The Dutchman’s pipe the common name for Aristolochia macrophylla [a-ris-toh-LOH-kee-uh mak-roe-FILL-ah] is a climbing plant (trellis) with large leaves.
If allowed Aristolochia will quickly cover the surface, it’s growing over.
Dutchman’s pipe (formerly Aristolochia durior) is native to the eastern half of North America and part of the Aristolochiaceae family.
It’s a hardy plant producing interesting flowers resembling smoking pipes.
While the dense foliage often hides the flowers, they are a truly unique feature.
To see these flowers bloom each year, follow these care tips.
Dutchman’s Pipe Care
Size & Growth Rate
Recommended for USDA hardiness zones 4 – 8, Aristolochia is climbing plant.
Given the proper structure to cling to plants can easily grow to a height of 30′ to 40′ feet.
The clinging vines grow quickly producing broad leaves that create a dense cover. The heart-shaped leaves can reach up to 12″ inches.
The leaves tend to shed in the winter and come back in the early spring. By the early summer, you should have a dense, lush wall of leaves.
Flowering and Fragrance
The plant flowers in May. As mentioned, the leaves can cover the flowers, making them difficult to detect.
They are small, green flowers resembling little smoking pipes. Despite their similarity to pipes, they don’t produce any scent.
Light & Temperature
The Dutchman’s pipe is a hardy outdoor plant and can tolerate a variety of climates, including regions experiencing harsh winters. It will grow in both full sun or partial sun.
A versatile plant is usable just about anywhere on your property. While you can place it in the shade, the full sunlight helps bring out the beauty of the large leaves shaped like hearts.
Watering and Feeding
The plant doesn’t need watering often. In a dry region or locations experiencing a dry spell, make sure the plant doesn’t completely dry out.
You can also use regular plant fertilizer mixed with the water to supply it with more nutrients. Use fertilizer two to three times during the spring and summer season.
Soil & Transplanting
The Dutchman’s pipe vine doesn’t require any particular soil. Regular gardening soil is all you need to give this plant a new home. Make sure the soil is not too dry.
TIP: If you want to grow large, robust leaves, use a rich, nutrient-filled gardening soil, as it will provide a healthier home for the plant.
Transplanting is not necessary. Aristolochia is a large climbing vine that should be grown next to a structure where the foliage can start climbing.
Maintenance and Grooming
To manage plant growth, trim it back in the winter or early spring. Trim stray vines any time of the year. No other grooming is needed.
TIP: Trim the plant a little bit each year. Without regular pruning, plants can quickly become unmanageable.
How to Propagate Aristolochia Vine
Propagate from cuttings or by division. With either option, you should grow the new plants in their own containers.
When taking cuttings, ensure that the cutting has at a couple of leaves. You can then plant it in a container with rich gardening soil.
The following year, move the plants to permanent homes in your yard or flower bed.
Dutchman’s Pipevine Pests or Diseases
This hardy plant doesn’t have any major disease problems or pests. The plant can quickly outgrow any damage caused by aphids and other pests.
As the plant grows quickly and can reach 40′ feet, it is an invasive species in some regions. Check with a local nursery to determine if the plant is off limits.
NOTE: It is a host plant for the pipevine swallowtail butterfly.
Suggested Aristolochia Uses
Due to the size of the plant, consider growing the dutchman’s pipe Aristolochia outdoors. It also needs something to hold onto.
Plant near a trellis, fence, or other outdoor structure. To grow along a wall, use steel wire to support the plant.
Some homeowners use these plants to cover old, dead trees.
Plant Dutchman’s pipe around a dead tree, allowing the climbing vine to grow around the trunk and the lifeless branches.
If you decide to plant the Dutchman’s pipe, give it plenty of space – both above and below ground. It needs space to grow its vines and leaves.
It also needs room to support its big root structure.