Dutchman's pipe, Aristolochia macrophylla

Quick facts and care essentials

• Semievergreen
• Zones 1-24, 29-43
• Full sun, partial shade or full shade
• Ample watering
• Climbs by: twining

This attractive vine has long been a favorite for shielding a porch from hot summer sun or covering an ugly building. It grows rapidly, reaching 15 to 20 feet in a season and easily attaining an ultimate size of 30 feet. The deep green, kidney-shaped, 8- to 14-inch-long leaves slightly overlap each other, making for a thick, shingled-looking cover. The flowers appear in late spring to early summer. They're often hidden in the foliage, but worth a look for their interesting structure, which gives the general impression of an old-fashioned pipe.

Dutchman's pipe tolerates summer heat well, but it does require winter chill to thrive - making it a good choice for zones with hot summers and frosty winters. Because it grows so rapidly, it can cover a large area in a short growing season. This vine easily twines up a trellis.

Provide protection from strong winds. You can prune back heavy growth just before the end of dormancy in late winter; during the growing season, pinch back new growth to encourage a thick foliage mat.