Aristolochia durior (macrophylla) and Aristolochia tomentosa The Dutchman's Pipe is a twining climber much appreciated for its lush, large and roof tile-like arranged leaves. The plant is also known to “transform” down pipes and lightning conductors! Apart from regular watering, it requires little maintenance, and pruning is almost unnecessary. Available from nurseries is predominantly A. macrophylla with the non-hairy shoots, but frequently other species are sold under this name.
Sunny (full sun) to shaded Position, protection from wind beneficial. Nutrient rich soil, fresh and moist with regular water provision, especially in sunny positions, to balance the high evapo-transpiration rate. The plants tolerate nearly everything, as long as they are watered regularly. Fertilising is beneficial. Aristolochia tomentosa (Woolly Dutchman's Pipe) is hardier and requires less attention. Distance from plant to plant: 1 - 2.5 m.
A twining climber, this plant forms dense leaf walls or green roofs, but can also cascade down like a bridal train. A. macrophylla can develop extremely large leaves, A. tomentosa is generally smaller leafed. Initially, the plant uses its energy mainly for growing new leaves, hence yearly new shoots are rather sparse, especially during the first few years. Foliage from May to November. Doesn't look “straggly” in winter, as the sparse new shoots keep their decorative (light-) green colour. The older, perennial shoots are light grey. Not susceptible to fungal diseases!
Flower and Fruit
The insignificant purplish or yellow-green flowers look a bit like an old-fashioned smoker's pipe and appear in June / July, cucumber- or capsule-like fruit.
Prune / thin out every 1-3 years.
Best to use a vertical system with wires at intervals of approx. 30-40cm. Horizontal wires may require weaving in of the shoots. See below for suitable systems. Medium, best Heavy Duty Growth Support Systems or massive systems, in case of pot plants, a Light system may suffice.