Dutchman's Pipe

The Aristoloche, commonly known as 'Dutchman's Pipe,' is one of the most important facade plants -- a twining climber much appreciated for its remarkably lush, large, heart-shaped leaves. It is ideal for high vertical greening as well as for large metal walls/structures, and is also known for its ability to easily hide downpipes and lightning conductors! Apart from regular watering, it is fairly low-maintenance, and pruning is basically unnecessary.

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Aristolochia durior (macrophylla) and Aristolochia tomentosa

Aristolochia macrophylla durior
Aristolochia macrophylla durior

To thrive...

Pipe vine needs a sunny (full sun) to slightly shaded position, protected from wind, and nutrient-rich soil, fresh and moist with regular water provision (especially in sunny positions) to compensate for the high evaporation rate. These plants tolerate nearly everything, as long as they are watered regularly. Fertilising is beneficial. Distance between plants: 1 - 2.5 m

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Characteristics and Pruning

A twining climber, this plant forms thick leaf walls or canopies, 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, so 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! Dutchman's pipe won its name to its oddly-shaped purplish / yellow-green flowers that resemble an old-fashioned smoker's pipe; they appear in June / July, with cucumber- or capsule-like fruit. Prune and thin out every 1-3 years.

Climbing Aids for the Facade

Akebias love vertically-oriented climbing aids, with cables that are approx. 30-40 cm apart. Shoots have to be bound by hand on horizontal axes. See below for suitable systems. Choose medium, or preferably heavy / massive cable trellis systems; with potted plants, an easy kit may suffice.


Suitable wire rope systems?

Please click the icon to see the full suitability chart

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Greening Buildings

See examples here of facade greening with Dutchman's pipe...

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Maximale Wuchshöhe

Hier sehen Sie Beispiele von Pfeifenwinden, die höher als 10 Meter wachsen.

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Greening Objects with Dutchman's Pipe

With Dutchman's pipe, you can green balconies, pergolas, pillars, free-standing poles/masts and fences...

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Botanical Features

Here you can see the Dutchman's pipe's leaves, fruits, blossoms, autumn-colouring, phenotype in winter, and budding in spring. *Both types --  Aristolochia durior (macrophylla) and Aristolochia tomentosa -- are presented here for comparison.

Suitable wire rope systems for Dutchman's Pipe

Please click on the graphic illustrations for details!

  = suitable            = of limited suitability            = unsuitable