Hedge plants

Planting Pipe Flower - Instructions and Tips


In our latitudes, the pipe flower (Aristolochia) can usually only be planted in a tub. Find out here why it is and how you do it.

© Jaap - Fotolia.comThe flowers shaped like a pipe gave this extraordinary plant from the rainforests of South America its name. The climbing plant with its large, heart-shaped leaves is not only visually an eye-catcher, it also offers reliable privacy protection, because the leaves of the pipe flower (Aristolochia), which are up to 30 centimeters in size, are stacked on top of each other like roof tiles and reliably block out prying eyes. You can read below what you need to consider when planting the bizarre plants and what other special features characterize the pipe flower.


  • 1 pipe flower - small plant description
  • 2 Peculiarities of the pipe flower
  • Plant 3 pipe flowers - find a suitable location
  • 4 Plant a pipe flower - choose the ideal substrate
  • 5 Planting Pipe Flower - Step by Step Instructions
    • 5.1 Plant the pipe flower in a bucket
    • 5.2 Plant the pipe flower outdoors
  • 6 Planting a pipe flower - an overview at a glance
  • 7 Repot the pipe flower

Pipe flower - small plant description

The pipe flower, or ghost plant, belongs to the particularly species-rich genus of the Easter luce family. More than 400 species belong to the genus. The original home of the climber-loving pipe flower lies in the Brazilian jungles. Animals like to climb their strong tendrils. The flowers combine in several inflorescences. There is a large variety of colors in the sepals, which can turn greenish to reddish or brownish. The sepals are tubular and have hairs on the inside. There are up to 50 seeds in each ovary chamber.

American pipe flower (Aristolochia macrophylla durior)
Growth rate:100 - 150 cm a year
Height:600 - 1000 cm
Spread:200 - 600 cm
Root system:Deep-rooting
Location:Sun to partial shade
Ground:nutritious, well-drained, humic, calcareous, sandy-loamy
"Show more pictures and data

Peculiarities of the pipe flower

The pride of this fast growing climbing plant is the flowers. In their shape, they are reminiscent of tobacco pipes. The flowers come in different sizes depending on the variety and reach dimensions of up to half a meter. A peculiarity of most flowers is the unpleasant smell reminiscent of faeces or carrion.

" Note: The pipe flower doesn't stink. The smell only occurs at night and is only perceptible to us when we smell the flowers.

Due to the distinctive smell, insects are attracted and held in the flower tubes. However, the pipe flower is not a carnivorous plant. The kettle trap opens again when the insects have done their pollination work and pollen is covering the pistil.

Plant pipe flower - find a suitable location

Since the pipe flower comes from the primeval forests of Brazil, it cannot be cultivated outdoors all year round in our latitudes. Only a few varieties of the climbing plant are hardy, the non-winter-proof specimens need a stand in the bucket, which simplifies the move to the winter quarters in the house.

A warm and bright location should be found for the exotic pipe flower. The plant does not need direct sunlight. A sunny position is tolerated, however, if the pipe flower receives sufficient water. The plant feels particularly comfortable in a protected location. In any case, it should be a warm location.

If the temperatures permanently drop below ten degrees, it is time to move to the winter quarters. The plants are bright and frost-free to winter. Temperatures between 10 and 15 degrees are ideal.

Plant pipe flower - choose the ideal substrate

The pipe flower makes no great demands on the floor. As far as it is a permeable substrate, the exotic climbing plant will cope well with it.

" Tip: Perlite can be used to make the substrate more permeable.

Normal single earth is quite suitable. It is advisable to mix the substrate with sand, clay and loam earth. If the soil is too nutritious, the pipe flower will get less well. Pure compost as substrate is therefore not necessary. If the compost is mixed with topsoil, the substrate is suitable.

Planting pipe flower - step by step instructions

It is important to differentiate between hardy and non-hardy varieties. As mentioned above, most pipe flowers are not hardy and are therefore planted in the tub.

Plant the pipe flower in a bucket

  1. Select planter
  2. Prepare the substrate
  3. Insert drainage
  4. Insert the plant
  1. Fill in the substrate
  2. Press the earth down well
  3. Water the plant
  4. Attach climbing aid
A sufficiently large planter is required for the container. The pipe flower needs a lot of space to be able to develop a stable root system. The planter should have enough holes in the bottom of the vessel so that the irrigation water can drain off and does not build up. The exotic plants do not tolerate waterlogging. Too much moisture attacks the roots and causes the plants to rot.

Remedy against waterlogging creates a drainage in the bottom of the planter. Simply cover the bottom of the vessel with shards of clay or gravel and then fill in the substrate. The plant is placed in the center of the planter and then the substrate has to be filled up. The substrate is pressed on well and the pipe flower is sufficiently watered. A climbing aid should already be attached during planting, because the pipe flower grows very quickly. If the plant is potted, a suitable stand is sought. Between May and September this can be on the balcony or terrace.

Some types of pipe flowers are hardy and can therefore be planted directly outdoors.

Plant the pipe flower outdoors

  1. Select location
  2. Loosen the soil
  3. Prepare the substrate
  4. Water the plant
  5. Dig out the planting hole
  1. Insert drainage
  2. Insert the plant
  3. Close the planting hole
  4. Water the plant
  5. Attach climbing aid
The location is chosen according to the requirements of the plant. A semi-shaded and sheltered stand is preferred. The soil should first be loosened thoroughly. A permeable substrate is important for the development of the pipe flower. Sand, gravel or perlite make the soil more permeable. While the planting hole is being excavated to a sufficient size, the pipe flower is to be placed in a container with water. The plant is left there until no more air bubbles rise, then the roots have adequately supplied themselves with moisture.

Before the plant is used, a drainage of shards of clay or gravel must be brought into the ground. The pipe flower is then placed in the center of the planting hole and the substrate is filled in. Finally, the plant is watered well and also provided with a climbing aid.

Planting a pipe flower - an overview of the information

Select locationThe jungle plant prefers a bright and warm location.
Direct sunlight is not necessary, but is well tolerated with sufficient irrigation.
A pipe sheltered location accommodates the pipe flower.
Prepare the substrateThe most important thing when choosing a substrate is its permeability.
It is therefore advisable to upgrade the soil with sand or pearlite.
Common earth can be mixed with sand and clay.
Plant pipe flowerPipe flowers are usually planted in the tub because they are not hardy varieties.
When choosing the planter, it is important to have a sufficient size.
The pipe flower should be watered well before planting.
The climbing plant needs a climbing aid.

Repot the pipe flower

If a sufficiently large planter was chosen, the pipe flower does not have to be transplanted in the first two years of standing. Even if the planter should last longer than this period, repotting regularly is an advantage because the substrate in the planter wears out very quickly.

While repotting, the plant not only receives a larger planter, but also new soil. The root ball can be checked on this occasion. Deficits caused by waterlogging or pest infestation quickly become apparent. If you want to propagate the plant, you can use transplanting to divide the root ball and transplant it separately.