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Pipe Vine

Aristolochia elegans (‘Calico’)

Life: Perennial

 

Size: 20′

 

Light: Filtered or Morning Sun to Bright Shade

 

Water: Average, Well-Drained

 

Soil: Any

 

An attractive, elegant Brazilian climber, this ornamental vine boasts three inch heart-shaped leaves and some of the most unusual flowers ever: the outsides are white with purple veins, the insides are rich purple-brown with white markings, and the entire thing is shaped much like a Dutchman’s pipe! It requires a strong support for its vigorous growth habit and makes an outstanding butterfly host as well. A hard freeze may nip the foliage, but the rootstock will generally recover in spring.

Aristolochia fimbriata

Life: Perennial

 

Size: 4-10′

 

Light: Filtered Sun to Bright Shade

 

Water: Moderate, Well-Drained

 

Soil: Any

 

A tough little evergreen vine or ground cover, it has unusual brown, green, and yellow flowers hidden among the leaves from late spring to early fall. The leaves themselves are shaped like miniature waterlily pads and are beautifully patterned with pale green on emerald. It is also an excellent host for caterpillars, in particular to the Pipevine Swallowtai, who love the plant so much they often eat it back to the ground. Do not worry, though; it is hardy and will bounce right back with more leaves and often multiple stems as well.

Aristolochia gigantea braziliensis (‘Godzilla’ Godzilla Pipevine/Pelican Flower)

Life: Perennial

 

Size: 20-30′

 

Light: Full Sun with Afternoon Shade

 

Water: Moderate, Well-Drained

 

Soil: Any

 

The name says it all: this flower is BIG – up to a foot across and two feet long! The enormous petals have lacey white markings over rich rose-burgundy, are produced all summer and fall, and have a mild lemon scent in contrast to their striking visual presence. The leaves are no shrimps, either, being beautiful green six inch hearts. It is vigorous and undemanding, with the foliage tollerating a mild frost and the roots being hardy down to 25° F. Like all Aristolochias, it attracts butterflies. Now imagine a butterfly big enough to be in proportion to those flowers!

Aristolochia grandiflora (Giant White Dutchman’s Pipe Vine)

Life: Perennial

 

 

Size: 20-30′

 

 

Light: Full to Partial Sun

 

 

Water: Light to Moderate, Well-Drained, Drought Tollerant Once Established

 

 

Soil: Any

 

A native of South and Central America, it produces enormous blooms that are even more stunning than A. gigantea. From late spring until fall, this exhuberant vine produces singular heart-shaped blossoms a foot long and eight inches wide. The flowers are a creamy white with rich purple veins and spots and various other markings, with a darker purple center leading to a bulbous pouch at the base. On top of all this, the bottom of the flower boasts a slender tail a foot long. Unfortunately, like many Aristolochias, the blooms do stink a bit on the first day, but this will rapidly fade. It is an enthusiastic climber and requires a strong support, and will attract butterflies.

Aristolochia leuconeura

 

Life: Perennial

 

 

Size: 20-30′

 

 

Light: Full to Partial Sun

 

 

Water: Moderate, Well-Drained

 

 

Soil: Any

 

An unusual Aristolochia species, it has small, pipe-shaped flowers that are nonetheless showy due to their vivid red color. The leaves are beautiful as well, being five or six inches or more across, heart-shaped, and bright green with lemon-yellow veins. In addition, the bark of the vines contains many interesting grooves and wrinkles. It requires good support for climbing, is hardy into the mid-twenties, and will attract butterflies.

Aristolochia trilobata

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Life: Perennial

 

Size: 30′

 

Light: Full Sun to Moderate Shade

 

Water: Adaptable, Drought Tollerant Once Established

 

Soil: Any

 

A visually striking plant, it has both gorgeous leaves and some of the strangest flowers you will ever see. The leaves are dark green and glossy, and the large flowers are cream shading to orange, marroon, and brown, and shaped like a Jack-in-the-Pulpit. However, like a Strophanthus, the top of its flower has a long streamer which trails down for a foot or more. It is fast growing and highly adaptable: though it loves sun, it will tollerate a lot of shade, and though it is a tropical, it can tollerate moisture ranges from very high to very dry, though it will apreciate a drink in a drought. Though the foliage may be a bit tender, the roots are hardy.