Hedge plants

Caring for pipe flower - tips for watering, fertilizing & hibernating


The pipe flower captivates with its special blossoms with a fascinating appearance. So that these also develop, there are a number of things to consider when caring for them.

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The pipe flower (Aristolochia) is an impressive phenomenon that often amazes us. First there are the flowers of the ghost plant, which resemble a tobacco pipe and become a kettle trap for insects, but only until they have pollinated the pipe flower. The large heart-shaped leaves should not be underestimated either. If you want to beautify the balcony and terrace with this really extraordinary plant, there are a few care instructions to consider.

Important care instructions for the pipe flower

❖ Pour:

The plant comes from the rainforests of Brazil and needs regular watering. On hot days it may be necessary to water several times a day, especially if a sunny location has been chosen. The earth should feel evenly moist. Under no circumstances should waterlogging occur. If the pipe flower gets “wet feet”, this leads to root damage and the plants can rot.

Even in winter quarters, care must be taken to ensure that the earth does not dry out completely. To improvise the warm, humid climate of the rainforest, it is advisable to spray the plant regularly. Since tap water often causes unsightly lime spots, rainwater or stale tap water should preferably be used.


  • water regularly
  • Earth must not dry out
  • Avoid waterlogging
  • irrigate even in winter

❖ Fertilize:

Since the pipe flower is not hardy and must therefore be kept in a bucket, there is only a limited supply of substrate available. Therefore the absorption of liquids and nutrients is limited accordingly. Regular fertilizers are necessary during the growing period to promote growth and flowering. It is advisable to add a conventional liquid fertilizer for container plants, such as e.g. to add this one. Fertilization can of course also be done with granules or with fertilizer sticks that are put directly into the soil.


  • fertilize regularly in spring and summer
  • no fertilization in winter
  • conventional liquid fertilizer every 14 days

❖ Cut back:

Regular cutting measures favor the growth and blooming of the pipe flower. In spring and autumn, the tendrils are therefore shortened to a length of around 30 centimeters. The ghost plant can be cut back all year round if necessary. For example, cuttings can be obtained casually to multiply the pipe flower.

" Note: American pipe flowers do not necessarily have to be cut back.

❖ propagation:

The pipe flower can be propagated using three different methods:

  • cuttings
  • seed
  • Division of the root ball

Propagation by cuttings

Propagation by cuttings is easy and usually successful. Even inexperienced hobby gardeners will probably be able to report breeding successes here. Cuttings can easily be obtained during the annual pruning.

That's how it's done :

❶ Cut the cutting
❷ Place the cuttings in the plant pot
❸ Wait for rooting
❹ Repot the plant

The cuttings should be cut fresh. The best time for this is spring. They are then immediately placed in a planter filled with moist soil. Now patience is required, because rooting only begins after about a quarter of a year. The young plants are then repotted and provided with a trellis.

Propagation by seeds

The propagation by seeds is also quite unproblematic. A little patience is required here, too, and several plants can be grown with little effort.

That's how it's done:

❶ Obtain seeds
❷ Press seeds into the earth
❸ Keep the soil moist
❹ Place the planter warm
❺ Wait for germination
❻ Support seedlings
❼ Plant seedlings
❽ Attach climbing aids

The best seedling success can be achieved with fresh seeds. If you don't know anyone who owns a pipe tree, you can of course also use the commercially available seeds. It is advisable to sow large areas here, since not all seeds actually start to germinate.

The seeds are pressed into the soil about half a centimeter. The earth must be kept moist and warm. Waterlogging should be avoided. After germination, the young plants receive a support in the form of a small wooden skewer. This will soon no longer suffice because the plants are growing rapidly. From a height of about 15 centimeters, transplanting takes place in a suitable planter. Attaching a climbing aid supports the pipe flower in its rapid and lush growth.

Propagation by root division

This method gives the hobby gardener a full-fledged plant within a few minutes. A strong and well-developed pipe flower is needed for this. This is first stuffed. Then largely remove the soil from the roots and divide the root ball in half. These are now planted separately and cultivated separately.

That's how it's done:

❶ Stuff the plant
❷ Clear the root ball from soil
❸ Split the root ball
❹ Potted plants separately
❺ Cultivate plants separately


A few varieties of the pipe flower are hardy. If you have such a specimen, the exotic can be hibernated outdoors and can therefore be placed outdoors. A layer of leaves or mulch serves to protect the roots from frostbite.

Pipe flowers that are not hardy are cultivated in tubs and hibernate indoors at temperatures around 15 degrees. The plants are deciduous and should not dry out even in winter.

" Tip: Sprouting occurs quite late in spring, so there is usually no need to worry that the pipe flower has been damaged in the winter quarters.

Types of pipe flower

American pipe flower

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The American pipe flower (Aristolochia macrophylla), also called the American pipe winch, is particularly popular in our latitudes because it is hardy and can therefore be used very well as a hedge plant and for greening walls and facades. The large, heart-shaped leaves lie on top of each other like roof tiles and completely cover the subsoil, or do not allow any insight when planting hedges. The leaves are shed in late autumn. The plants sprout in late spring.

" Tip: Young plants grow rather slowly. Growth heights of eight meters are not uncommon in older plants.

The American pipe flower blooms between April and May. The green-brown flowers appear rather inconspicuous.

Giant pipe flower

© wikipedia.com

The original home of the giant pipe flower (Aristolochia gigantea) is in Panama. The plant is also often found in tropical areas. The climbing plant is not hardy and, due to its imposing size, can only be found in large greenhouses in Germany. The flowers of the giant pipe flower grow up to 30 centimeters tall.

" Tip: The flowers of this species have a pleasant, slightly sweet fragrance.

Pipe flowers usually smell rather unpleasant. The smell attracts insects, which are then trapped in the flowers until they have pollinated them.

Brazilian pipe flower

© wikipedia.com

The Brazilian pipe flower (Aristolochia labiata) is a particularly attractive representative. The non-hardy plant feels particularly comfortable in a conservatory. There she impresses with her huge flowers reminiscent of pelicans. The purple-spotted flowers can be admired well into autumn. The plants need a warm, but not full sun. Regular spraying ensures high humidity.

Tree-like pipe flower

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The tree-like pipe flower is native to El Salvador or southern Mexico. The plants have become rare and are considered endangered. The purple flowers appear directly on the stem and are equipped with the kettle traps typical of the pipe flower. The cultivation of the plant in some botanical gardens ensures the conservation of the species.