide and sprawling, low-growing foliage. The flowers appear on thin, tall stems that hold them up above the foliage where they’re easy to admire. 

Winecup flowers are a native part of the prairie across the central states of the US, including Arizona, Texas, Arkansas, and north to North and South Dakota. 

All of the blooms appear in some variation of magenta, which can vary from almost purple to a lighter pink depending on growing conditions.

The Meaning & Symbolism of Winecup Flowers

The Meaning & Symbolism of Winecup Flowers

The genus name Callirhoe comes from Ancient Greek mythology. While a few historical figures also shared that name, it’s most likely the story of an Oceanid who accompanied Persephone during her journey to the underworld. 

Since Persephone was the goddess of spring, the whole world was trapped in winter while she was underground. Her return to the surface was heralded with the beautiful blooms of spring, and since Callirhoe returned with her, it’s not surprising her name was linked with flowers like this one. 

The Color Symbolism of Winecup Flowers

The Winecup name is derived from the cup-like shape and intense magenta color. In flower symbolism, the intense pink-to-purple color gives the Winecup a meaning of high energy, intense feelings, passion, success, and regalness. Combined with the wine-themed name, this flower is often used to symbolize going wild and having a good time.

Additional Symbolic Meanings of Winecup Flowers

Winecup flowers have also been associated with love and beauty in various cultures. These flowers are said to represent the passion and intensity of love. They are also known for their beauty and delicate appearance, which symbolizes the fleeting nature of life and the importance of appreciating beauty while it lasts.

Uses and Benefits of Winecup Flowers

In Native American culture, winecup flowers were used in various medicinal and ceremonial practices. They were believed to have healing properties and were often used to treat various ailments. The flowers were also used in ceremonies to honor the spirit of life and the natural world.

The roots of this plant are thin and taper as they go deep, but they have a sweet and starchy taste that makes them an occasional food source for Native American people in their range. It’s not really worth the effort nowadays to try to eat them, but it could be a fun way to use up extra roots if you have too many and nowhere to plant them. 

These flowers are also highly attractive to butterflies, bees, and other pollinators.

How to Grow Winecup Flowers

How to Grow Winecup Flower

Despite being adapted to dry soils, this plant isn’t limited to only hot climates. It’s happy to grow in USDA zones 4 through 8, returning despite cold freezes in the winter. 

Winecup needs a dry area with plenty of full sun. The soil needs to drain rapidly, so heavy clay and soggy soil won’t work for it. With good enough drainage, it can survive in USDA zone 3. 

It’s easiest to grow from transplants rather than from seed. Water weekly during the first year of growth, then only water deeply during periods of drought. 

Fertilize once per year in the spring when the leaves first emerge. Use gravel or non-bark mulch to trap moisture in dry areas and to warm roots early in cooler zones.

Caring for Winecup Flowers

Winecups benefit from deadheading as soon as the flowers start to wilt or dry up. This plant can flower for multiple months with regular trimming, but it will stop if seed heads begin to form. 

Let your plant go to seed if you want it to spread and fill in an area on its own. Once you have all the Winecup plants you want, start deadheading to prevent the further spread of seeds. 

Deer and most pests won’t touch this plant, but rabbits can eat them to the ground. During the first year of growth, try using a rabbit fence around them or cover them with chicken wire arched a few inches over the highest growth. 

These plants shouldn’t need any special care over the winter. Don’t divide or replant these plants since the deep taproot won’t respond well.

Creative Uses for Winecup Flowers

Winecup flowers are easily pressed flat and used dried to decorate cards and other paper projects. They’ll lose some of their vibrant colors but should remain a pale pink or lavender. 

The flowers can be dried as well since they have a palm shape that is distinctive and useful for decorating. Consider working them into wreaths when looking for more uses for fresh-cut flowers since their long stems make the job easy.

Winecup Flower Crafts

Winecup Flower Crafts

Pressing Winecup Flowers

  1. Use a wood or Masonite board press rather than the pages of a book since this flower can stain paper as it dries. Place two sheets of absorbent paper or paper towels in the press.
  2. Cut Winecup flowers that are just freshly opened with no discoloration or drying on the petals. Trim the stem off to right below the base of each flower. Gently flatten the cup shape from the side at the base first, arranging the petals so they create the shape you want in the finished dried flower.
  3. Place the flower between the two sheets of paper. Hold it in position as you lower the press and tighten it. Press the Winecup flowers for about one month at first, checking to see how they are drying before continuing until all are completely dry.
  4. Spray with a dried flower fixative if you plan to use the dried Winecup flowers in a decoration that is designed to last.

Adding Winecup Flowers to Fresh Flower Wreaths

  1. Trim the Winecup flowers early in the morning to keep them as fresh as possible. Cut the stem near the ground so you have as much stem to work with as possible.
  2. Find places in the wreath that could benefit from the bold magenta color or the graceful cup shape. Feed the stem into the wreath gently, sliding it through until the bloom is tucked into the rest of the flowers or foliage. Then secure the stem on the back of the wreath with a floral pin, trimming off the extra stem.

Winecup Flower FAQs:

What is the difference between Winecup flowers and other types of flowers?

Winecup flowers have a distinctive Poppy-like shape, an exceptionally bright magenta color, and low-growing foliage that is happy to sprawl over a slope. They also handle much drier conditions than most blooming plants.

How long do Winecup flowers bloom for?

Winecup plants can bloom continuously for one to two months with proper deadheading and watering. They tend to bloom between late spring and early summer in most climates.

What is the ideal climate for growing Winecup flowers?

Despite their appearance, these plants prefer colder climates to warmer ones. USDA zones 4 through 8 are ideal for it, especially drier areas.

Can Winecup flowers grow in containers or indoors?

As a sprawling plant with a deep taproot, it prefers to stay in the ground rather than grow in containers. However, a sizeable tiered planter or stacked hillside of flower beds works well for showcasing its cascading effect.

How often should I water my Winecup flowers?

Established and mature Winecup plants only need watering during the worst droughts. New plants still in their first year of growth should be watered weekly through the summer at least.

When is the best time of year to plant Winecup flowers?

Plant new Winecup plants in the spring to give the roots plenty of time to grow and develop. Be careful not to disturb the taproot when transferring them from a container to the ground.

How can I protect my Winecup flowers from pests and diseases?

Try using rabbit fencing or chicken wire covers to keep these pests from eating your plants to the ground.

How can I extend Winecup flowers’ lifespan after being cut?

Winecup flowers are best cut in the early morning. Keep the water changed daily so that bacteria don’t shorten their two to three-day lifespan.

Wrapping Up

Versatile, beautiful, and surprisingly tough, the Winecup flower is great for xeric gardens and playful bouquets. Put this ground cover to good use to bring more bees to your garden or to cover up that awkward slope that’s too dry for other plants. As long as you’re in the right zone, you’re sure to get good results from planting this hard-working flower in your garden.

Editorial Director | Full Bio | + posts

Andrew is the Editorial Director at Petal Republic. He holds a BSc degree in Plant Sciences and has trained professionally at leading floristry schools in London and Paris. In amongst overseeing a global editorial team, Andrew's a passionate content creator around all things flowers, floral design, gardening, and houseplants.


Andrew is the Editorial Director at Petal Republic. He holds a BSc degree in Plant Sciences and has trained professionally at leading floristry schools in London and Paris. In amongst overseeing a global editorial team, Andrew's a passionate content creator around all things flowers, floral design, gardening, and houseplants.

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