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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

Large-leafed pipevine greening a courtyard
American pipevine (Aristolochia durior) on two vertical wire ropes
Greening with Dutchman's Pipe "Aristolochia macrophylla" in an inner courtyard
American Dutchman's Pipe "Aristolochia macrophylla" led along a balcony post

Greening Buildings

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

Dutchman's Pipe on a residential building
Aristolochia macrophylla
High vertical trellis cables on a prefab apartment complex
Large-leafed Aristolochia macrophylla
Dutchman's pipe A. macrophylla on 3 parallel wire ropes
Dutchman's Pipe on a patio
Aristolochia macrophylla
A. macrophylla on tensioned wire ropes
Dutchman's pipe on wooden cladding
American pipevine
Aristolochia macrophylla durior
Aristolochia macrophylla
Aristolochia macrophylla
Aristolochia macrophylla
Aristolochia macrophylla on wire ropes
Aristolochia macrophylla
Aristolochia macrophylla
Hiding a drainpipe with Dutchman's pipe
A lightening rod greened with Dutchman's pipe
A lightening rod with Dutchman's pipe (18 m)
Aristolochia macrophylla (20 m), Leipzig / Saxony

Greening Objects with Dutchman's Pipe

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

House entrance with Aristolochia macrophylla durior
Thanks to the large-leaves A. macrophylla can be used for creating privacy screens
A green arbour with A. macrophylla
Privacy protection thanks to Aristolochia durior (macrophylla)
Green porch with Dutchman's pipe
Metal grid system, Aristolochia durior
Walls can be easily greened with this plant
Green pergola with Dutchman's pipe A. macrophylla
Green roof over a rubbish site
Small greenery in a shady garden
Dutchman's pipe loves vertical wire ropes, as all twiners do
Greening of an inner courtyard with Aristolochia macrophylla, Dresden / Saxony
House entrance with green pergola
Dutchman's pipe on a trellis

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.

Leaves of Aristolochia macrophylla durior
Large leaves on an Aristolochia tomentosa
The leaves of this pipevine can sometimes become quite dark, especially with good (nitrogen) fertilization.
Comparison of A. tomentosa and A. macrophylla with early autumn coloring
Comparison: Aristolochia macrophylla on the left, Aristolochia tomentosa on the right
Differentiation of 2 different pipevines on the basis of hairiness: A. macrophylla on the left side (always hairless) and A. tomentosa on the right (with hair)
Blossoms of A. macrophylla
Wire rope with Dutchman's pipe in autumn
A. macrophylla in autumn
Pipevine in winter
Aristolochia macrophylla
Capsular fruit of A. macrophylla
Typical growth of a twiner, budding in spring
Proliferation with new young leaves in spring
Aristolochia macrophylla
Aristolochia macrophylla
Aristolochia macrophylla

Suitable wire rope systems for Dutchman's Pipe

Please click on a graphic to call up its trellis profile!

   = suitable              = of limited suitability              = unsuitable